In my four years of working online, trying my hands on different businesses so as to know what works and what doesn’t, I’ve come to understand that no matter how viable your business idea or strategy is, no matter how much money, time and energy you apply in your business, if you have no blog, you have no business.
Oh, my bad. Sorry. You have a business, but not a business that make good return on investment.
Let me explain.
I started out online with a blog. And although I didn’t really know how things worked with the Internet then, I was able to build relationships with my readers. I was able to sell my ebooks as well as my services.
Funny, that was when I didn’t even know the importance of a blog, neither did I know how it should be operated to maximize profit.
Now that I am well grounded on how to effectively manage a blog, imagine the returns I will make.
A lot of people make the mistake of going all out to build just a website for their business. They fill in their company details – about us, products/services, contact us – and stop there.
The ones who researched properly or got good advice, created blogs for their website and linked to it.
This might be a little confusing for you. So before we go further, let’s do some definitions; what is a website?
A website is an online platform that is static. In other words, it doesn’t change, or you can change a few things once in a year. You just build it up, fill in your company details and leave it like that. Period.
A website is built in such a way, that you cannot make regular posts on it.
So you have no engaging post, online visitors cannot like or comment, and communication becomes a one way thing (only you communicating).
The only time there is communication is when some visitors have to use the “contact us” form. And mostly, it is visitors who are interested in knowing more about your services that will contact you.
See samples of websites.
Taken from Hongkiat.com
Taken from Fearlessflyer.com
Taken from aptwebsites.com – HOME
You can see from the above picture samples, that the website just tells you, at a glance, what the company is about. It uses pictures to communicate some of its messages too, so as to make it eye catchy.
Now after viewing the website, checking their ‘About Us’ page and services page, it is then left for a visitor to contact them, so as to make more enquiries.
My philosophy about online business is “why make your visitors waste their time making more enquiries, thinking and second guessing, when you can make them act(buy your products or services)?”
Now while it is good to have a website, it is even better to have a blog that drives traffic and potential clients to your website.
More on the above later. Let us first understand what a blog is.
What is a Blog?
A blog is an online platform that is not static. As the owner, you can post engaging, informative and educational articles on it, regularly.
When visitors come around, they see different posts on issues that AFFECTS THEM DIRECTLY, not just a long post about what your company has or has not achieved, or is trying to achieve.
Sure, your ‘About Us’ page will still be in place. But readers wouldn’t care so much about what you have or have not achieved. As long as you can prove your knowledge and expertise with engaging articles, they are ready to build a lasting relationship with you and therefore, patronize your business.
They read posts that they enjoy or want to get information from. And because the information you gave in that post is truly priceless, readers are moved to comment on it. They tell you how much they appreciate you for taking time to write the post. Some drop their own opinions and others add more points.
What’s more beautiful about this? When your blog articles speak to your readers’ needs, they are moved to share it with friends they feel also need to read that article.
And a share, always earns you more traffic. So what will several shares do for you. It will give you more readers to build a relationship with.
Please know this; it is in building relationships that you build trust. And when you build trust, you make sales.
A blog is not a one way communication platform, like the website. It is two ways. You communicate with readers, who are also potential buyers of your products and services, and they too communicate with you without having to use the contact form.
Most of the communication going on in the comment section of a blog are from readers who are,
1. Appreciating your efforts
2. Wanting to know more about what you’re selling
3. Wanting to know how or where they can buy your product/services.
It becomes like a discussion. And it makes them feel they are talking to an actual human being. Not a robot.
See samples of blogs
This one gives tips on how to have a successful wedding. And because the owner, using quality content, has proved to be so knowledgeable, brides to be will hire his/her services.
The title of this blog post alone, will hold the atention of online readers looking to buy a rug for their mudroom.
If the article is properly done and speaks well to the readers, they will happily click buy links embeded in the post.
I have told every website owner who cared to listen, this; without a blog, your website will not fetch you good money. Period.
Blogs are the marketing engine of any online business you can think of. Why?
1. Because unlike websites, you can write articles about your services or products, in an engaging way. Your articles speak to readers the way you’ll speak to potential client if you were out in the field doing some marketing.
2. You can write an informative article that will help your readers solve a problem with your product or services.
3. You could even get people who have patronized you to tell their story to your readers, about how your product or services helped them solve particular issues.
4. Your blog post could be a video or just pictures. It could be entertaining, humorous or informative.
5. The tone of your blog posts tell readers that you know your stuff. And that you’re an authority in your field.
Your blog posts, should be written in such a way that it gets the attention of people interested in what you do.
The above is what is referred to as ‘content marketing’. You’re using the content of your blog to market what you’re selling (a product or service).
And because you have succeeded in building a relationship with your readers, and can get them, with content, interested in you and your service, when you direct them to your website, where you have your web shop, they will happily go there and buy.
I’ll repeat these here:
A. Your blog is your avenue to tell readers you know your stuff.
B. It is your avenue to help them realize why they need your product or services.
C. It is your way of driving traffic to your website and roping in sales.
D. It is your own way of helping readers/buyers, also communicate with you.
If someone wanted to buy your product, they wouldn’t bank on the reviews you post on your website alone. They will visit your blog, read up some of the articles you have written about your offers, and then read the comments from your blog readers.
It is the comments they read in your blog that gives them extra courage to trust your products or services.
With a blog, readers can share your posts and make it go viral.
If your post is engaging enough, or you write a compelling story, readers will naturally be moved to share your posts. And when they do that, you get more views because more people become aware of it.
These same people will then crawl all over your blog to see what else they can find. Why? Because they liked the first post they read. Plus, they know there must be other posts like that in your blog.
Not long afterwards, they start to click the buy button in your web store.
Everything you can achieve with a website, you can achieve with a blog and even MORE.
Does that mean you should ignore having a website? No. There are businesses that thoroughly need a website. They just have to make sure they have a blog to go with it.
Why do you think ecommerce businesses have affiliate programs? Because they know that there are blogs out there that have good content about their products. And these contents help to drive sales.
However, if your ideal business is not all that coperate, I advice you choose a blog over a website.
It is sad that some people who have blogs do not know how to use it properly for marketing their products or services.
Now let us look at marketing. What exactly is marketing?
In lay man’s words, it simply means showing and telling people about your business, in a convincing way so as to get them to buy from you.
It doesn’t matter if your product /service is the best in the world. It doesn’t matter if the said customer really needs the product or not.
Your job as a content marketer is to convince readers to buy from you.
Marketing also involves creating awareness for a product or service.
In this case, you know that the people you’re marketing to have never heard about you, your products or services. It is now your job, during marketing, to tell them about that product, how it works and why it is good for them and how much discount they will get if they make purchases within the week.
Without the Internet, below are some of the things marketers do
1. Talk a lot: they talk a lot because they have to talk to a lot of people. Unfortunately they find they have to talk with one, two or three people at a time.
2. They are always on the move. Since they need to create awareness for their goods and services and also make sales, they keep moving from place to place so as to speak with different prospective buyers.
3. They keep records, including phone numbers of the people they met while out on the field. And they do follow up marketing, either through phone call or a revisit to the person’s office.
The internet has made things a lot easier. All you need do is put your marketing speech in writing and post to your blog. Then share the links around different forums, groups and blogs, where your ideal client(s) hang out.
You could get anywhere from 1k to 5k people, viewing your article. Instead of going place to place, and repeating yourself over and over.
So for example, you’re into real estate business, you have to
Use your blog to write in-depth posts about real estate trends and how they affect the lives of your readers.
You can also write tips about pitfalls to avoid when trying to rent or buy a house.
You could write a blog post or do a video about an apartment that is available for rent or purchase.
Your post will make those interested in having a house like the one in your video, contact you.
You could even get clients from people who read your in-depth blog tips on how to handle land disputes legally, or how-to tips on what to look out for before renting a house.
When readers read, some might even ask you questions on other matters surrounding land and property. And when you reply them, giving good information, they will keep coming back to you. Some will go ahead to invite their friends and family to your blog.
So, you now know you need good articles to market your blog. Does that mean you should just wake up in the morning and launch a blog with any kind of content? No.
You should read up more on how to create good content that gets readers hooked. Visit this link.
You should also read about what you must put in place, before launching your blog.
I hope this article has helped explain the reason your business needs a blog?
So, I’ll love to hear from you. Is your business platform a blog or a website? Or is it both? And how is it going for you?