Business Blog: Online Presence & Need for Visibility?

The business need for an online presence

In the future every business will need an online presence to survive” ~ A software CEO from the 1990s

What is an online presence? Put simply it is about being visible on the Internet. Having a website is the most obvious way of doing this. Listing your business in the on-line version of yellow pages, or a special­ist direct­ory, is anoth­er way. Using business pages on LinkedIn is a further option. Getting an on-line listing doesn’t have to be expens­ive, but it will usually cost something.

Is that enough? Much will depend on your business goals. Is a blog neces­sary? A subject discussed here.

 

Online Presence — A Marketing Tactic

Lets be clear, a business blog is a market­ing tactic. It enhances your online presence, but isn’t overtly about selling. It should enhance the stand­ing of your company by demon­strat­ing the level of expert­ise in your market­place. This will be as true wheth­er you make multi-million dollar gas turbines, are a consult­ing business, or are a local guest house owner.

How does a blog that demon­strates market­place expert­ise help sell product? Business blog posts should clearly show what the name of the business is within the body of every article, it should also contain links to the company website, along with a paragraph advert­ising the company, brand, or product. If your business has a blog it should already have a method of selling through the web.

The company manufac­tur­ing gas turbines may publish a blog post answer­ing the etern­al question “how do you clean a gas turbine?” They can also answer the question “how frequently should gas turbines be cleaned?” Other posts may consider questions about planning mainten­ance cycles etc. Answers will provide solutions to any organ­isa­tion that is a client or future prospect. Advice given may either be gener­al or specif­ic and may even be for compet­it­or products.

 

Web Traffic Driver

internet-by-geralt-cc0-public-domain-from-pixabayPeople love asking what, where, when, why, who, and how? Answering these questions is a great way to garner people’s atten­tion and blogs are often better at provid­ing answers than commer­cial pages. You have an oppor­tun­ity, when repeatedly asked, to tell custom­ers about your blog and how it may answer their questions. This should demon­strate that your business needs an online presence and a blog is only a part of the approach.

Pages should be written by experts in the subject, not market­ing people. There are sever­al ways to bring visit­ors to your web site, includ­ing:

  • Search results,
  • Advertising links,
  • Social medial activ­ity, and
  • Blogs.

How big is your website? There are likely to be a large number of pages, perhaps sever­al hundred. Pages are hardly ever updated, honestly most businesses should update them more. For example there is no need to update the “Contact Us” page unless you open a new office location, or move. Adding new products may be the only change that occurs.

Blogging provides the ability to ensure the website is regularly updated. Each new post is a new fully-indexed page being added to your site. Creating blog posts is a cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be re-index it regularly. It should also aid your social media activ­ity provid­ing oppor­tun­it­ies for soft advert­ising. The blog is a growing repos­it­ory of content, most of which remains relev­ant, even many years after it was first written.

 

Generate new Leads

Sales leads by Green StreetPeople you provide good advice to will remem­ber. It is a power­ful way to gener­ate goodwill and business is of course founded on the goodwill of its custom­ers. Include a lead-generating calls-to-action with every blog post. Readers are provided free offers e-books, white-papers,  fact-sheets, web-seminars, free trials, provide them the oppor­tun­ity to become a client. The reader must provide you their, email address, company, street address, phone number, and any other contact details you find relev­ant.

Contact prospects once they have had oppor­tun­ity to digest the free mater­i­al provided. Free give-aways should all be avail­able through the blog and website alike.

 

Blogs Establish Authority

A business blog should answer the questions clients and prospects have. Content should resolve any issues your clients have. You can find the questions clients ask in a number of ways:

  • Responses to your “Contact Us” page.
  • Questions raised via on-line forums.
  • Questions raised on Social Media.
  • Mail sent to your company.
  • Complaints in the press.

All these may identi­fy poten­tial future content for your blog. A custom­er complaint should be respon­ded to honestly and frankly, send a response directly to the custom­er. You may also make it the basis of a future blog post (especially if the response can gener­ate a new “how-to” post).

For example the product, a food mixer. One custom­er complained they could not make one of the recipes listed in the instruc­tion manual. This is an oppor­tun­ity to create a blog post demon­strat­ing how to cook that specif­ic recipe, includ­ing a video showing precisely how it is done, it is about respond­ing to the complaint but also estab­lish­ing author­ity in the subject at the same time.

 

Driving Long-Term Results

Positive ApproachYou may consider “Establishing author­ity” to be a “fluffy” metric, and it is true that this is diffi­cult to measure it in respect of short-term sales uplift. The blog can be a great tool for custom­er reten­tion as they see your blog as being the go-to place for specif­ic inform­a­tion, wheth­er or not they currently use your product. The blog is anoth­er form of sales enable­ment.

Prospects who have regularly read your blog will come into the sales cycle better informed, knowing more about your product, its capab­il­it­ies, and how it can help solve their problems.

Looking at the longer term impact there is more oppor­tun­ity for sales as the blog grows and grows, New posts bring in new leads and contacts, but so do older posts, indeed for most blogs 60 to 70% of traffic each month relates to older posts. Remember not all users of your products will encounter the same problem at the same time and the “how to” post is still as relev­ant today as when origin­ally written a few years ago. If you recall the question about clean­ing gas turbines, these are huge indus­tri­al machines and mainten­ance cycles need to be planned often months in advance so the question is only of interest when mainten­ance is due to remind operat­ors about the process.

 

Growth over Time

Business blogs tend to compound their growth over time. When they start it takes time to estab­lish and online presence, build author­ity and grow trust. Once trust is estab­lished people will return to your business blog time and again. Consider this 1 post per month means 12 new pages per year added to your site, 1 a week is 50 a year.

Readers will purchase products from the associ­ated website.

 

Other Relevant Articles:

 

 

Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee as thanks for discuss­ing the need for business blogging and build­ing you online presence. Images included here are from royalty free public domain image collec­tions, photo­graphs from Pixabay, cartoons are courtesy Green Street.

 

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