Small Business: Can you afford not to Blog?

Business leadership by Geralt CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

Despite Bill Gates’ predic­tions in the 1990s not every business will have a web site today. Some don’t need one. Many will have a web presence without having a web site. Others have a static web site, but need something more. Something on which they are able to demon­strate their expert­ise or profes­sion­al prowess. Something that is dynam­ic and reflects the mood and concerns of the industry as they change. This is the power of the small business blog.

 

Essential for any Business

Innovation by Jarmoluk CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay      In the modern-day each of the follow­ing are probably essen­tial for most small businesses:
  • Business cards — for that person­al connec­tion.
  • Local newspa­per ads.
  • Telephone direct­ory listings, maybe.
  • A website or web presence.
  • Testimonials and reviews.
  • A publi­city campaign, even if it’s a DIY one.
  • Social presence.
  • Email market­ing activ­ity.
  • Potentially, postcards & flyers which you may have the post office deliv­er for you.
  • A LinkedIn page.
Of course many of these options involve tradi­tion­al market­ing, they are about meeting people and telling them about your small business, handing out flyers. Your business may be the type that needs to advert­ise on TV or radio.

Telephone Directory

      Some of the tradi­tion­al methods of market­ing are dying out, for example, who turns to the telephone direct­ory any more? More people search the web today than use the phone direct­ory. It is the flow of business that means one approach dies out as anoth­er is inven­ted. Perhaps in the future these old approaches will be reinven­ted. This suggests that Bill Gates was right in saying that every business needs a presence on the web to survive. There was a time when there were compet­ing business direct­or­ies in each city, few survive today.
      This is a neces­sary part of build­ing a business. What is differ­ent today is the compu­ter­ised capab­il­it­ies, tools like social media that can provide assist­ance in addition to those tradi­tion­al methods. More small business is looking to altern­at­ive market­ing methods.

Web/Social Presence

      There are many ways to have a web presence for your small business these days. You don’t neces­sar­ily have to go to the effort of build­ing your own website. There are plenty of market­ing tools you simply need to sign up for, or perhaps join a local small business associ­ation.
AirBNB      For example the person renting out their spare room on AirBNB creates an instant on-line presence for their small business. It is a business, and a profit­able one if managed correctly.
      This accom­mod­a­tion owner may not have any business cards. If they did and they handed them out to people they met then they may gain extra bookings. If they were in Yellow Pages they may gain extra bookings. They may not do publi­city work, for example promot­ing their rooms on Facebook, but if they did perhaps they may get the occasion­al extra booking.
      One thing they will build are testi­mo­ni­als and reviews through their AirBNB web presence. The power of their small business at work, and the power of the appre­ci­ation for their efforts. Testimonials bring their own reward. There are many on-line business sites inten­ded to allow small business to showcase their capab­il­it­ies, it is always worth seeking these out in your industry and build­ing an on-line presence.

Getting the Word Out

Angies List      The plumb­er, or electri­cian, may consider having themselves listed on Angies List (if they are in the USA). But they had better offer high service stand­ards, other­wise they may receive a poor review. One of the challenges of reviews is that it is not possible to please every­one all of the time. Business is all about person­al inter­ac­tions. You may have 5 star reviews from most clients, then you encounter a person who thinks you were not paying proper atten­tion to their needs and your star rating suffers.
      Look out for many avenues to expose your business to poten­tial custom­ers. You may only get the occasion­al extra client, but each new clients may make all the differ­ence.
      A LinkedIn page isn’t essen­tial for every small business, but in certain indus­tries it can offer power­ful assist­ance.

Website

      For a small business having a website ensures:
  1. You are visible 24 * 7.
  2. It provides anoth­er sales tool.
  3. You build author­ity.
  4. It helps build contacts.
Yet most websites are static. They show off the capab­il­it­ies, the products or services your business offers, product lists, brands, services offered, etc. Websites are factu­al and do not offer insights or inform­a­tion about the owner or employee’s profes­sion­al prowess, their job history, etc. How would a custom­er know the differ­ence between one print­ing press and anoth­er, for example?
      This is where network­ing and blogging makes all the differ­ence. All small businesses should aim to network with poten­tial clients, yet this is not always possible. The dog train­er might network with the local dog owners club, give demon­stra­tions etc.
      The electri­cian or plumb­er, on the other hand, could have a hard time network­ing with poten­tial clients, as anyone could be a client. They could speak to thousands before encoun­ter­ing a person that needs their services. Marketing can be problem­at­ic. Yes they will get refer­rals from their exist­ing clients and they may encour­age people to refer them by offer­ing discounts etc. All such market­ing efforts are valid, yet they have little to do with build­ing a web presence.

The Small Business Blog

Small Business Blog by Peter B. Giblett
      A small business blog marks the owner out as having something differ­ent to offer their custom­ers.
      Some power­ful reason to have a blog:
  • 81% of U.S. on-line consumers trust information/advice from blogs.
  • 60% of consumers feel more posit­ive about a company after reading blogs.
  • Consumers believe compan­ies behind content seek to build good relation­ships.
  • 33% of B2B compan­ies use blogs.
  • SEO profes­sion­als rate blogging as one of their top inbound market­ing activ­it­ies.
  • Companies that blog have twice as many Twitter follow­ers.
Yet the challenges of creat­ing a blog are the need be constantly adding new mater­i­al, writing about new products you stock etc. This is what scares many small business owners. Yet it doesn’t have to be that complex. Blogs provide a differ­ent focus to a web site. While a web-site gives factu­al inform­a­tion about a product or service, a blog has a differ­ent dynam­ic. With a blog it is possible to explore how to, likes and dislikes, options, why one product and not anoth­er is best in a specif­ic situation. It goes beyond the facts. Examines people’s needs on an entirely differ­ent level and explores person­al exper­i­ences. Showcase a new product.

Building the Blog

      Building a blog is not complex. Although it is under­stand­able why some business owners find creat­ing one a challenge. Finding time in the day to set it up can be a challenge. Finding time to write can be challen­ging. Yet, as with all worth­while things you should look to the people around you to help in getting it done.
      Although creat­ing a blog is a simple task, it is under­stand­able if you wish to find an expert to help you with the setup and get the blog running effect­ively, they should help you set up the site. When setting up a blog you must consider the follow­ing questions:
  • Does it need its own domain or is it a sub-domain?
  • What software should you use? (WordPress, Wix, or something else).
  • Where should it be hosted?
  • How should we use our brand­ing and embed our logo?
  • What layout is best?
  • What plug-ins do I need?
  • How frequently should we post?
  • What should we write about?
  • Who should write?
These are essen­tial questions, you may have others to add to that list.

Professional Setup

At my Desk      I have helped clients create and maintain their business blogs. It is my exper­i­ence that most clients need great­er assist­ance during the first few months of creat­ing their site than they need for ongoing support. There is something addict­ive about writing blog posts.
      Indeed having profes­sion­al assist­ance during those first few months can make all the differ­ence between success and failure. I have lost count of how many nights I have spent tweak­ing plug-ins and widgets to make them work properly for a partic­u­lar site. Many plug-ins are intuit­ive, others for secur­ity, Google analyt­ics, SEO, and cache manage­ment, are less so to business users possess­ing little technic­al knowledge. Many require tweak­ing and playing with to work optim­ally, hence the need to play into the early hours of the morning.
      Most business owners ask for plug-in sugges­tions. When they have first created their site it can seem a little lonely but a little love care and social medial atten­tion can change that dramat­ic­ally. A good profes­sion­al will help you setup everything to run smoothly and ensure your Twitter follow­ers of Facebook Friends become aware of your blog and the advice you offer. The good profes­sion­al service provider will also offer you quarterly or bi-annual checkups as a part of their service.
      Professional set-up is merely an option. Many small business owners love to do the work themselves.

Other Related Material

On GobbledeGoox there are other posts about business and blogging, you can look at, includ­ing:

 

 

      Thank the author, buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee. This page is suppor­ted, in part by donations made from readers who wish to thank the author for writing on this topic. If you have questions about business blogging then please ask them via a comment. All images used here are avail­able in the public domain and have been resourced from royalty free sites like Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Waiting for that Email to Arrive - GobbledeGoox

Your comments