Think about your last visit to the doctor: Long before you sat down in the examination room, you probably went online, researching how to get the most out of the appointment. Chances are, reading in advance helped you ask better questions, and you went home feeling that you’d had a productive visit.
In the same way, online prep is now an important part of the purchasing process. As many as 81 percent of customers do some internet research before making a big purchase. Feed your website a steady supply of useful information by maintaining a blog, and you can leverage all those pre-purchase Google searches into a boost in business!
Why are blogs helpful?
Blogging allows you to share something for free: your expertise. The goal is to offer helpful information that speaks to specific problems your customers are trying to solve. When your customers discover what a great resource you are, they learn you have something of value to offer. They’ll also become convinced that you can help them.
With this checklist, you can start your blog and reach new customers:
Design: You don’t need graphic design skills to create a blog that connects seamlessly with your website. Platforms such as WordPress make it easy to integrate a blog right into your site.
Topics: Before you start typing, scout around for hot topics. Look at what your competition is posting: You’ll likely see some topics that speak that directly to your customers, and these also may inspire you to think of some other relevant ones. (Remember, it’s OK to “steal” an idea, and even better to improve upon it, but never to plagiarize!)
Next, brainstorm a list of your customers’ top concerns and goals, as well as the questions they most commonly ask you. You can turn these into blogs that contain useful elements, including how-to’s, checklists, troubleshooting guides, mistakes to avoid, and lists of pros and cons — anything that will help your customer base. If your blog informs and inspires, you have a better shot of getting your readers’ business!
Frequency: How often you should publish depends on you and your business. As a rule of thumb, aim for at least one blog per week. To make the process easier, plan topics well in advance, invite guest bloggers, and use slow periods to work ahead on future entries.
Traffic: Do what you can to get as many eyeballs on your site as possible. Strong keywords in the body and headline help internet search engines “see” you, then match you with people looking for the very information you’re providing. Post content on your social media profiles to get people liking, clicking, and sharing.
And don’t remove those old posts! One of every 10 posts are compounding, so you’ll get more traffic over time through organic searches.
Finally, tell the world about your blogs. At networking events and trade shows, hand out small promotional gifts that feature your logo and an invite to subscribe. This will make it easier for your contacts to remember you, and more likely that they’ll sign up for your blog. In the end, you’ll get more traffic and a longer list of leads!