You have started fulfilling your dream by starting a small business. It’s up and running, some people are visiting your website and sales are happening. But, something seems to be missing. Sales aren’t increasing like you thought they would. You are not generating new clients or customers and are even losing some. If you don’t turn this trend around soon, you may need to think about closing your door.
Then you get an idea!
“What if I put my expertise out on the information super highway and start a blog. If people know about me and trust my advice, surely they will come through my door at some point (whether the door opens into your website or one that use actual bricks and mortar).”
You think blogging seems easy. All you have to do is find someone to polish it up a little bit and the words should automatically pull in your clients or customers and drive some sales. Unfortunately, that alone is a poor blog marketing strategy.
Let’s look at an example of someone who needs to market their product: a self-published author.
Every day, more authors, even those who have previously been enslaved by traditional publishers, are publishing books through self-publishing services (like Amazon and Kobo) because the writer has more control over the process that way. The problem is that traditional publishers command a large portion of the total book sale (usually around 80%-85% according to this article on Huffington Post) because marketing, editing, printing, distribution and finding proper cover art are difficult and time-consuming jobs.
Self-published authors are a one person shop, so marketing is often the least of their worries. But creating sales is paramount.
Every author understands that one means of increasing sales is to blog and writers like to write, right? Some authors write about writing, others write about the genre they are interested in and still others will write a personal blog that their target audience can relate to. But, if the author decided that publishing the blog was all the marketing they needed to do, sales would be far and few between. The fact is that most authors do not have a significant enough following (especially for the first few books) to generate the kind of sales they need to be successful.
So let’s relate that to your business.
You wear a lot of hats just like the author in the example. Most people choose a particular type of business because they have a talent or dream that produces a saleable service and/or product. Unfortunately, most do not believe they have the talent required to market their blog effectively.
Sure, you know you have to create an interesting, attractive website, and you may even blog about your product or services, but how exactly does that alone draw people to your electronic door (or actual door)?
Blogging will draw people to your business, but unfortunately, a blog will not do the job alone. Other blog marketing efforts have to be made.
First of all, who is going to read you blog unless they know where to find it? Some means of leading them to the information has to be in place before you blog. Just like regular marketing, blog marketing is a total process by which you generate an interest in your service (or product). It doesn’t matter how you get your visitors there (as long as it’s legal and ethical), the ends, in this case, do justify the means.
Publishing your blog is just one piece of that puzzle!
Someone is obviously interested in the services you offer or the product you sell or you wouldn’t have gone into business in the first place. These people, these steady clients or customers, are the first people you need to reach.
The self-published author, mentioned in the example above, has to sell books when tens of thousands of other people are trying to do the same. The author has to either find a niche and a group of people (target market) that will definitely buy the book when it comes out.
The same thing happens with your small business. You know what type of people buy your services and/or products (target market), all you have to do is let them know it’s out there ready for them.
Blogging alone won’t work to do this for several reasons. The following are a couple of those reasons:
1. There are many blogs available and yours gets lost in the background noise. It just takes too much time to find what you’re looking for. No one is going to spend a lot of time looking for your information. Most people will look for the easiest path to find what they need. Therefore, if you don’t spread the word about your blog and it isn’t readily available in different places other than your website, people won’t go out of their way to find it.
2. People will often neglect a blog. Advertisement can be tricky. People move from one thing to another quickly and a blog can be time consuming. People want the information about your product or service, what you can offer them and they want the information readily available in locations they hang out.
Your blog and your business are personal to you and it’s difficult to understand when people don’t immediately want to access your services and/or product. You thought a blog about what it means to you and what the product or service could do was enough. Finding out that it isn’t shouldn’t cause you to stop, though.
Blogging can be a very effective tool… you just have to make sure you add blog marketing to your overall small business marketing plan. If you do this, more people will find out who you are and learn what you have to offer.
Once you get visitors to your blog, you just need to keep them interested by providing valuable content to build up their trust and in turn, increase your sales.