I just read Suzanne Falter-Barns’ post on ProBlogger: Have Blogs Killed Conventional Websites? and I’d like to put in my 2 cents.
Used to be everyone was struggling to keep up with competitors just by having a website. Now if you don’t have a blog you’re behind. Forget for a moment that you’re not web-savvy, if that’s true, and look at the benefits of blogs over websites. I’ll borrow from Suzanne’s list and add my own.
–Blogs are easier to update. Sites like WordPress make it simple to upload posts instantly, so as soon as you think of a topic, you can write it and post it within minutes. With websites, you likely have to call your IT or web design guy to get anything changed.
A really popular marketing tool right now is the free ebook. As you know, an ebook is a digital document, similar to a book (although possibly shorter) that you read on your computer. Rather than going through traditional channels for publishing a book, you can write a book and get it out immediately.
Offering a free ebook does several things:
1. Shows off your expertise
2. Generates interest in what you do
3. Converts readers into future customers
- “Call now and we’ll throw in an extra Ginsu knife absolutely free!”
- “Act now! Quantities are limited!”
- “Discount good through January 30.”
- “100% money-back guarantee for 30 days.”
Stimulate Your Readers to Take Action
You need a call to action. Something to stimulate your reader to get off his chair and call you or visit your website NOW. Without a call to action, he will put down your postcard/close your email and think he will come back to it later. At that point, you’ve likely lost him.
You’ve written beautiful marketing copy. You perfectly describe your product, including benefits to the customer. You draw in the reader. And then it ends.
No one calls. What’s missing?
You forgot your marketing offer.
Every piece of marketing collateral needs an offer. You can tell your readers how great your product is, but if you don’t give them an offer, you’ve wasted your time and money. Sure, they could call to find out your prices, but that would mean they would have to work. And you never, ever want to make the customer work. You want to make buying from you simple.
I realized that even though we had the week-long Blogging & Your Business event, I’ve never actually taken the time to explain why your business should blog. I frequently pitch blogs to my Egg Marketing customers, so it’s apropos that I post my reasons.
I talk a lot about how times, they are a changin’. It’s inevitable that we will not be able to reach customers in the ways we did in the past. To successfully grow any business, you have to be open to change. Customers adapt faster than businesses, and that’s the downfall of many companies. It’s a tiresome race, always trying to find the new way to market before the consumer discovers it, but it’s a necessary evil.
Blogs aren’t the future. They’re the now. If your idea of blogs is someone’s journal about what they ate that day, that may have been true in 2000, but it’s not true now. But you know that because you’re reading this. Blogs are meant to inform. Rather than buy a set of encyclopedias from a door-to-door salesman, you can have any type of information you seek with a few clicks of a button, and much of it is on blogs. Consumers like free information. Provide that to them, and their sales will follow.
This forum has been a lot of fun! I hope all of you enjoyed it as well. I’ve learned a lot from our panelists! Maybe we can make this a regular segment every few months onThe Marketing Eggspert Blog.
I’ll end the week with all the tips our Blogging & Your Business Panel gave me. Enjoy them!
Finding Your Voice
- Have something different and better to say; a unique perspective and/or expertise.
- Make sure it’s relevant for your readers/subscribers/prospects/clients/colleagues.
- Speak in a natural “spoken” voice and let people into your values & style.
- Find your own voice. People will be drawn to read and come back if you are authentic and offer useful and/or interesting information.
- Do what you love doing and have every detail reflect that.
- Know who loves what you love doing and design every blog experience to serve them.
- Know what you will promise and be prepared to deliver it. Then think about marketing.
Everyone loves free advice. That’s why you’re here, right? We dig down and get the best advice from our panel on blogging and your business success.
Give Us Some Great Blog Advice.
Tammy Munson: Remember that having a blog is just another tool in your marketing toolkit you also need to use a variety to really make an impact. Don’t just depend on your blog to do it all for you!
Liz Strauss: If you’re not blogging, you’re missing a major opportunity. However, it easy to get caught up in blogging for other bloggers so stop each morning and remember the people you want to reach.
Vikram Rajan: Nobody cares what you know, until they know how much you care.
Dawud Miracle: Write about what you love. Forget monetizing and money-making initially and just write about what you love. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to build a business or increase your income through your blog. Just write about what you love. I’ve said it three times on purpose. When you put your knowledge of a topic together with your passion, amazing things can happen in the blogosphere.
Once you start blogging, you’ll find it can take a lot of time if you don’t do it right. Many bloggers hire writers to write some posts, and some use guest bloggers to help them. Let’s ask our panel who does the blogging.
Dawud Miracle: I am a solopreneur, so I own my business and I do the work of my business. I do outsource mundane tasks, but mostly I do all the work. If you phone me for a consultation, for instance, I’ll be the one who answers the phone and you calls you back. If you send me an email, I’ll be the one receiving, reading and replying. I’m very hands-on with my clients and really like it that way. I have plan to include guest bloggers in the future, but I’m the one behind my blog.
Today, I’d like to talk about how a business can grow through a blog. Is it directly measurable? Do bloggers get contacted by potential clients? Some bloggers even forsake their prior business due to the overwhelming success of their blogs providing revenue. Read on to find out what our panel has to say about growing your business and your blog.
1. What kind of growth has your business seen since your blog’s inception?
2. Has your blog become more lucrative than your business? How do you balance the two?
1. Our business has continued to grow and the number of qualified leads we receive from our entire online effort continues to grow. I can’t attribute all of that to blogging, but I know that the blog has played a significant part in our search engine rankings on some key terms for us.