Just in case you’re one of those entrepreneurs who are still going around asking, “What is a blog?”, here’s something that will make you learn fast: it can make your products famous and garner more sales.
What is a blog?
So what is a blog, anyway? It’s a website in the form of a running “log” or continuously-updated series of diary-like entries, discussing a particular range of subjects or events that are of interest to a specific target audience.
Just as there are free Web-based email accounts (i.e., provided by Yahoo or Google, for instance), there are Web-based companies that offer free online space for you to create your own blog (e.g., Google’s Blogger). It’s literally as easy as opening an old-fashioned journal notebook and writing your entries (i.e., “creating content”). And just like any journal, a blog can contain any pictures or photos you choose to include—plus some playable multimedia files or clickable links to other websites. The blog-space given by these providers already come with user-friendly interfaces that allow you to upload the text and other content elements you want, and automatically generate a presentable website in very little time or knowledge of HTML.
Basically, it’s one of the best and fastest ways to create an online presence for your business and your products or services. And due to the nature of the blog format, it can come across as the most personable and persuasive form of online marketing. As a “blogger” and small business owner, each entry you post is like a direct communication line to your customers. Anyone can read it and post a comment or reaction to what you have written. The blog format provides space immediately after each entry for a running forum, where people write down what they want to say about the topic, or to react to other people’s posted comments. The feedback they give is tangible, valuable evidence on how the market is responding to what you’re selling. And yes, you’ll meet new customers in your feedback space.
The fact that you’re “talking” through your blog about your business literally increases the likelihood of your business being found by people randomly surfing the Web with a search engine (e.g., Google or Yahoo).
Creating a bigger online presence is called search engine optimization (SEO). The more often your small business’s name or your products (e.g., “My Granny’s Orchard”) are mentioned in a website somewhere (including your blog) together with keywords or topics relevant to your business (e.g., “apples” or “fresh fruit”), the more likely your products or business name will appear in the first few results that search engines spew out whenever anyone searches these related keywords or topics. Which then means they’ll most likely click on those links, land in your blog or website—and decide to buy your products.
And if they love your products, they’ll spread the good word about it. They very likely do so online, by posting rave reviews in their own blog, their Facebook entry, in a tweet (i.e., Twitter), or some other means. This increases your SEO even more.
However, there are a few things you must remember when harnessing the online marketing power of a blog.
You must post information about your products or services that are truly useful in real life. It’s not just about selling your products, or talking about how they connect to the latest trends. With every blog entry, it should equally be about two things: 1.) sharing your expertise in a particular area with your customers, and 2.) allowing your customers share their own expertise and opinions about these areas (and your products) with you and everyone else.
Think of it as a productive and welcoming two-way conversation with your customers—and you’ll be rocking that blog on your way to greater sales.
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