Many business owners are under the misconception that if they invest their marketing funds in a shiny new website design, like the classic movie “Field of Dreams”, their ideal prospects will come “streaming out of the cornfields” and onto their site ready to do business.
While having an up-to-date functioning website is important; setting it and forgetting it and expecting boatloads of prospects to magically appear is wishful thinking. Unfortunately, many owners falsely assume that just launching a website is enough…….IT’S NOT!
Once your new website is complete, the hard work begins. You have to allocate time, money and effort to attract new visitors. People need a reason to click onto your site and once they arrive, it’s your mission to capture their attention.
There are many things that you can do to increase the traffic to your website, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and social media marketing, however, if there is nothing of substance on your site to keep the attention of all of these new eyeballs your visitors will quickly disappear. In order to turn your new website it into a lead generation machine you need to offer value.
This is why business blogging is one of the most important and cost effective things that you can do to grow your business. Don't worry, if you feel this is all too much to handle, there are blogging services that can assist or handle everything or you.
Without further ado........ here's why it works.
First things first……just what is a blog anyway?
Before we move into the whys of having a blog, we need to develop an understanding of just what is a blog. There are many definitions but our friends at Hubspot recently posted a definition that I really like with the most important aspects highlighted:
“A blog is a website with frequently updated content about a specific keyword- or bottom-line-oriented topic.” (Source: Hubspot)
Let’s take a moment and determine why these highlighted terms are so important.
First a blog, which is typically an add-on to your existing site, must be updated frequently, meaning that it is a living and breathing part of your website. This is where you get to communicate with your “buyer personas” or ideal prospects and it is crucial that updates occur regularly.
Success Tip: Ideally you should have multiple blog posts or entries per week.
Secondly, a business blog should be centered on topics central to your business offerings. For example if your business is financial planning, your blog should be about topics such as insurance planning, asset allocation and retirement distribution. Choose topics that are important to your clients and help you to establish credibility and expertise.
Success Tip: Avoid selling on your blog. Blog posts should be about solving your ideal customer’s pain points and provide valuable information to your prospects. A blog is not an avenue for blatant commercials for your business.
Blogging Drives Good Traffic To Your Site
Blogging, when done consistently is a key source of traffic generation for your website. With each new entry on your blog, you provide an opportunity for your prospects to find you, find a solution to a problem and subsequently learn about the solutions that your company provides.
Here is why it works:
Every time you create and publish a new blog post, a new URL is created and added to your website. Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo periodically crawl your website looking for new information and updates. When new pages are found, these search engines organize this new information by indexing it in their database.
Google has an easy to understand explanation on how crawling and indexing works. Once your new page is added to a search engine index, it has the opportunity to be found when a person enters a search query.
With each successive blog entry, you have a new way to be found online. What’s even better, blogging allows you to attract “good traffic.” By writing about topics that your ideal customers are searching for, you have a greater chance of attracting the type of qualified visitors that are candidates for your product offerings.
Success Tip: Keep your blog on topic. For example if your business is financial planning it is important to discuss retirement issues, insurance planning or estate planning, not cosmetics or fashion as an example.
Thought Leadership – Blogging establishes trust
Thought leadership is a buzz word that has been making the rounds the last few years in business circles. Forbes has a definition of thought leadership that I like: “Thought Leadership is simply about becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.
By clearly communicating your expertise through carefully crafted posts that answer your prospects most important questions, you are demonstrating credibility and authority which in turn creates trust.
People like to do business with experts who have taken the time to educate them by offering free, unbiased and informative content. Taking the time to establish this expertise makes your prospects more comfortable in investing in you as a solution provider.
It’s vital that your posts are educational and entertaining. This can be a challenge to do on a long-term basis. Here are some blogging tips to get you started in the right direction.
Success Tip: Use Google Authorship to establish your online credibility with Google.
Blogging lasts forever
Unlike other legacy marketing tactics like an ad in your local newspaper or phone book, a blog article lasts forever. Once you publish a blog post it’s out on the internet working day and night. People can find articles on search engines even if they are several years old. A small time investment today can yield results far into the future.
With other forms of advertising, whether online of offline, the minute that you stop paying for the advertising, your flow of traffic and prospects stops.
From Hubspot “…………. think of blogging as an annuity. If you publish one blog post today, it might drive, say, 50 visits. That's great, but it'll trickle off over time to say, 10 visits month-over-month -- which can seem depressing after that initial traffic influx. That's why you don't look at individual blog post performance in a silo. If you look at the gains your blog posts make over time as you publish post after post after post, those visits will stack on top of each other as they rank in search. Now you have a diverse portfolio that's driving consistent returns month after month -- with no extra work on your part.”
Don’t just set it and forget it! Find a way to get your blog up and running and turn on the flow of prospects to your new site.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!