Where do your prospective customers look for and research the products, or services that you sell? According to The Pew Research Center, 78% of people perform online research prior to completing a purchase.
Providing a steady flow of fresh and relevant content is a must for any small business that is serious about Internet marketing. Adding and actively maintaining a blog on your company's website is the first step toward allowing your website to take an active role in marketing your company.
Business blogging is one of the easiest ways to connect with your customer base. Regularly updated posts can contain content about your industry, specific market, product reviews, tips, etc. Creating interesting content increases the chances that your readers will share that content elsewhere on the web, essentially doing your marketing for you.
Here are three specific, measurable benefits which can be gained from business blogging:
1. Increased Traffic
One huge benefit of adding blogging to your marketing mix is the potential to drive more targeted visitors to your website. The copy throughout your site already has (or at least, certainly should have) strategic keyword placement to increase SEO visibility, making your site easier for people to find by via search engines.
Now imagine, in addition the keyword rich copy on your existing web pages, that you also have the ability to continually add new pages that target traffic-generating keyword phrases, increase internal linking and result in backlinks to your site. It's a targeted web traffic trifecta.
Blog posts also allow for natural keyword usage regarding long tail keyword phrases, the three- or four-word search terms which are most commonly searched for by users.
Internal links for keyword phrases within your site can also improve your website's SEO. Additionally it will help visitors to navigate further within your site to find the information they are looking for, while increasing the opportunity for them to take the next step (fill out a form, give you a call, etc.).
If you are using your blog to provide valuable information, people will want to share your posts with others. There are multiple ways this can happen, and many of them result in a external website linking back to your site. This process gives your website a "backlink" (think of it as a online vote of confidence) that the search engines take into account when determining your website's placement in search results.
In the eyes of the all-powerful search engines, this adds up to your site being more relevant than other, similar sites, and improves your rankings. The big picture here: adding a blog gives you the opportunity to drive targeted organic traffic.
2. Social Media
Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are specifically designed for connecting with others and sharing content. By actively writing blog posts, you’re creating your own content, both for you to share with your audience, and for them to share with each other. The higher the quality of content that is posted, the more likely it is to be shared — which will drive yet more traffic back to your site, exposing readers to your brand and what you have to offer.
In addition, the more relevant your contributions, the more likely those blog posts are to be linked back to in reference by others within your industry. Not only will this increase traffic to your site, but a greater number of backlinks will (again) make your site a more clearly relevant source of information, and promote it higher in page rank.
3. Lead Generation
Within the scope of your business, your blogging will be relevant to your industry. This opens up opportunities to include calls to action within, or at the end of, your posts. Every call to action can then lead to conversion points like landing pages, which offer more value-based content such as e-books, presentations, classes or workshops that allow for the generation of specifically targeted sales leads. If they have shown this level of interest, there is a good chance that they can benefit from your offering.
A final word on small business blogging
If there’s anything that’s defining the new breed of consumers entering the market, it’s their need for updated, relevant, and value based information. A static web design that is never updated is not going to be visited nearly as often as one which is constantly offering new information, and new resources (websites with actively maintained blogs get 55% more traffic than those who don't ~ Hubspot). The question isn’t whether or not to begin business blogging, but rather how much longer can you afford not to.