Small business owners have a lot on their plate. Between managing the books to managing the staff, keeping up with the latest web tools can get pushed to the bottom of the list.
There are a plethora of tools out there that people are using to search for small and local businesses, from Yelp to Facebook to email. But the most important tool of them all? Google.
But it’s not just about showing up in Google- it’s also about making a good impression and convincing your web visitors that you should be their business of choice.
A blog is a great tool the average small or local business can use to solve this problem. For most small businesses blogging anywhere from a few times a week to once a month can drive more in-store sales, build trust with existing customers, and create more brand awareness.
Depending on how frequently you blog and how much effort you put forth (are these quick company updates or heavily researched, content-focused articles about your industry?) a blog can become an invaluable resource- especially for small and local businesses that might not have the resources to hire an SEO consultant or a PR firm.
Let’s look at why and how blogging can be good for the typical small or local business.
Blogs are good for small businesses because they:
- Build trust with existing and new customers. Having a blog for your small or local business shows you care and have put thought into your customers’ experience. Studies indicate that consistent blog updates can show your commitment and increase trust from your customers, leading to repeat business and customer referrals.
- Boost your ranking on search engines and attract new customers from the web. Google wants to show the most relevant, up-to-date information at all times. Every time you write a new blog post, Google records that as a new page. This boosts your SEO, making you appear more frequently in searches, which allows you to reach more new customers.
- Reach new customers through social media sharing. The more great content you have, the more people are willing to share it. That’s why you should run contests and ask people to share your posts, possibly in exchange for free products or services. You can also easily share content by putting a link to new blog posts in your social media updates.
- Capture leads with email subscriptions. Blogs provide a great way to keep track of your customers through email subscriptions. Many blogging platforms allow you to easily collect email addresses, which you can later use in email newsletters and promotions. As long as you have good content that attracts readers and keeps them coming back and subscribing, you should have no problem getting email addresses.
But there are a few cons of blogging:
- Blogs require some work upfront. To get start with this online marketing tool, you may have to work with your web designer to make your blog accessible from your website. Make sure you account for the time and money required to get this feature added to your website.
- Blogs require some work all the time. Having a blog requires regular maintenance. If you want this online marketing tactic to be successful, you have to post content regularly. This can take time, especially in the beginning.
Luckily, it’s really not that hard due to the fact that:
- You have tons of subjects to write about. You should have an almost never-ending supply of content since you can write about everything from your staff, customers and office space to your products and services and company values. Don’t worry about running out of blog topics.
- It can take as little time as 10 minutes a day. Blogging doesn’t have to be a laborious ordeal. Try spending 10 minutes a day writing about something interesting that happened at your small business that day. Maybe you hired a great new sales associate, or you recently got in a new shipment of shampoo that you’re excited to start using in your salon. Just snap a picture, write a few sentences and hit Publish.
- If you use a platform such as WordPress or Tumblr, you can post all of your content yourself. Blogging doesn’t have to require a lot of technical expertise. Simply pick a theme and start typing. If you’re still stuck on selecting a theme, let these options inspire you. If you’re ready to get started with WordPress, check out this extensive guide on WordPress for small businesses.
So should I start a blog for my business today?
While not every small business needs a blog, it is certainly a helpful asset that can prove to be extremely fruitful. Research clearly shows that blogging helps small businesses acquire more customers; 57 percent of businesses with a blog have acquired a new customer, and companies with blogs experience 126 percent more lead growth than those without. As more and more consumers turn to the web to learn about local businesses, building a positive online reputation these tools can help build a positive offline reputation.
LocBox is helping small and local businesses optimize their online reputation and grow their businesses. Learn more with a free demo of our online marketing platform.