Benefits of Blogs For Business Marketing

After the advent of the World Wide Web the next big fad was blogging. Suddenly everybody from home-makers, young mothers, businessmen, and grandparents were blogging. Personal blogs sprung up dime a dozen all over the internet, leading to a blogging network of similar blogs and bloggers. The word ‘blog’ sprung from the term ‘web log’ coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. The blogging boom began with the appearance of easy-to-use blogging software developed in 1999.

What exactly is a blog?

A blog is an online journal that can be updated at your convenience. You can have a personal blog, like keeping a diary open for public viewing or a business blog maintained in order to have a platform to discuss business-related topics and share your expertise online with potential customers, interested clients, or your employees.

7 Marketing benefits of having a business blog

Having a business blog can have several advantages for a small business on a tight marketing budget. If you do not have web designing know-how, a blog is a great alternative that offers free setup and easy maintenance.

You can offer helpful hints and promote your own products, upload instructional or demonstrational videos on to your blog. You can build a subscriber base using your blog, and generate leads by notifying your followers when you have new content up. Google’s Blogger allows for Google AdWords to post ads on related products or services in your blogging space, giving you the option of passive earnings through affiliate marketing. Listed here are 7 important benefits blogging offers to business marketing:

1. Low-cost internet marketing tool: Opening a blogging account on Blogger or WordPress is free and you have the required software to be all set in a few hours. However, it is important to host your own blog even if you use free blogging software. Registering your own domain name and having your blog on your own server space gives you better visibility in search engine rankings.

2. Drive web traffic to your business website: When you have a blog and a regular following it is like having another website, but with reduced functionality. Your blog will rely on SEO articles, images, or videos. Your followers can be redirected to your business website if you have one, with the goal of converting interest or leads into sales.

Make an SEO keyword list for your niche market and base your articles and videos on these keywords. This will drive both natural and paid search to your blog. Include your blog URL in your social networking site profiles encouraging friends or fans to follow your business blog. This will drive traffic if you have a reputation for great information or expertise in chosen your niche.

3. Build your product or brand image: You can build your brand imageusing your blog. People reading your blog maybe interested to know what you do – add your business widget or button to your blog. Write a product description or post an infomercial.

4. Maintain a customer dialog: Blogs are interactive, which means that your readers can interact with you through posted comments and questions on the blog (which can be moderated). This is your chance to weigh customer opinion, suggestions, and comments.

5. Gain new customers: Some followers may recommend your blog to others bringing you new business prospects.

6. Network with other similar businesses: All businesses run on internal and external networks. Keeping up with similar blogs and their articles can give you an opportunity to comment on their articles while adding value to them presenting your knowledge on the subject. A reader interested in their blog may click-through to yours to read more! These kinds of click-throughs are free and generate more traffic to your blog.

7. Great public relations outlet: In case, your business runs into some bad press your blog can be your chance to demonstrate a clean slate. You can make your stand clear or challenge a public opinion. As regular readers are aware of who you are and know you from regular online interaction, you have a better chance to garner support through viral means.

Blogs are great additions to your Social media marketing (SMM) strategy. For those who do not have the money to pay for website design and site building, blogs double up as a website cum interactive online tool. The only downside is that they do not provide the functionality of web pages, have limits for e-commerce solutions, and can be time-consuming with regular posts; but blogs rank high as a low-cost marketing option.

Dreaming of Owning an Online Business

Everyone dreams of having his or her own business from the very small to the multimillion versions. Dreams are of course free to anyone. When a dream becomes a reality, there are lessons to be learnt that will help expand or destroy the business.

Depending on a sole supplier for your business widgets could be a fatal mistake if they go out of business and you have not acquired other contacts. The question that you need to ask is whether you would be able to continue with your business if the supplier collapses and how you would tackle the situation.

Businesses grow from interacting with other businesses. Today it is called networking, whether it is done on line or physically over a coffee it is an essential part of the business world. Take time to get to know others and note how they run their business.

If your business is not showing the increase you had planned on, step back, and have the courage to change the current model you have. It is often said that succeeding requires a certain amount of risk, and that risk takers are the ones that succeed.

Your business website may not be all that it should be if the URL you are using is part of the problem. Does it suit your business and have the keyword essential to attracting the customer. A business with no customers will never be a business. The saying ‘fails to plan, and you plan to fail’ is actually a good one. A real business requires a business plan and by default a marketing plan. This puts processes in place to maintain and improve your business, be it an online one or a bricks and mortar establishment.

The much used Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats analysis is a good place to start. When you have a business today marketing becomes extremely important and time needs to be spent everyday nurturing your network, your website, or your customers. There will come a time that the business is on the bones of its backside and all of a sudden, there is no money coming in. It is too late at that point to start realizing the lost opportunities of marketing.

Staying in touch with people on a regular basis creates trust and a well run website can do just that for a firm that takes its customers seriously. We cannot assume that people will stay with a company because the owner thinks they should. ‘Assume ‘makes an ass-of -u-and -me. Trusting people is not without its own risks and others whose perspective is different from our own will have hurt us all. Take the chance, grab your own website and start planning to make your dream a reality.

The Guppy Tank – Assessment of the Real Small Business

I must admit that I proudly proclaim that I don’t watch reality shows. However, that’s not really true. I am an avid follower of ABC’s “Shark Tank” series. The question is why, and what do I learn from that show that can be applied to my business?

While we all strive for the multi-million dollar or even billion dollar business, the truth is that most of us would be happy to have a small business that satisfies our needs – both in terms of income and satisfaction. We will likely not develop a business in which Mark Cuban would want to invest. So let’s take a look at our business interests as they might be evaluated by smaller investors in the “Guppy Tank”.

A small business, by my definition, is a business that often starts from scratch, employs the owners, perhaps some family members, and a few others. Initially, at least, the business struggles with sales and is faced with at least some periods of negative cash flow. This, of course, differs from the definition of a small business that might include 50 workers and have five million dollars in sales. With this definition in mind, let’s follow a hypothetical business into the “Guppy Tank”.

Our show opens with the introduction of three possible investors. Each has had some level of small business success of his/her own. They represent hard work, good planning, and the recognition that not all small business owners will get to this point.

Next, in comes the owner of business “X” which designs, manufactures, markets, and sells widgets. The widgets could be a consumer product or service. It really doesn’t matter. The owner of business “X” introduces his or her widgets with some fanfare. He or she explains why business “X’s” widget is so much better than any other widget out there and why it occupies a unique niche in the developing market. Everyone is properly impressed at this point.

Our guppies, however, know nothing about the widget or business “X” or the person or persons behind it. The questions begin.

Guppy 1 asks how business “X’s” founder and owner, whom we’ll call Sandy, got into this business. The question, of course, is intended to find out more about Sandy. What is Sandy’s background? Does Sandy have prior business experience? Is Sandy committed to this business? Where did the idea for the widget come from?

Guppy 2 asks questions about the widget and its current acceptance in the market. Is the item selling now? What is the market? What do we really know about the market? How did Sandy form her projections?

Guppy 3’s inquiry is focused on the financial needs of business “X”. What is needed now? What will those dollars accomplish? What will future needs be? And, of course, what’s in it for the guppy that invests.

In our show, the guppies get their answers, are impressed with the widget, with Sandy, and with the future prospects. They fight over investing in business “X” and Sandy. Sandy has succeeded. But how?

Sandy demonstrated by her answers to Guppy 1 that she is passionate about her small business. She has always been willing to work long and sometimes stressful hours because she enjoys the enterprise. She sacrifices for her business. Her widget came about from a combination of prior experience and a love for the product or service. The business provides Sandy with more than a job. It is her vocation and hobby rolled into one. Hard work – yes. Time consuming – yes. She says “Bring it on!!”

To Guppy 2 Sandy presents some data about the product and market. The guppies and Sandy know that the data was less than stellar since there was no practical way to do a full-blown analysis. But it was clear that Sandy had thought this through. She had tested the market as best she could. The results were more than encouraging. Sandy is the expert when it comes to her widget and it shows.

And as for Guppy 3’s focus, Sandy presented a picture in sufficient detail as to how the funds would be used, how they would increase sales, and how profits would benefit. Sandy had done her homework.

As the show comes to an end, we are very happy for Sandy’s success and can’t help but wonder “how would I have done” in the Guppy Tank.

The lessons from the tank are simple. In order to achieve success, we have to be passionate about our business. We must understand our market. The ultimate bases for decision making in any business, cash flow and profit, must be no strangers to our thinking. Planning is essential. And we have to understand and keep within our available resources.

But we knew all of that, didn’t we?