In 2009, Marcus Sheridan’s pool construction business was in serious trouble. The American stock market was weak, and customers were no longer willing to take out second mortgages to spend $50,000 on their back yards. For three weeks in a row, his business bank account was overdrawn.
Sheridan’s solution was hardly orthodox. He made a list of his clients’ top questions about pools – how much do they cost? What are the pros and cons of different models? - and started answering them on his company’s blog. Not only did he save his business, he cut his $250,000 marketing budget by 9/10ths, and is today regarded as one of the top gurus for social media marketing.
While he might sound like an outlier, blogging is a proven way of growing your business.
As if that wasn’t enough, here are four reasons blogging is so powerful – and should be the cornerstone of your web strategy as well:
1. Good blogs make you indispensable to target clients. If you follow Sheridan’s lead, and blog about the questions your potential clients are really interested in, you become a valuable resource for them.
No matter what industry you are in, no matter the size of your business, customers have issues and queries that no one else is answering, at least not online. Become that person, and you will become the go-to expert in your niche – and get those enquiries.
2.They will drive traffic to your website. Rule number one for website SEO is thatyou need to update your site often with new content. Blogs provide that content.
Additionally, Google’s latest algorithm, Hummingbird, favours content that is “relevant” rather than stuffed with key words. If you are blogging about the issues that your target clients genuinely care about, chances are that your copy is going to come up when they Google those very same questions.
Once they’re on your website, many visitors will continue to explore….
3.Blogging feeds your social media programme. If you are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other social media platform, it’s not enough to post other people’s content. You will only grow and attract the right prospects if you are sharing original thoughts, advice and tips.
Where do you get these from? Your blog.
In fact, blogging is the key building block of any successful social media campaign. Good marketers understand that it’s not enough to have large fan bases on Facebook and Twitter. You need to use the social media platforms to direct them back to your blog, which is a gateway to your website, and where you can get them to subscribe to your newsletter - cementing that relationship further.
4. It will make you a sharper company. In order to write a good blog you have to be constantly aware of who your audience is, what interests them, what problems they have and how you can solve them. You have to stay on top of the latest developments in your industry and your own products, and learn to explain all this in a way customers understand. Blogging, in short, will force you to focus on your clients’ needs and become an expert in your field. That can only pay off in one way – sales!
And how can that be bad for business?
Danny Bermant is director of Brainstorm Digital, which helps companies grow their sales through social media. Here's Danny's other blogs