“Did you see how much traffic that blog post got us?!”
“I’ve had 3 clients this week mention they appreciated my latest blog post!!”
“I can’t believe how many people have looked at that blog I wrote!”
That’s the sound of my clients realizing that blogging actually does produce results. None of them believed it at first. They discounted it, pooh poohed it as a waste of time, couldn’t think of why anyone would want to read it, and generally dragged their feet.
That’s all changed now… because NOW they see that people find them, then get value from the content, and then come to see them.
Yes, blogging really can work to get more customers for your business.
The challenge for a lot of small business owners is not just the amount of time blogging seems like it will take (it actually takes less than we all think), but that this is a completely different way of marketing than how it used to be so long ago – like 5 years ago maybe. So what’s different?
The biggest difference today is how people learn about businesses and then how they begin to develop trust and a relationship. Even if your business is purely transactional (if it is, you might want to consider adding a little more value so you can win more business…) your potential customers still need to find out about you AND be confident you are not going to cheat them – and that maybe you’re great to do business with! The need for prospective customers to know that about the businesses they patronize hasn’t changed. What has changed is the process.
How businesses used to be discovered and vetted
People used to find out about businesses a few ways:
- Neighbors and friends
- Referrals from other businesses
- Walking or driving by
- Ads in multiple places: Yellow Pages, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
- People would ask others about whether the business was reputable, how the products or services were, and whether they would recommend it.
How businesses are primarily found now
People find businesses today a few ways that are similar to before, but a different process:
- Asking neighbors and friends
- Seeing what neighbors and friends say about businesses online
- Searching on the web – this is when your blog can help out a lot! Both in search and in social media.
- Reading reviews
- Online ads: search ads, social media ads
Since most of the discovery is online, potential customers are naturally taking the steps to check out your business by going to your website. This is another place where your blog really makes a difference!
How do customers check you out?
Your potential customers want to know if you really know your business – more to the point, do you understand their problem and how to fix it? So they’re going to look around for evidence of that – and your blog can be the most important element in that equation. If you are writing blog posts about your area of expertise, how you solve people’s problems, and the experiences people have with your services or products, then that’s the perfect evidence of your credibility.
Your blog is the cornerstone of building your credibility.
Using your blog posts to communicate the value your business creates will help people trust you and they’ll understand how your business might fit in their lives. Your blog creates transparency about the commitments and values your business has as they relate to the reader: your potential customer.
Your blog is not an advertisement.
To be clear, blog posts contain advice, insights, tips, experiences, valuable information, and suggested actions the reader can take. They are NOT valuable if they are full of promotional information about your business. Your credibility is built by demonstration through the blog: not through telling via the blog. You demonstrate that you understand their problem by writing, talking, or showing something about it and then some information about how to solve the problem: options, tools, products, or services (and not necessarily yours).
My customers’ quotes at the beginning of this blog post were because they had written about situations their clients really cared about. And those blog posts made a difference ALL BY THEMSELVES in that person’s life. People remember that and they naturally want more. That’s why those customers of mine have all the business they want right now – people are finding them and by reading their blog posts they experience a small taste of the value that’s possible if they actually do business with them.