I’d like you to imagine any one of the following scenarios and consider how likely you’d be to attempt them:
Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?
Yet this is exactly what many small businesses and marketers attempt when they write a marketing plan without a blog: they’re embarking on a mammoth project while overlooking one of the essential tools they need to make it successful.
By now we’re aware of the statistical and business benefits of business blogging.
But it’s time to examine in more detail why blogging should be a key part of your small business’ marketing plan.
Imagine having someone in your office spending all day every day establishing your brand, attracting new leads and converting them to customers. They don’t want to be paid - all they want is some of your time and attention. They’d be priceless, right? This is exactly what your blog is — it’s your dream employee.
The natural inclination for small business marketers is to pay for advertising. Yet the average conversion rate for a typical AdWords campaign is just 2.7 per cent on the search network, and 0.89 per cent on the display network. Compare that with blogging: B2B marketers who use blogs receive 67 per cent more leads than those that do not. Marketers who have prioritised blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive return on investment.
While consumers become more suspicious of advertising, and its effectiveness lasts as long as you’re only willing to pay for it, blogging has emerged as a trusted and permanent way to attract leads over the long term.
HubSpot reports that 70 per cent of its blog traffic comes from posts that were not published in the current month. Ninety per cent of its overall leads come from blog posts that were published months and even years ago.
So while you’re having dinner with your family, drinking cocktails by the pool, settling in for a movie or even sleeping, your blog is still working for you.
If you’ve gone to the effort of starting your own business chances are you have a wealth of knowledge earned over years of schooling, training and experience. Why keep it to yourself?
Your blog is your podium and it’s your chance to share your knowledge with the world, positioning yourself as an industry expert along the way.
“A blog is one of the best ways to establish yourself or your brand as an expert in your field, as it gives you a platform for sharing important industry-related information and insights. says Forbes marketing expert Jayson DeMers.
“As you build up authority in your niche, this breeds trust and familiarity, keeping you top-of-mind when your prospects are ready to buy, and increasing conversion rates.”
As we know, the typical buying process has transformed over the last two decades. On average, a consumer will read or interact with up to 12 pieces of content before they’re ready to buy. They are 70 — 90 per cent of the way through the buying process before they ever set foot into a store.
In today’s environment when a person types a query into Google, they’re not typically setting out to buy. Initially they’re just looking for information, comparing products and doing background research that will help them make informed decisions. This is where a blog becomes an invaluable resource.
“The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you're consistently creating content that's helpful for your target customer, it'll help establish you as an authority in their eyes,” says HubSpot’s Corey Wainwright.
“If prospects find answers to their common questions via blog posts written by people at your company, they're much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say because you've helped them in the past, even before they were interested in purchasing anything from you.”
Social Media is a hungry beast - constantly demanding new, fresh and compelling content that we can share with our expectant audiences.
Yet constantly creating new content can be time and labour intensive, especially for small businesses. However, a well maintained blog can produce a steady stream of social media content perfect to share and amplify across your various platforms.
“Every time you write a blog post, you're creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet,” says Wainwright.
“Instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You're strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channels.”