A lot of people are looking into the potential of blogging as a form of marketing for their offline business. In fact, it seems that the 2009 economic factors are leading even more people to look to blogging as a way to make some money – and not all of it online. So, would it work?
I am an evangelist for internet business. I love it. However, most business still takes place offline. It is just a fact. So, if you are looking to promote your business online, you may look to blogging as a potential medium.
The thing to remember about a blog is that it is, in essence, a platform for:
- Community building
The importance of communication in marketing isn’t anything new. Offline businesses have done direct mailings for years, so the idea of providing routine, free information and using it as a promotional vehicle is likely not news to anybody.
However, the idea of building a community around your business is a newer concept – one that really hasn’t come about until social media began taking off and people started realizing the power of conversation to build buzz. You can use a blog to build a mailing list and to invite comments from your readers. And by using the blog to form a two-way communication with your commenters, you are developing a relationship with turns them into a prospect for your business.
Blogs offer your offline business a worldwide audience. You can publish information and get it to a lot of people for free (except for hosting costs). You can build your mailing list, based on people of common interest, for free. In the offline world, you would need to use expensive direct mail or have people physically enter your place of business to get them onto your mailing list. On the Internet, you can do it simply by having them sign up. And chances are they would have never come to your blog is they weren’t interested in the subject matter. That means they’re a prospect!
So, can a blog be useful in this way? Absolutely. In this day and age, any business website which is completely static (nothing but an online brochure) is a complete waste of everybody’s time. Set up a blog on your business website and start using it.
Some quick advice for you as you move forward:
- Stay relevant. Perhaps the most difficult part of having a business blog would be what to talk about. What I recommend is to put yourself into the minds of your prospect. What are their problems? Their worries? Write blog posts which address these things. Comment on current events relevant to your market. You can also comment on news and announcements regarding your own business.
- Build a list. You NEED an opt-in form for an email mailing list on your site. Your blog is a lead generator. Treat it like one.
- Forget banner ads. If you are using a blog for promotion of your offline business, don’t introduce competition by placing banner ads on the blog and trying to make a buck. You make your bucks by collecting leads and converting to a sale.
- Go multimedia. Stand out by posting audio and video recordings.
- Be human. The age of formal, corporate style business is coming to an end. Be human. Don’t be afraid to have your employees online. Use humor. Be real.
The things that I talk about on this blog are not only relevant to people trying to make their money as pro bloggers. It is relevant to anybody.
Offline business owners probably don’t realize just how much they would out-do their competition if they would build their internet presence and building relationships using social media (including blogs) now. You could make a killing! Because most offline business owners haven’t the slightest clue to the power of the Internet for their business or how to go about it.