Would you be surprised if a hammer salesperson suggested a hammer were the perfect tool for every home project?
Have a leaky sink? You need a hammer. Need to change an electrical outlet? You need a hammer. Need to paint a wall? You need a hammer. Need to cut fire wood? You need a hammer. Yes! A hammer can serve any household need!
That would be silly.
And yet that is exactly what many Blog Consultants do. Do you have a business? You need a blog! Ridiculous.
A blog is nothing more than a tool to support a business and web strategy. As any tool of business or trade, there is a time and place where they are appropriate; there are also many times when they´re overkill and times when they´re a waste of energy.
My last few posts on blogs have created some interest and discussion. In an offline conversation I was asked to share some thoughts on businesses that don´t need a blog. Here goes"?¦I´ll give three examples, all from my family, of businesses that have varying need for a website and blogging presence.
By any and all measurements of success, my mom has owned a highly successful salon for 35 years. Her business operates at capacity — every available appointment is full. She has customers that have been with her salon for the entire 35 years of operation. Almost all of the new business she´s had over the past two decades has come from referrals. She runs customer loyalty programs and product links for up-sell opportunities. Her business makes money by all three means available — getting more new customers, increasing the value your average sale, and getting more repeat business.
Does my mom need a blog? No, she doesn´t even have a website — she has no need for one.
Could my mom have a blog? Sure. There are countless things she could blog about related to her business: hair care, style, beauty trends, product reviews, etc. But realistically, blogging isn´t going to help her business in the least bit. Her customers are fiercely loyal and her primary audience doesn´t shop for her services on the web.
My dad owns what many would describe as the ideal business, a marina. His marina serves mostly sail boaters and their associated needs. Adding capacity a few times over the life of his ownership, the marina docks near 400 sail boats of varying sizes up to 40´. Besides the slip fees to dock a boat in season, the marina also provides a pro shop, motor repair, cleaning, and winter storage. A yacht club and routine social events foster customer loyalty. As with my mom´s business, my dad´s marina generates revenue by all three means available. The marina distinguishes itself with service, breadth of offering, and quality of what matters most in this business…great docks.
Does my dad need a blog? No, but the marina should and does have a website. Their website serves to support their customers — hours of operation, contact information, weather conditions, events calendar, etc.
Could my dad have a blog? Sure. He too has countless things to blog about — sailing techniques, product reviews, tip-n-tricks, repair, etc. But realistically it wouldn´t help build his business in the least bit. His customers are well connected to his business already. He can blog if he wants to, but he shouldn´t have an expectation of blogs changing his business"?¦it won´t.
My third example is my own business. We are marketing and sales consultants. Or niche is revenue generation. We work with our customers to build their revenue the only three ways possible — get them more new customers, increase the value of their average sale, and get them more repeat business. Whatever it takes.
Do I need a blog? Yes. Blogging allows us to present numerous faces of our offering and capability. Blogging allows us to present a rubrics cube of possibilities and capabilities to earn our customer´s business. Blogging creates customer loyalty and fosters lead generation activities. Combined with a strategy of preeminence, blogging has been very good to me and my business.
Bottom line. A hammer, screw driver, saw, and measure tape all have a place in a tool box. Each serves a particular function and use. Each is the right tool at the right time and none are the only tool you need. Blogs are a tool of business; they sit in the tool box alongside direct mail, print advertising, signage, websites, and other marketing means. A blog is not a strategy and it´s not a must have for every business.
The only marketing and sales plan that matters is the one that works. To say every business needs a blog is to me to say you don´t understand business.
Blogs — just because you can, doesn´t mean you should.