The Internet is home to well over an estimated 100 million blogs, and an increasing number of them are operated by small businesses for the purpose of promotion and building relationships with their customers. The beauty of a blog is that no matter the type or the size of a business, from the largest corporations (e.g., Wal-Mart, Whole Foods) to local mom-and-pop shops, any organization these days can benefit from one.
Blogging is not just one of the hottest trends around, it happens to be an incredibly savvy marketing tool, one that can help you relate information about your business, forge a relationship with your customers, and create repeat business.
Creating your blog is the first step. The next is to keep it relevant. Once you have established your blog, there are a few tips for keeping it a vital part of your marketing and customer-relations plan:
- Keep it fresh: Updating your blog frequently is essential. Users will have little reason to continue coming back if information is not engaging and ever-changing. Ideally, you should plan to freshen up your blog with a minimum of two to three posts per week. (A static site, after all, is a dead site.)
- Highlight what’s new: Remember that your posts should highlight all the very latest information about your business (e.g., details about an upcoming sale, or new merchandise or services you’re offering). You could spend a small fortune advertising in newspapers, on TV and radio, and via other local media. It will cost you nothing to impart this information in your blog.
- Make it fun and interesting: If your blog post isn’t going to have personality, there’s probably no reason to post it in the first place. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your blog entries; clever images and writing can not only convey valuable information to your customers, it can keep them coming back to your blog (and your business). Remember that many customers who would never open an e-mail newsletter will excitedly visit your site time and time again if your blog entries pique their interest.
- Add features, value: One of the best features you can add to your blog to keep users coming back and make the blog more vibrant are links. Blog users love links to other relevant sites. Once you set up your blog, you may want to include links to other blogs that you read and enjoy (likewise, other blogs may end up linking back to you, further driving interest in your site).
- Keep at it: Of all the blogs businesses create every day, many end up being abandoned by businesses that don’t understand their value and their potential and don’t devote the time and effort to keeping them up. If you want your business to reap the many benefits of blogging, remember to keep at it. You can put together a post in just a few minutes a week, and the results can end up paying off with more engaged customers.