As you can surmise, one of the principal reasons why businesses find blogs effective as business tools is they help generate or increase sales. While there is no quantitative amount with regards to the exact monetary significance of blogging on sales, there are evidences of some sort of return on investment. Increase in sales can be and often is one of the indirect effects of successful blogging.
Blogs – Good for Business
Imagine sitting in front of your computer with millions of people (shareholders, business partners, competitors, employees and the media) conversing about business and the like. Now imagine if you can use all the information you learned to establish what product or service your customers want, why they want it, how they want it and how much they are willing to pay for it. This is precisely what a blog is all about and much more. Definitely, blogs are good for businesses.
A blog or a weblog is an interactive website that maintains an ongoing chronicle of information. It is a regularly updated website featuring links to other articles or other websites. Generally, a blog tends to have a main content area with articles called posts or entries listed in reverse chronological order with the latest on top. Typically, these articles are organized in categories. There is also an archive of articles based on dates. A blogroll, a list of links to other related sites is another feature of a blog.
A blog may contain one or more feeds. Most blogs publish feeds (RSS, RDF, Atom). A feed is a machine-readable content that is updated periodically. A feed reader displays the new post and a link to it. Most blogs also have a feature that allows visitors to leave comments. With a blog, you publish fresh content and your readers can add their own comments with links to their own blogs. Easy to use blogging tools are available, often for free. A basic blogging tool provides an interface where you can work in an easy and intuitive manner while it takes care of the rest of the logistics involved in making your blog presentable and available for the public.
Blogging, authoring or maintaining a blog, is one of the rapidly increasing growth areas of the Internet. According to popular search engine Technorati, there are roughly more than 40 million blogs on the Internet today and more blogs are appearing at the rate of 75,000 a day. This is mainly due to the numerous benefits of blogging for business.
A blog has a powerful marketing capability to grow your business, be it small or big. You can now have a commanding presence on the Web, not one based on size, capital, or resources but one based on quality of content, targeted audience and useful products and services. With blogs as equalizers, the blogosphere has become a truly exciting playing field for all businesses.
A blog is a constant source of valuable and up-to-date information. Setting up a blog allows you to showcase your expertise and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. A blog can be your vehicle for product or service updates, company news and any other information you want to relay to your targeted audience. A blog must contain relevant information, not just sales pitches; otherwise readers are much less likely to return. As with any part of a business marketing plan, a blog must contain information that appeals to its targeted audience.
A blog is an effective method to communicate with clients and prospects. It allows you to openly and regularly converse with them increasing credibility, creating trust and forming relationships with them early on. A blog with its conversational style is ideal for developing good customer relationships. Readers will feel comfortable with you long before they call you to make a purchase or avail of your service.
A blog is a great tool to get feedback from readers. Your readers can leave comments or make inquiries. A blog is a great way to find out what readers are thinking and in the process provides you with ideas or how to better serve them thus improving your business. Forming business decisions based on reader feedbacks can be one of the smartest business moves you can ever make.
Nevertheless, to be effective, a blog has to be updated frequently. Readers do not visit blogs that do not feature fresh content regularly. Keeping readers in the know with periodic posts about your business creates buzz and publicity. There is work involved in creating a blog. It takes time and commitment to write interesting and informative blog posts. But it may prove to be well-spent especially if it helps generate sales.
Blogs and Sales – In Tandem
Sales require personal interaction. A blog is one such place where communication thru conversations thrives and relationships are fostered. When you give your readers significant information they can use through your blog consistently, they will be satisfied. They will then return for more fresh content on a regular basis. Overtime, you will be able to build a loyal following. Readers will see you as an expert in your particular niche. Your readers will come to trust you and a relationship is developed. Your readers will perceive that it is less of a risk to buy from you or avail of your service. If you can blog efficiently about your subject, they tend to believe that your product or service will be worth it.
By blogging, you are sending the message that there is someone listening, someone you can approach as can be gleamed from answered comments and fresh updates. This will make your readers feel more secure and will take this into consideration as they form a purchasing decision. Blogging is inherently an ongoing conversation that in the long run builds trust and loyalty and breeds familiarity. When they become satisfied customers, they will come to you for more information and if given the choice will want to buy from you. This strengthens the relationship between you and your customers and they may also send other sales lead your way. The cycle goes on. Moreover, a blog is a remarkably effective way to get high search engine ranking. In other words, blogs can bring in more readers – more prospective buyers.
A much publicized example that highlights the natural relationship between blogs and sales is the Stormhoek case. Blogging doubled South African wine producer Stormhoeks’s sales in less than twelve months. Aware of the vast numbers of people who blog and read posts, Stormhoek decided to capitalize on this by offering bloggers free bottles of the Stormhoek Shiraz 2004 and Sauvignon Blanc 2005 to try and comment on. Sales went up from 50,000 cases to 100,000 cases. The wine became popular and earned it listings in prestigious wine connoisseur clubs. What is more, Stormhoek gets feedbacks and suggestions ranging from bottle color to label design.
Blogging is marketing to people in a less obtrusive and offensive manner, more like a freewheeling conversation compared to an irritating sales pitch. It truly is a good way to increase sales, albeit indirectly.
Filed under: blogging tools
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