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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Blog for Your Business

Prospective clients sometimes ask me why they might want to consider having a blog.

I'm sure there are many circumstances that I won't think of right now, since every business is different. But there are many reasons to have a blog if you're a business.

A blog can help keep your clientele returning. Obviously every business should have a web site. But really, how often do you update that web site? If you're like most people, and unless you run a very large company with many different kinds of products, it's not that frequently. I have seen business web sites that have not been updated—let alone rewritten entirely—in years. Now, granted, if the web doesn't play a major role in your business, or if your business is something that hasn't changed much in a long time, that might be all right. For example, the car wash I used to use could go a long time without an update because their business was so obviously service-oriented, and their entire site consisted of a page with their hours, location, phone number, and some coupons that were perpetual.

But most businesses aren't car washes. Whether you sell a service or a product, you will want your customers to return, and they'll be more likely to do that if you give them a reason to. A blog can do that. Not only can a blog help to attract clientele in the first place, by having information about how your product or service will solve a prospective customer's problem, but it can increase sales by giving them a reason to return.

Say, for instance, that you have one great product that you now sell on your site. If you add a blog to your site, you can use it to let your customers know when you'll be introducing another great product. It gives you a built-in clientele for new products. Think about it: if you've purchased something from an online store once, been happy with the product and service, aren't you more likely to return to that place for future purchases?

People can now subscribe to blogs—to grab new blog articles automatically and read them at their own convenience. As a business-owner, wouldn't you love to have someone include your company's blog in their reading whenever you update it?

Now, as for what goes into that blog . . . of course that's going to depend on your business. But generally speaking, there are a few categories of content that seem obvious.

Firstly, you could include articles about a particular product: how it works, what advantages it has over similar items, highlight specific functions that it does very well, or even introduce new accessories or related items. For example, if you sell software, you may want to explain why it's especially good for those who work in a specific field.

Another thing you could incorporate to your business' blog is client testimonials or success stories. Explain why one person bought your software rather than a different package, and how it's made their work easier.

And yet another type of blog article you'd want in the mix is of the tips-and-tricks variety. Show your clients the fantastic flexibility your software offers, and how to accomplish something they might not otherwise have thought of doing, or how to do it in a simpler way that saves them time, effort, and money. In other words, teach them something they might find useful, but might not otherwise come across.

If you decide that a blog can help your business, it's always best to have a professional writer compose your articles. Unlike a personal blog, a business-related blog represents your company, and should reflect professionalism. A good blog-writer will work closely with you to make certain they understand what the goal of a particular entry is and to get the details right. But if you feel that you want to write your own articles, at the very least you should have it proofread.

Finally, while a blog may not bump your sales immediately, consistently interesting, well-written blog articles can help your excellent products or services build a steady clientele that will continue to patronize your business over and over, for years to come.

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