Very often I get asked questions around marketing and growing a start up business online and how to do this cheaper than it would cost to run an ad campaign.
My answer is always blogging...you will not believe how many people look at me strange when I say this until I explain the importance and how it can actually benefit their business in the short term as well as the long term and to be fair, we are all after the long term.
I thought it was time to break it all down and show you the reasons why it's important and how your start up business can benefit from blogging. So, after you've read this and you're completely inspired, you can always pass this blog post along to the person who asks why you blog.
What makes blogging exciting for your start up?
It increases your web traffic
Who doesn't want to have more visitors to their website, we all do!
Now you need to look at all the ways they could find your website, maybe one of these 3:
Paying for traffic by running ad campaigns, which will cost you a lot more than you may get back and once you stop paying, your traffic goes with it – that's a serious issue.
Purchasing a yummy email list – don't do this! It's not cool and you can't hang your basket in a place of hoping someone will find your content interesting and click over, plus this is illegal stuff, so walk away....
So, we've explored how they could find you, but how can you drive traffic to your website on your own, without spending a fortune, doing something dodgy or waiting on people who already know you exist to find you on a search engine?
Let's get into it!
You will now need to think blogging, social media and search engines...
Search engines work by targeting what's relevant and new on your website and I am pretty sure once you created your about page and all the other fundamental aspects of your website, you don't really have a lot of pages and the odds of you going back to update the pages you do have on a daily or weekly basis is quite slim.
This is where blogging comes in. Everytime you write a blog post you increase your search engine exposure and it then creates yet another page that will be indexed on Google for instance. This means you have, by writing one blog post that week, increased the opportunity for your website to show up on search engines, which will drive even more traffic to your website – exactly what you want.
Search engines like Google use robots to keep an eye on your website to find out what's new and how relevant it is to someone's search. They use SEO to match what you write with the key words that are being typed by a potential visitor. Here is a blog or two we wrote earlier on SEO and our thoughts on if it works or not.
Social media has revolutionised how easy it is to find businesses you like and customers who are interested in what you have to offer. Blogging is an absolute gem when it comes to social media – each time you write a blog post, you are giving the reader something to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or even LinkedIn. This helps to build exposure for your website and put you right in-front of people who may not know who you are yet.
Having new blog content will keep your social media presence active and interesting – which is what you are after. Blogging drives new traffic to your website by allowing search engines to find you, it creates shareable content on social media and increases your overall website traffic – awesome!
Let's convert your new traffic into leads
You now have lot's of new visitors due to your blogging skills, now is the time to turn all that traffic into leads.
As I explained before, every new blog post is a new indexed page in your search engine, but now we will look at how each blog post is now an opportunity to create new leads for your start up. This is where we highlight the use of call-to-action and how adding this is simple. You could use anything you choose to create a call-to-action, for instance, you might want to give your reader a free trial of your product, a free ebook, an invite to a free webinar you're hosting etc....all you have to do is make sure it's content that any visitor would love to give you their information for.
Now you're probably thinking no wonder I see all these free ebooks or forms for free offers on my favourite websites. It just shows and you can use the same methods and benefit from the results.
Be the person they come to
You're intent is to be the place they come to answer their queries. By constantly creating content that your customers or leads find helpful, you are giving your target customer exactly what they need and will slowly but surely nudge you in a place of authority when they have questions.
Imagine all those questions you had at some point in time and how helpful a blog post may have been to help to clear up those questions to get you on your way – that is exactly what you are creating for your audience.
You could make closing a sale so much easier by having a blog post or an archive of posts that gives a lead the exact answers they were after. This ignites trust and an easier conversation when they get to the point of purchasing a product or closing a deal.
Blogging is long term
Blogging now, means in the future, maybe a year from now, you could be on a lovely sandy beach sipping a cocktail (I've just given myself holiday envy) and still driving potential leads to your website. That is the perk of blogging – it's not just a for the moment tactic like paying for an ad, it lasts as long as your website stays online.
Look at it this way, if you write a blog post today for instance, it may generate 50 views with a conversion of 7 leads. Then 5 days from now, more people find your blog after it was shared or through the search engine and that generates say 150 views and 28 converted leads.
The point is, this will continue for weeks and possibly years after you took an hour out of your day to write relevant content for your blog. This is what I love the most about blogging – unlike other options, it's not a one hit wonder, it will keep going and as long as it is relevant people will keep clicking and reading. Content can also be recycled, once you spot one that you feel could be better, you can write another post a year later around the same topic and repost as new better content.
You will find that most of your leads in the future may not come from blogs you post that day or that month, it may come from blogs you posted months ago. The more you understand about what your audience wants, the easier it will be to write content that sticks.
Blogging is full of rewards, many people make a living out of blogging, because once you've built up relevant content people will keep coming back for more; Google pays when it comes to relevant content and traffic, but that's for another post.
Blogging allows you to test products and get reviews from your target market without costing you anything, but invested time. Some companies have a designated content team and all they do is research what's relevant, write the blogs and share them on social media. So, if the giants are doing it to gain more web traffic then why can't you.
If you are thinking you may be ready to hit the blogging world, then the points I have listed above should really give you enough reason to get started off on the right foot. But, if I have missed anything, please share below, I love a good gem!