Blogging for Brick and Mortars

How setting up a blog for your existing business can be beneficial

Blogging is a great way to get to know someone. And we all know good customer service is one of the fundamentals when it comes to developing a lasting customer base. Keeping these things in mind, we take a look at adding a blog to your existing business.

Sales Sites, Service Sites:

Whether you are selling books, clothing, toys, or something else entirely, blogging can benefit your business. Use your blog to post great coupons with definite end-dates. Describe a cool new product in detail. Caution your buyers about a recall. Make your posts something your buyers will really need to survive in this world.

It’s not as hard as it sounds. What made you get into the business? Take that passion and apply it to your products. Review your least popular product. Let them know why you carry it. Compare and contrast some of your best sellers. Throw in a post or two that is not product driven, but that caters to your audience. For instance, a bookstore might do a few articles on whether or not reading at night is bad for your eyes. Again, what do your customers want to read about?

Every once in a while you could offer up some cute notes about your family life or a make them laugh with a funny office story or two. These sprinklings of your personality will brand your site to your customers, creating a loyalty you will cherish. A good site to mimic is Fabric.com. Now they don’t have a blog per se, but their weekly email is so close to a blog, it demands your attention. You can sign up for that email on their site to get an idea of what I mean. Now, I haven’t sewn in a year, but I keep getting that email and I keep buying from them because I don’t want to miss a bargain and I like that family, even though I don’t know them except through that blog/email.

What you want is a blog that draws your readers’ attention and causes them to subscribe to your blog via RSS. For more info on RSS see my article on Blog Aggregators. Blogging and RSS subscription is the new way to advertise via the net. Remember, today’s customer is sick of most advertising, using ad blocking software, spam filtering, and Tivo to fast-forward through the annoying messages they don’t want to see. However, they will subscribe to a product-driven blog because they chose the blog, it wasn’t foisted on them by some slick salesman who has his own best interests at heart. But, you must keep your blog content-driven. Remember, if they don’t need your information, they won’t keep reading it.

If you want to use your blog to send users to your site, make sure your blog posts are full of the words you want search engines to see. If you sell kites, make sure you say the word kite several times in each post. Remember, you are not tricking the search engines by doing this. You are really doing a service to those who are looking to buy a good kite by making sure your site, a great place to buy a good kite, ends up higher in the listings.

Brochure Sites:

But, what if your site is not one that changes often? So you don’t have products or services for sale on a website. Maybe you are a dentist or a landscaper and your site is really just a brochure for your business. A blog can help you too, but it should be managed just a little differently.

A static (unchanging) site wouldn’t necessarily want to draw repeat customers to the site. However, a business of this type would definitely benefit from a blog that kept the business on the mind of their customer. If I am subscribed to my cosmetic dentist’s blog and he writes really informative articles on tooth care, whitening products, healthy-teeth foods, and maybe slips some discounts in here and there, I would get more dental work done, no doubt. Maybe I would focus more on my lawn and shrubbery if I got a weekly RSS update from a local nursery that gave info on easy-to-care-for plants, or maybe a zone-friendly plant-of-the-week post. Again, what do you think interests your customers about your product? What drives their purchases? This should be what you center your blog around. Don’t forget the discounts and the personal talk. Make it personal; create that branding and customer loyalty you need to flourish.

I noticed that Microsoft is hiring bloggers to write for them and their products. Any marketing that Bill Gates does is something to watch. His genius is in marketing and knowing what the masses really want, even before they do.

And, don’t be afraid to hire out. If you read a blog you like and you know you don’t have time or the talent to write something informative and conversational, ask that blogger to write your blog for you. Don’t put out a mediocre blog. In order for you to get that blog out there to the masses you want to attract, it has to be something they will subscribe to.

You will find that blogging is a great way to deliver your message. It’s inexpensive, it’s new, and it’s relatively easy. And, you will get quite a return on your efforts, if it’s done well. Feel free to email me if you want further info.

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