Blogging for Businesses
There are many different ways in which businesses can use blogs to further their relationships with both clients and prospects alike and go on to develop it as a fundamental part of their marketing and business development activities.
What we have listed below are some of the key uses that have been shown to materially benefit organisations willing to use the opportunities that a blog offers and hence develop the dialogue they have with their clients and the develop new business on the back on them.
a) Demonstrating the human side of the company: there is a tendency for companies, and professional services organisations in particular, to suffer from a grey or bland external image which can create difficulties when looking to differentiate the company, the people and the services on offer. Using a blog, it is possible to break down those preconceptions and reveal some of the personalities who actually carry out the work – this in turn helps to engender greater trust in an increasingly customer led marketplace.
b) Demonstrating specialist knowledge to attract clients: consistently showing expertise in your chosen field quickly builds a positive reputation and encourages potential clients to gravitate towards you. Client case studies go part of the way, but using a blog to display both your general and specialised knowledge in a consistent manner over time helps more than a sanitised case study can ever do. This is particularly relevant for specialist consultancies and companies offering services in key specialist areas.
c) Using relationship selling rather than a “hard sell”: direct advertising and the “foot in the door” approach has proven less and less successful in all selling environments including B2B – we don’t like being sold to, though we do still like to buy! However, a relationship or educational marketing approach, where you provide potential clients with information over time on which to make their own informed buying decision, continues to go from strength to strength.
d) Become a partner not just a simple supplier: as you engage with potential clients through your blog, you create a level of trust and develop a relationship which will position you as a partner rather than a simple supplier. People prefer to work with and buy from people and companies that they trust – your blog will help you to achieve this.
e) Become THE information resource for your market: most of the information that your prospective clients are looking for is available on the web, it is just a case of finding it. By supplying this type of information yourself or provide links to it on your blog, you can become the preferred place to go to for this type of information and so attract anyone interested in your niche to your blog. This is turn provides you with the ideal opportunity to open a dialogue with them.
f) Organisation of conferences, seminars and exhibitions: blogs are the ideal focal point for collating and distributing information to attendees pre-Conference and for gathering feedback from them during and after the event. You can update the conference details and add new information yourself, and you automatically develop a powerful online Search Engine marketing tool as well.
g) Companies looking to develop their network: social networking has become a key business tool and a blog can help in creating your own focussed network interested in a particular area. As the company setting this up and running it, you find yourself at the centre of this network and in a high profile position as you develop a community around you.
h) Development of new products or services: customer feedback and input is essential in the product development process. By taking the step to allow this feedback to take place on a blog, you are creating discussions and generating ideas which can be invaluable to the process. Added to this, you have a group of people who have contributed to the product and so are likely to be its strongest evangelists and advocates.