I recently worked with a client who has developed a hugely successful business selling nutritional supplements and skincare products to the US, Asia and Europe, from a small office in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Virtually all his products are sold via the Internet and he gets about 30,000 visitors a month to his website. Furthermore, he doesn’t spend a fortune on Google Adwords or other online advertising.
The secret, he told me, was due largely to his blog. He posts to his blog two or three times a week (although I just checked his blog today and I see he’s travelling and hasn’t posted for 10 days).
Virtually every one of his blog posts has comments beneath it. He often makes controversial statements about the nutritional supplement industry, which guarantees him a lively readership.
This is a classic example of how powerful blogging can be for your business …. if you do it right. That’s a big IF. A lot of people start a blog and have a spurt of enthusiasm and then give up. Or they try to make their blog posts too overtly sales-oriented.
Your blog needs to be informative, interesting and ideally a bit controversial. For people (like me) who don’t like going out selling face to face but are more introverted, blogging can be an ideal way to build up your credibility and attract new customers. You don’t have to do any sales or ever have to pitch; people will call you after reading your blog.
You can imagine how much more receptive people will be to buying if they have approached you, rather than you approaching them. You’re already half way to the sale before you even start talking to them.
The downside of blogging is that it does take time to build up traffic. You will feel as though you are writing away in a vaccuum for a while and wonder if it’s worth it. Then, after a few weeks, you’ll start to see visitors who have found your blog posts in the search engines.
Google seems to love blogs, much more than regular websites. I’ve seen this with my own websites. I’ve had a site for about four years selling my website design services and have got a steady trickle of traffic to it. At the beginning of 2009 (about 30 days ago) I built a new website using WordPress, which is a blogging software that can also be used to create full websites.
The amazing thing is, this new website, built with WordPress, is already getting more traffic than my four-year-old conventional site! Furthermore, it is already ranked on page two of Google for the term ‘website designers Christchurch’ – after just 30 days.
So this is good news if you’re serious about blogging. If you post consistently and offer something of genuine value to to readers, you’ll gradually build up a following and your business will take off more than you dreamed possible.
If you’re not a writer, or simply don’t have time to write a blog, you could do what more and more businesses are doing – hire a freelance writer to share some (or all) of the load.
To conclude, I’d like to share another example of a truly successful blog, which I learned about today. It is written by a tailor working in upmarket Saville Row in London. You’d hardly expect a tailor aiming at the upper end of the market to be a blogger. But Thomas Mahon sells bespoke suits using mainly his blog, and word of mouth, as marketing. He is constantly booked and his customers include Prince Charles.
A good business blog is like the best kind of salesperson. It offers information and advice but is not pushy. It makes you want to come back again and again and also spread the word to your friends. It’s well worth the effort!