Customers in the 21st century demand great content. Your business blog can be a powerful medium through which you can take your brand several notches higher.
We all know that reaching out to your existing and potential customers is pivotal in promoting your business – and one of the most significant ways of doing this is through a blog. Statistics show that blogging regularly can heavily influence purchase decisions. And companies that have a blog generate 88% more leads than the ones that do not.
Starting a blog is very easy but the challenge lies in updating and maintaining it. With technology becoming easier by the day, it now takes just a few minutes to create a business blog. But in case you are new to this whole idea and don’t have a clue about blogging, then the following steps should help you get started:
Choose a blogging platform
Assuming that you already have a business website (you do, right?), it is now time to choose a blogging platform. This can be confusing for someone new to blogging as there are lots of platforms available. WordPress is by far the most popular and also the most professional blogging platform today. Some of its features are free while for others you have to pay. For cheaper and simpler alternatives, try Blogger, Typepad, or Moveable Type. Look around, ask for recommendations from experienced business bloggers and weigh the pros and cons of each platform to choose the correct one for you.
Determine Your Objective
In order to write content, you need to figure out what you will write about and for whom. Are you selling a product? Do you want to promote a service that you provide? Who is your target audience? What is their age group? Answering all these questions can help you determine your objectives. For example, if you are an interior design company, then your blog could be about recent trends in the design industry, the latest news or happenings, offers and new services your company has started, etc. Remember that your blog is your company’s voice. Your style of writing and your content will determine how your target audience responds.
Pick a Theme
Once you have figured out your objective and writing style, pick a theme for your blog. There are two factors in choosing a theme. One, your writing style, tone, etc. Two, the layout of the rest of your website. If you have a blog theme too different from the look of the rest of the site, then it might appear out of coordination. WordPress has several themes to pick from. It also has really professional-looking, paid themes just for a business blog. If, on the other hand, your website or content doesn’t have a very serious tone and is aimed at young, fun, outgoing people, then you are free to select a less professional theme that reflects the personality of your blog. You may also hire a web design company and get a theme created for you blog.
SEO and Content Marketing
Just having a blog out there isn’t enough. You need to make sure it is getting noticed and attracting the number of visitors you want it to. Content marketing is the key in driving a blog. If you have some knowledge about SEO, you can apply proper content marketing strategies on your own. But if you have no idea how these things work, it is better to hire a SEO company or a content marketing specialist to help you achieve the desired results. Popularizing your content is another vital strategy. The trick here is to share your content on social media channels for more exposure and more readership.
Who Will Write and How Often
Set realistic goals for your blog. Don’t aim to write one post every day if you actually cannot. Once a week, or once every fortnight is good enough. The next important question: Who will blog? Do you have the time? Have you written anything other than your college essays? Can you successfully convey what benefits your customers will get by choosing your product or service? If any of your answers to these is NO, it is best to hire a professional blogger or content writer to do the work for you.
Most importantly: Be patient. Don’t lose heart if your blog doesn’t get too many visitors in the first few months. A consistent traffic takes time, patience, and consistency. All you need to do is keep blogging and sharing your posts on the right social media platforms to build a steady stream of visitors and readers over time.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well, that the product or service fits him and sells itself” – Peter Drucker
Customer is THE KING, goes the adage.
And this is truer today than ever before.
A successful marketer is always trying to generate leads and make effortless conversions. While statistics show that sales leads often stagnate at mere 3-4 per cent each year, a good way to find what customers are thinking is to start with solid online research – one that goes beyond generic and transactional analysis.
Marketers now work across various customer platforms to draw a psychometric patterns on what customers need and how they behave online – to help define the exact needs of their customers.
Following are some proven ways of online research that can help you build a strong customer network.
More than 80 percent of internet users are active on at least one social media site and spend an average of 20% of their time on social networks. The new Social Media Monitoring techniques (SMM) and Social Media Relationship Management (SMRM) are tools in social media that help marketers gain insight on newer market opportunities and create complete customer profiles through social network sharing.
Active Users by Social Platform (January 2014)
LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, Twitter search, Pinterest and Google Plus communities offer enormous amount of data pertaining to customer preferences and reviews. SMM tools such as Social Crawlytics and BuzzSumo can provide exact statistics of social shares of any URL.
For instance, you can draw simple inferences for iPhone 6 on Buzzsumo. While users are not happy with the display screen, many of them from Vietnam seem more curious about this product. This kind of a customer profile can be further drilled down to the level of individual customers.
Blogs help communicating with potential customers. You cannot underestimate the power of a good blog!! Here is an intercept of a business intelligence blog that predicts the shopping plans of customers in detail. Also by looking at the comments section, one can analyse what customers are seeking, are they happy or what are the prevailing sentiments.
Keyword research reveals a heap load of information about what exactly customers are looking for and the different phrases though which they find their desired products. They also tell you of product niches that you might have missed so far and your competitors who are offering those products. Keyword word search engines such as Word Tracker and Trellian’s Keyword Discovery estimate the most “often used phrases” and tabulate them against the demographics of the people using the phrases. Top keyword word search engines in the market are
A quick keyword search on Christmas yields all the things people around the world are looking for during this festive season.
If knowing what your customer thinks about your product is important, knowing what your customer thinks about your competitor is mandatory. Competitor analysis is a great way to obtain the perceptions of your customer.
Let us take an example of how Semrush helps you in competitor profiling. When an online megastore Amazon decides to watch eBay here are the following data that it can obtain and this data can be compared to your own.
Surveys and polls may sound old school but a whole set of new digital survey tools have made the process easy, interesting and a lot less tiresome. The results can be obtained real time and can be shared, analysed and stored. Some of the popular easy-to-use online survey tools are
Did you know that 79% of the customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Online forums are places where customers do not share just their preferences but also their grievances. Customer review forums teach you what your products has to be and what it does have to be.
The good thing about these forums is that the people posting their views have sufficnet information about them recorded on the website. This makes profiling even easier.
Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Rockethub, Fundable and Indiegogo represent a classic entrepreneurial phenomenon where you get people to pay for idea upfront. If people are ready to use your idea then you know your product is under the right shaping else you “learn” what exactly your customer are looking out for.
If knowing what your customer thinks about your product is important, knowing what your he thinks about your competitor is also crucial. Competitor analysis is a great way to understand perceptions of your customer.
For instance, look how Semrush helps you in competitor profiling. When an online megastore Amazon decides to watch eBay here are the following data that it can obtain and this data can be compared to your own.
A number of paid market research techniques have been doing successful rounds in the markets. These techniques deliver to you the most precise results of what you are looking for
So yes, you have now collected hell a lot of data from different sources, paid and free. But how comprehensible is the information you have in hand? How are you going to use this information to strategize your marketing investments? This is where web analytics tools come to play a key role. These tools optimize web traffic and campaign ROI. The top 5 web analytics tools in the market are
Expert research organizations and market reports talk a lot about the latest trends and market dynamics of online customers. Paid reports from Gartner, AC Nielson, Frost and Sullivan have proved to be a good place to start with for predicting market trends.
To conclude, the World Wide Web offers numerous tools and platforms that allow marketers to conduct good quality research and analysis of their online customers and more often for free. Marketers and business owners need to take the time out to choose the most innovative ways to target customers and they are sure to find a chest full of useful resources and data.
Other Featured Articles : How to Create “High-Impact” Content for Your Business Blog
The rise of social conversations and blogging has fueled an arcane ocean of personal opinions in form of: ratings, recommendations, reviews and other form of online expression. For marketers there is clearly a shift in the fast-mounting trend of social data that needs to be comprehended to understand the collective consciousness of online users.
This past year, following are some interesting facts and findings on Social Media that can help your company to tweak its mainstream marketing efforts –
• Social Media is here to Stay: Marketers place a significant value, as much as 86% of them reveal that social media is important for them. This is an up from 83% from the past year.
• Companies Still Struggle Translating the Vagaries of Human Emotion to Hard Data: Interestingly, for a number of businesses, online opinion has turned into a virtual kind of online currency that has the ability to either make or break a product in the marketplace. The market for sentiment tools that could help companies track customer perceptions, their effects and means to respond them with appropriate marketing and public relation strategies are growing in demand. Some lightweight tools for casual surfers include Tweetfeel, Twendz, and Twitrratr. Others, who use more sophisticated algorithms include Jodange and Newssift.
• You Tube is now a lifestyle choice with over a Billion visitors per Month: A significant percentage of marketers (69%) plan on increasing their use of YouTube, marking it a top area of investment in 2014-15. It also hosts nearly 15 billion videos (comscore)
• Blogging is a Must : Most marketers want to learn blogging or seek help from content development companies to help them create an online presence. While about 58% are already blogging, 62% want to learn more about how to blog or various blogging platforms, and plan to increase their content writing activities in 2014.
• Google plus is a daily destination for Consumers: 75% of brands have a presence on Google plus.
• Podcasting is set to reach a new high in 2014: While podcasting is a very cheap way to advertise in groups of people sharing very specific interests, only 5% of marketers are yes involved with podcasting. However, with its potential, these activities are looking up to rise five-fold.
• Facebook has over 1.25 billion active monthly users: making it the most important social network for marketers.
• LinkedIn and Twitter: are the two other most important social sites after Facebook with over 226 million users and 500 million accounts respectively.
• Increased Presence is the top outcome of SMM efforts: A significant number of marketers have stated that increased exposure and presence is the number one outcome of their Social Media Marketing efforts.
What is your count on the most important social marketing platform ?