How To Use A Blog To Market Your Local Business

Most business owners don’t understand the power of implementing (by the way, I hate that word) a blogging platform into their marketing mix. Having a blog is a power way to promote a line of products and services more effectively. If you’re a journalist, writer or publisher – I’m preaching to the choir. If not, listen closely.

Blogs can be a critical component of any successful marketing plan. Blogging helps you to keep your customers updated about the latest specials, offers and buying incentives your company or small business is offering. They enable you to easily connect with customers, conduct surveys and do various kinds of market research – all from one simple platform.

When it comes to SEO, blogs really shine – outclassing the traditional website model more often than not. They provide an “out of the box solution” in more ways than one in the increasingly complex world of online marketing.

Still, like anything else, the tools themselves won’t get the job done without the proper strategy behind them. While blogs can generate traffic and help get your message out to the masses, you have to make sure you have the kind of message that’s able to “seal the deal.”

How do you do that?

MAKE AN OFFER THEY CAN’T REFURSE

In some circles, marketing has become a game of smoke and mirrors. People have been burned so many times by lousy products and poor service; it takes a lot more than it used to win the loyalty of new customers or clients.

One of the ways to do this is by making people an offer they can’t refuse.

A dentist I know does this by offering the first visit for free to all of his new patients. He includes everything for free, including the X-Rays and cleaning.

This is called RISK REVERSAL.

The business takes the risk and the person has nothing to lose. If you’re phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook and your cash register is quiet – consider creating a risk reversal offer and putting it on your blog.

WORD OF MOUTH ADVERTISING

Word of mouth advertising works. It one of the most powerful forms of advertising there is. This method can be used in conjunction with the “offer they can’t refuse. Add the two to your blog, as one of my friends did, and you can generate a fast blast of cash flow. Here’s how it works –

  1. Create an offer
  2. Publish it on your blog
  3. eMail your friends and associates and ask them to pass along the information to their friends and associates.
  4. Make it easy for them. Write out in QUOTES – exactly what you want them to say to their friends, associates, etc. Your friends are busy, so help them help you.
  5. Provide them with a link to your blog page.

For example, if I owned a restaurant and business was dangerously slow (off-season, etc.), I would email my closest friends and associates and say –

“Hi, _____. I’m really looking to bring in some new business over the next few weeks, so I’m putting together a special (event, package, offer, etc.). Here’s the info. If you could share this link/text/photo, etc. with a half-dozen people, it could help me tremendouslyJ. Thank you, _______. I really appreciate your help.”

That’s just an example using my personal lingo to illustrate the point. You’d basically say the same thing using your own words.

If people don’t respond to your sales offer – change the offer, add a bonus, modify the sales copy, etc.

DON’T BE – “JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE”

Be memorable. How do you do that? Don’t be “just like everyone else.” That goes for your business, too. Blend in and you’re invisible to the masses. Sometimes being memorable is as easy as being personable in a profession where most people are the exact opposite. It can be as easy as being honest and up front with people because – most people aren’t.

The layout of your store could be unique. Different. Your package design or displays could be humorous or off-the-wall. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

LEARN TO WRITE COPY THAT SELLS… OR NOT

A long time ago I was taught – words sell. Whether you’re talking about text, audio or video, words sell. Graphics may get people’s attention, but words close the deal. When I finally digested this fact for myself, I decided to learn how to write copy for my own company. You need to do the same for your own business. If you don’t want to learn and discover you really suck at writing copy, hire someone to do it for you.

Once your sales copy is ready to go, add it to your blog. There are a lot of ways and places to do this. Experiment and track the results. Then…

TEST, TEST, TEST!

I’m assuming you have a good product people want. Some people have a good product in a bad location. In that case, the bad location often supersedes the great deal or great sales copy. All things being equal, you have to test everything you do. I’m talking about offers, price points, sales copy, etc.

The biggest companies in the world and the most successful small businesses in the world all have the same thing in common. They test until they develop the product/service their market wants at the price point that brings in the sales they’re looking for.

DO ALL THE ABOVE ON YOUR OWN BUSINESS BLOGGING SITE

Businesses of all sizes throughout the world are now using blogs to connect with their customers. That, in a nutshell, is what effective marketing is all about. It’s about connecting with people. A blog provides you with the perfect platform to make that connection.

I’ve been using blogs for years now and my company continues to build blogging sites of all shapes and sizes for businesses of all shapes and sizes. That includes online magazines, too.

For me, blogging is an enjoyable part of everyday life. I’ve used this site and others to connect with people from around the world.

This doesn’t mean new business will fall into your lap like ripe cherries off the tree just because you have a blog. Like everything, you get out of it exactly what you put into it. I also invest time communicating with people via email, social media and other simple methods. When the effectiveness of one method begins to wane, I change or tweak it.

Here are a few of the butt-kicking, name-taking, business building blogging sites I’ve built over the past years.

http://mainstreetwebhosting.com (This site was created to market webhosting services)
https://jimgaliano.com (I created this site to put a “face” to Gulf Coast Internet Publishing)
http://mynationalpublicity.com (Getting a message to the national media has never been easier)
http://worldresponders.com (This was my original bulk email service)
http://onlinementormagazine.com (Teaching people how to do business – online)
http://cemeteryplotsforsale.net (One of the largest cemetery plot directories in the world. Uses a simple design I’ve been meaning to change for ages but never get around to.)

 

Jim Galiano

Jim Galiano is an online consultant and author who began doing business online in 1998. His consulting, marketing and publicity services are focused in the area's of SEO and website publicity. Jim has been interviewed by variety of media sources including the Wall Street Journal and CBS News in New York.

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15 thoughts on “How To Use A Blog To Market Your Local Business

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