Many businesses are trying to figure out whether they need to integrate blogging into their marketing plans. What will be the ROI from blogging? Will customers be more inclined to buy because you have a blog? These are just some of the questions being tossed around by intrigued marketers.
In this session, Mack Collier of The Viral Garden
touches on blogging as a component of a greater marketing scheme for your small business including engaging content, customer feedback, and sales tools. Mack also offers tips and tricks in building your blog and your audience.
Mack provides some stats 2007 50% of U.S. Internet population is reading
blogs on regular basis. Millenials (55%) and Generation Xers (42%) high
percentage of them already reading blogs. This same group has highest percentage
of people that are actually blogging themselves. Essentially, blogging is
growing at astounding rate. By 2012, there will be 33% increase in blog
What is a blog? A toll that allows you to quickly publish content and one
which people can interact with (comments). With those two characteristics
together, you can build awareness, using to establish expertise, better
communicate with customers and crisis management.
In building awareness, blogs are search engine friendly so cn help improve
visibility in organic results. There is also the linking factor - blogs linking
to each other. You are also able to create a conversation around business
instead of simply reacting to what others are saying.
Mack shows a case study where Graco decided to start a corporate blog.
They decided to position their blog as "by parents, for parents." After 18
months, total online mentions of the company almost doubled. Prior to blog's
launch, 68% of all mentions were positive. Now it's 83%!
In establishing your expertise, a blog allows you to create a collection
of knowledgeable content. This can set you apart from a competitor who is not
blogging. Referencing companies sends a strong signal that you are comfortable
with your place in the industry.
In improving communication, blogs give customers another way of contacting
and interacting with you. You are able to collect feedback relatively easy. You
are not only able to talk to your customers but you are able to allow a
conversation to go on with regards to a particular subject matter, oftentimes
related to your business.
Running polls as blog posts are an excellent way to gather feedback from
Regarding crisis management, a blog allows you to get information out very
quickly. You are able to tell "your side of the story." Quickly communicating in
this manner instills confidence. Mack provides example of SiteMeter's problems
about a week ago. After not being able to log in to the service, he used Twitter
to see if people were talking about the company. They were. They had implemented
a new site design which people hated. And they were talking about it. When Mack
was eventually able to log in, they had rolled back to the older design. They
then used their blog to apologize and said they'd gain user's feedback in the
future before implementing such drastic changes. He also referred to Dell's
incident a couple of years ago referred to as "Dell Hell."
Blogs connect people. The social aspects of a blog allow so much more
interaction than stales sales copy on web pages or articles.
Mack shows case study of how Tim Jackson (Masi Guy), a brand manager for
Masi bicycles uses blogs to manage his brand and elevate his business. Not only
does he talk about business but he talks about his personal life which allows
people to connect with him on a personal level. He is seen as not only an expert
in the community but seen as relevant to his community. Since he started
blogging as Masi Guy, Masi has seen 400% growth.
Reasons why businesses should start blogging include the fact that
readership will grow by 33% by 2012. Blogging is also an inexpensive way to
connect with customers and grow awareness for a brand. You will also become
viewed as an expert, especially when compared to competitors who are not
Mack finishes early and opens it up for questions. I will try to capture
some of that here.
Q: How do you combat blog comment spam?
A: Askimet was one suggestion. Mack suggested that you search for comment
Q: Where do you place your blog (i.e. sub-domain, folder under main
domain, separate, etc.)?
A: Mack says its really preference. Audience was split on whether
sub-domain or folder is best for search engines. I suggested folder if you
really want to make your main site an authority site. A sub-domain will look
like a separate site to a search engine. Having blog located in folder under
main domain will help make a brochure and/or e-commerce site become more of an
authority site in the eyes of a search engine.
Note: These are raw notes taken while live-blogging sessions at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed
conference in Columbus, Ohio. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors.
September 22, 2008
David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as GoGuides.org, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.