Most Performancing readers read this site to get hints, tips and tools to help their own blog. But one of our goals is to expand the way we think about blogging and how to use blogs
In this piece, I’m going to discuss how you can effectively use your blog as a tool to promote your business. The target audience I have in mind is the online retailer who’s either just started or is struggling to build a customer base. As we all know, it’s no longer sufficient to just build an online retail store, sit back, and expect customers to flood in. You’ve got to bring customers in.
That’s where a blog can come in handy. By setting up a blog on your retail website, you can achieve three main strategic goals:
1. Search Engine Candy
Many retailers that I’ve worked with don’t like the idea of putting paragraphs of descriptive material on product pages. Instead, they like to keep descriptions to one or two sentences. But one or two sentences really isn’t sufficient to pwn the serps. A blog provides the context to be more verbose and to provide a detailed, conversational description of your products (you can even throw in a little salesmanship).
Wondering what to write in your blog? Well, for starters, why not go through your entire inventory of products (maybe one per day) and discuss them on your blog. Aim for 2-5 paragraphs. Make sure to keep keywords and phrases in mind and throw them into each paragraph of your blog entry.
Just remember… when using a blog for your retail shop, the goal is to get products sales. With each blog post you should liberally link into product pages where the customer can quickly make a purchase. By doing this, you can also utilize your blog to naturally build deep links into your site.
2. Establish Your Expertise
A blog allows your business to establish confidence in the eyes of the consumer. Show the consumer that you know what you’re talking about and they’re more likely to trust you and buy product from you. A blog allows you to quickly and easily write authoritative articles in your business niche. Aim to write one authoritative article per week and within six months you’ll find a growing base of dedicated customers.
Writing authoritative articles pays secondary dividends. You might get free exposure from other sites in your niche. You’ll definitely build deep links into your site. Just make sure to submit each of your expert articles to, at minimum, reddit, netscape and digg.
3. Communicate With Your Customers
A blog provides the perfect opportunity to make company announcements, to promote new products, or to make limited time sales offers. While a blog does not replace the effectiveness of direct email marketing, it can certainly supplement and enhance the system. Anyone who has done direct email marketing knows that roughly 5-10% bounced emails is quite normal, not the exception. Chances are that some of those 5-10% will stop by your website and see your company announcements at your blog, when they may have otherwise been oblvious.
Ok. So I’ve given you some basic ideas here. But if you’re like me, reading alone doesn’t do it for you…you like to see things in action. Well, the good news is that for about a month I’ve been employing many of these tactics in a live web promotion campaign. In April, I and a few others started a web promotion campaign for a watch company in England. We’ve been using the methodology that I discuss in this article as the primary method to increase traffic and customers for their new online retail stores. You can see almost all of the things discussed in this article at one of blogs that we setup for their Watch Tool website: http://www.watchtool.co.uk/blog/.
After you take a look at some of the things we’re doing at that site, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about effectiveness, etc. For starters, I can happily report that within one month we’ve seen more than a 100% increase in site traffic.
Ryan, that site is a great example. I like the deep link nature of the links. Also having the blog would be great for any sales or special new releases. By combining SEO terms on the blog and the sales website it could help the SERP for the main site.
My blog is not currently monetised – I am happy writing solely for pleasure at the moment. I do however, pop in the odd mention of my main site from time to time. It’s only fair I get something in return for my efforts!
– Martin Reed
Yeah, some of the folks on my list of bloggers salaries use their blogs as a means of promoting their main business.
Like Steve Pavlina’s wife, who gets money for her readings by using her blog.