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The ROI of Business Blogging

In the last post in this series I explained my preferred approach to business blogs. Let’s take a look at why you would bother creating a business blog. What benefits can you acquire by blogging?

As you would expect, I am a firm believer in the benefits of blogging for business, but I do know that blogs are hard work and that puts a lot of businesses off or leads them to have a half-hearted approach.

Business blogs are amongst the toughest type of sites to do well. I can’t name a single blogger who does the whole thing perfectly, but that’s fine because you don’t need to be perfect to gain most of the benefits.

Before taking on a tactic, any business needs to know what the Return on Investment (ROI) will be. There are three areas where blogs provide a return. Attraction, Stickiness and Conversion.

Each business will put a different dollar value to these benefits but they are the main results.

Attraction Advantages of Blogs

Blogs, when done well, attract. They attract visitors, links and attention. Which business does not want more attention? What would better search engine rankings mean to your business?

They attract through …

  • Traffic – Search engine traffic, social media traffic and repeat visits
  • Targeted Visits – Each post when topically focused will gain targeted visitors and search engines love focused articles
  • Easy SEO – You do not need to be an expert with SEO, blogs are pretty well optimized out of the box, even better with free plugins
  • Build Links – Write something useful or interesting and gain links from the blogosphere and Linkerati
  • Internal linking – related, categories, tags
  • Long tail searches – Over time you can build up some nice long tail traffic from posting regularly and attracting comments

Sticky Advantages of Blogs

Right from the beginning, website owners have recognized the value of repeat visits. Blogs are ideally suited to a business that wants to build a conversation with their customers without the increased effort of a forum. Also the advantage of being able to ask questions and get answers should not be overlooked. Community does not appear instantly but should be worked towards over time.

  • Comments – Comments bring back the commenter and also other readers to see what is being said.
  • Polls, Surveys, Voting – Interaction leads to interaction, they create engagement and interest
  • Series – Leave an article on a cliffhanger or promise more information in a future entry
  • Related posts, categories, tags – Go from one page view per visit to multiple pages with a trail of interesting content
  • Popular posts – If you put your best stuff where it can be seen people will arrive through one post then see what a great resource your blog really is
  • Subscriptions – There are multiple ways to keep updated with a blog, from RSS to Twitter. Let readers subscribe how they want and they will
  • Regular Content – Just like the newspaper, people are more likely to come back when they anticipate seeing something worthwhile. Scheduled articles create momentum.
  • Events – Create an event through Podcasts, Videos, Giveaways, Competitions, Memes, Projects, Carnivals

Conversion Advantages of Blogs

When I say that blogs help convert customers, people get confused and think I mean that blogs are better sales  pages. That’s not a blogs strength, they are more for the pre-sell, making the actual sale more likely.

  • They build trust through repeated exposure and proven value over time
  • Are read via “pull” rather than “push”, so you don’t feel a hard sell.
  • You view on your own schedule and terms, consuming the information at your own pace
  • Choice of media and length of relationship means more branding opportunities, written, visual, audio, interaction
  • Build reputation on blog and off. Provide consistent on-blog experience plus references and testimonials off blog via links and quotes.

You still need your sales pages, blogs do not replace your existing conversion strategies, but strengthen them.

How to Create More Sales Through Your Blog

The sales approach is quite simple and fits into existing sales models. Think of what a good sales person does.

  • Attract attention
  • Identify a need
  • Tell a story, evoke interest
  • Describe and explain benefits
  • Prospect imagines owning product, acquiring those benefits
  • Desire builds
  • Trust is established
  • Offer is made
  • Action taken

Now think of how you can do all of this using a blog.

  1. Attract targeted visitors who have a problem you can solve.
  2. Inform, advise, discuss.
  3. Positive experience over time builds trust.
  4. Visitor explores your offers and hopefully becomes a customer.

It’s up to you how strongly you put your offers before your visitors. You can see I am hardly in the “hard sell” category myself but there is no reason, providing you have established the trust and obvious value already, that you can’t be stronger in making offers and more targeted.

In the next post we will look at how you can gain all these benefits without having to spend all your time blogging rather than on your business.

»crosslinked«

Table of contents for Business Blogs

  1. Attracting, Retaining and Converting Prospects With Blogs
  2. The ROI of Business Blogging
  3. How to Get Maximum Bang for your Blog
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Comments

  1. This is a great series I’ve just discovered, Chris. Thanks!

    (twitter.com/marketingprofs)

  2. This is a great series I’ve just discovered, Chris. Thanks!

    (twitter.com/marketingprofs)

  3. Hm, good one, Chris. A very nice summary of “should dos” that have good ROI. Now if I can just find the time to make each of them happen, I should be golden!

  4. Hm, good one, Chris. A very nice summary of “should dos” that have good ROI. Now if I can just find the time to make each of them happen, I should be golden!

  5. Chris I would first like to say this was a very good and informative post.

    But more importantly I would like to say that your blog is really put together and presented in a very attractive way. I think that has a lot to do with why I come back over and over again.

    Without good content that I feel is beneficial to me then it wouldn’t matter. But the truth is there are quite a few blogs out there that talk about blogging and they also have good content. I am beginning to realize that the way the blog looks, the way it is constructed, the eye appeal of the blog is very important. More important then I realized.

    And on this front you get an A+

    The Masked Millionaire

  6. Chris I would first like to say this was a very good and informative post.

    But more importantly I would like to say that your blog is really put together and presented in a very attractive way. I think that has a lot to do with why I come back over and over again.

    Without good content that I feel is beneficial to me then it wouldn’t matter. But the truth is there are quite a few blogs out there that talk about blogging and they also have good content. I am beginning to realize that the way the blog looks, the way it is constructed, the eye appeal of the blog is very important. More important then I realized.

    And on this front you get an A+

    The Masked Millionaire

  7. When I’m asked about the ROI on blogging, I refer to phones, electricity and cars for comparison.

    While there are some revenue streams or even overall sales growth that will be enhanced with a blog, it’s more likely to be seen in hind site as “how did we ever get by without this”

  8. When I’m asked about the ROI on blogging, I refer to phones, electricity and cars for comparison.

    While there are some revenue streams or even overall sales growth that will be enhanced with a blog, it’s more likely to be seen in hind site as “how did we ever get by without this”

  9. Ellen Wilson says:

    Chris,

    Followed the meme link in this post and discovered that you realized you are a teacher. From one teacher to another – You’re Great! Masked Millionaire said it all above.

    Since you will be in my neck of the woods soon, I thought I would share some travel tips with you.

    Travel Tips Courtesy of Ellen:
    1. Michigan’s side of the lake is much better than what you find in Illinois or Wisconsin.
    2. Take a drive down Lake Shore Blvd and check out all the fancy houses in Evanston. It’s a really beautiful drive.
    3. Taxi drivers drive like maniacs in Chicago.

  10. Chris,

    Followed the meme link in this post and discovered that you realized you are a teacher. From one teacher to another – You’re Great! Masked Millionaire said it all above.

    Since you will be in my neck of the woods soon, I thought I would share some travel tips with you.

    Travel Tips Courtesy of Ellen:
    1. Michigan’s side of the lake is much better than what you find in Illinois or Wisconsin.
    2. Take a drive down Lake Shore Blvd and check out all the fancy houses in Evanston. It’s a really beautiful drive.
    3. Taxi drivers drive like maniacs in Chicago.

  11. Thanks Chris for the helpful advice. We’re getting a business blog started and hoping to build up momentum. And ultimately, I’ve learned, is that content is king. And how-tos are probably the way to get people diligently listening in.

  12. Thanks Chris for the helpful advice. We’re getting a business blog started and hoping to build up momentum. And ultimately, I’ve learned, is that content is king. And how-tos are probably the way to get people diligently listening in.

  13. Wow, you’re the only other person other than myself who has said that customers are going to imagine themselves having the benefits of the products or services blogged about. I think that’s absolutely key to “selling without selling” (as I’ve written about before). By presenting what are essentially customer success stories, you don’t need to do the hard sell.

    The big long range goal with business blogs is to strengthen existing relationships with customers, because that’s what is going to be extremely attractive to new customers, and that’s how a business blog helps you get more business.

  14. Wow, you’re the only other person other than myself who has said that customers are going to imagine themselves having the benefits of the products or services blogged about. I think that’s absolutely key to “selling without selling” (as I’ve written about before). By presenting what are essentially customer success stories, you don’t need to do the hard sell.

    The big long range goal with business blogs is to strengthen existing relationships with customers, because that’s what is going to be extremely attractive to new customers, and that’s how a business blog helps you get more business.

  15. Yep, this is another keeper. 🙂

    Thanks for making this readable
    at a glance
    with alot of meat

  16. Yep, this is another keeper. 🙂

    Thanks for making this readable
    at a glance
    with alot of meat

  17. @Ann – Thanks for saying so 🙂

    @James – Time is often the challenge 🙂

    @The Masked Millionaire – People usually take more notice of the smart dressed blog, despite our best intentions we often judge the cover first

    @Warren – Indeed, more and more this sort of connection with customers is becoming the minimum requirement rather than a competitive tactic

    @Ellen – I often get frightened by taxi drivers, I guess I will have to adopt the safety position yet again 😉

    @Richly – It isn’t always how-tos but content that people connect with and feel like they are gaining value. Time is precious so best for people to think they have spent it well.

    @Michael – I look forward to chatting more at SOBCon 🙂

    @Tap – I try, thanks for the compliment 🙂

  18. @Ann – Thanks for saying so 🙂

    @James – Time is often the challenge 🙂

    @The Masked Millionaire – People usually take more notice of the smart dressed blog, despite our best intentions we often judge the cover first

    @Warren – Indeed, more and more this sort of connection with customers is becoming the minimum requirement rather than a competitive tactic

    @Ellen – I often get frightened by taxi drivers, I guess I will have to adopt the safety position yet again 😉

    @Richly – It isn’t always how-tos but content that people connect with and feel like they are gaining value. Time is precious so best for people to think they have spent it well.

    @Michael – I look forward to chatting more at SOBCon 🙂

    @Tap – I try, thanks for the compliment 🙂

  19. I believe your Attraction, Stickiness & Conversion model could take over the 4 P’s of Marketing.
    Way to go!
    -jen

  20. I believe your Attraction, Stickiness & Conversion model could take over the 4 P’s of Marketing.
    Way to go!
    -jen