Started a Blog For Your Small Business? Here’s How to Get More Readers

Started a Blog For Your Small Business? Here’s How to Get More Readers Featured Image

People will likely only find your blog by accident in its early days. To really draw visitors to your blog, you need to determine who your audience is, how they’ll find your blog, and what you want them to do afterward.

Think back to the days when you first launched your business. You identified your target customer and found ways to sell your product. You advertised, offered promotions, and did whatever it took to showcase your business.

Launching a small business blog requires a similar mindset. You start by looking for a target audience, persuading your audience to read your content, and doing what it takes to transform readers into customers. Most small business blogs don’t launch to an enthusiastic and waiting audience, but building a blog audience has its rewards:

  • Businesses that blog earn 97 percent more inbound links to their websites.
  • Small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads.
  • Blogs are the third most influential source of online information for shaping consumer opinion.
  • 61 percent of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
  • 81 percent of businesses consider blogs an important asset to their business.

You’d never open a storefront, cross your fingers, and hope customers would find you. In the same way, it’s not rational to write blog posts, publish them, and expect people to magically find your work. Identify potential readers, decide what you want them to do, and figure out where to find them. If you’re persistent, your business blog will attract links and shares, and it will start to perform better in Google’s search results.

Who Are Your Target Customers?

As a small business owner, you’ve probably established what marketers call a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a profile of your typical customer including both demographic and psychographic qualities.

  • Demographic: measurable characteristics like your typical customer’s age, gender, location, occupation, job title, income, and more.
  • Psychographic: ways the typical customer aspires to feel after purchasing your product, such as safe, smart, generous, beautiful, or innovative.

Most businesses have two or three core buyer personas, and those personas form your core target audience. But don’t stop there; think about not only who writes the check but also who influences the buying decision. For example, your core customer might be male, but his wife might make final purchasing decisions. If you own a B2B company, remember an employee or mid-level manager might identify your product as a problem-solver and recommend it to his or her boss.

What Do They Want to Read?

The customers who visit your business arrive looking for information or products. In many cases, their frequently asked questions turn into excellent blog post ideas.

At the same time, remember the Web is full of generic, basic how-to content, and your small business blog can’t compete with it. To make your blog more relevant and more competitive, create highly localized content or content showcasing your unique expertise. Take a look at these examples of how to improve a generic blog post idea:

A Blog for a Construction Contractor

From Generic Blog Post… …to Unique Blog Posts
How to choose the right material for your roof ·         The best roofing materials for your local climate

·         Mistakes your customers have made when choosing roofing materials

·         New kinds of roofing you’re thinking of offering to your customers

·         Your company’s top 10 most beautiful roofing jobs (with photos)

 

A Blog for a Local Home Health Agency

From Generic Blog Post… …to Unique Blog Posts
How to choose a home health agency ·         A series of blog posts profiling your best employees

·         Success stories from the families you serve

·         How you’re incorporating technology into patient care

·         What your workers wish patients and their families knew

 

A Blog for a Local Personal Injury Law Firm

From Generic Blog Post… …to Unique Blog Posts
What to do if you’re in a car accident ·         Accident and personal injury statistics for your city or state

·         Ask the lawyer: blog posts based on questions submitted by current or potential clients

·         Highway safety issues within your geographic area

·         Local initiatives to improve driver safety, such as new laws designed to improve teen driver safety

 

What Should Your Audience Do After Reading Your Posts?

Your blog should do more than inform. It should persuade readers to take action. Here’s a list of some potential goals small business owners have for their blog posts:

  • Sign up for an email list. Readers add their name to an email list, and you can send them newsletters and coupons.
  • Download a content asset. Your readers download an e-book, buying guide, or more.
  • Watch a video. You post a video, and your readers gain access after filling out a Web form.
  • Subscribe to your blog. Readers get an email message every time you publish a new post.
  • Follow you on social media and share your posts. Your readers become part of your community by following you on social networks and sharing your blog posts.
  • Enter a contest. Your audience members enter a contest you’ve created in exchange for their contact information.
  • Use a promotional code. You share an exclusive promotion with blog readers, which they can redeem in-store or on your website.
  • Buy your product or service. Readers see your products and purchase them.

Build your blog posts in a way that leads readers to take a desired action. Your blog becomes more than some random posts you’ve published; it begins to build real business value.

How Will Your Audience Find Your Posts?

In its early stages, customers probably won’t stumble across your blog online. You’ll have to generate demand for your posts within your target audience. If you haven’t joined any social networks, start with the channels most visited by your target audience. Then, make a habit of consistently sharing your posts and asking your followers to share them as well.

If you already have an email marketing list, share your blog posts with your email list. Using a free email marketing service like MailChimp, you can easily create newsletters and share links to your blog posts within your newsletters. If you own a store, hand out bag stuffers at the cash register with your blog’s URL and have cashiers ask people to subscribe.

A successful small business blog becomes a powerful marketing tool, but you have to do the work of building an audience. “If you build it, they will come” might work in the movies, but it won’t work for your blog.

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