Blogs as an online promotional strategy if done right could save you huge dollars in reaching out to people. This is also a medium where you need have absolutely no dependence whatsoever on any professional help and you can do everything yourself. That is money saved right from the beginning.
So what is a blog and how does it work? Blog is simply a web log or a diary which you maintain online posting various comments every day or even several times a day. In all aspects it is like a web page. With small differences. No more the fancy html pages, page links, graphics etc.
While you can have all these, the purpose is not show design excellence but to provide juicy information, news, and happenings from your specific industry. Each posting is like a web page technically atleast as the the Search Engines looks at it as a separate page. We will see more on search engines later. The posts also carry links to other similar pages where you can direct people who visit your blog. Your visitors too can post comments and you have the option of editing it or even deleting it.
How does one use a blog as an online promotional tool?
You are a specialist in the area of your business. You also have people working for you with specialized domain knowledge of that particular area. You make hundreds of observations during the course of a week, you come across useful news and articles, websites, all which if collected in one place could act as the source of information for your customers, your public and even the trade and competition.
All you need to do is write a couple of lines in a conversational tone as if you are speaking to someone close about what you feel and think about anything you come across and provide the links for more details.
There you got a web page rich in key words! Key words to put it simply are a lot of specific words about your trade which is how the search engines find you and list you.
Blogs offer features like linking, pinging, RSS feeds etc. which are very simple features about which you can learn as you build your blog. However the idea is not to get technical. Remember we are here to talk about promotional strategies that could save you money and explode your sales.
Blogs are a comparatively recent phenomenon. There are an estimated 5 million blogs growing by the thousands every hour. Don???t despair. 5 million is nothing compared to billions of web pages and website available on the www. You are still far ahead of your competition. And in your area of business or profession you may be the first. That means you just occupy the top slot in search engines.
So get in right away and post all the rants, ravings and all that you ever wanted to say but couldn???t.
How does a blog help you earn revenues or improve your sales?
Now let us say you have set up your blog. Ask yourself as a person of the trade or as a customer what all you would like to know everyday. Whatever is your answer is what you post every day. You also come across news or websites which you think might be useful to your customers. Simply make a mention of it with a link to the news or website. The idea is to make people come to your blogs every day seeking information. So you become famous as a specialist in that area. All your visitor are in a way interacting with you everyday and begin to accept your words and your recommendations if they see the benefits. But be sure to be very honest and transparent. It is like your personal or social relationships where any dishonesty would make people shy away from you.
You can always put in a few posts about your work, your employee who got a promotion or birth of a daughter or anything which also makes it a little warm and personal. You can post about your launches, your predictions, products which are running out, and even promote products not moving well but you feel can benefit the customer.
What you blog can reach millions globally within hours. As an illustration take the example of the recent Tsunami which hit parts of Asia. I am from the southern part of India which is one of the worst affected areas. While the conventional media was struggling to reach their reporters all over within the hour bloggers flashed the news including the details of the people lost and found, mobilized resources for the affected and the world wide web was abuzz with all the bloggers picking up and linking and connecting everything and everyone. This is an illustration of a social cause for which blog was put to good use.
Similarly there have been many instances when business news have been picked up by the industry and consumers through the RSS feeds.
The possibilities of using a blog is endless. The key to building a successful blog is listed below.
Remember to be focused on a topic that relates to your area of work.
Your entries must be in a conversational tone speaking directly to them as if you are sitting across with a friend in a restaurant or playing golf to add personalization to your marketing effort.
Post entries or comments which would benefit people.
Post as often or frequently and keep the blog updated.
Encourage visitor participation. Ask for comments and feedbacks.
Create a huge web of outside resources and other similar blogs to help you achieve both outgoing as well as incoming links to enhance search engine popularity. This also shows your customers that you are widely knowledgeable and clued in on your field of expertise.
While it may be a good idea to post a few photographs to break the monotony keep the blog simple and straight without too many graphics and photos.
Content is the key to making your blog successful and encourage repeat visits. In the beginning you may not have many visitors but as the content improves there would be a lot of traffic as well as inbound links.
This is truly a gorilla marketing tool that can make a huge difference to your total marketing efforts.
R.G. Srinivasan is a Certified Trainer, Writer and author of eBooks with more than two decades of managerial experience. He is featured as an expert author by leading content syndication sites. You can view his home-business resources blog at http://www.home-businessresources.blogspot.com for online marketing tips, resources, opportunities and online promotional strategies.