"Dialogue Creates Community" by Sandy Penny
It has long been known in the marketing community that keeping in touch with current and potential clients is the path to future and multiple sales to loyal customers who appreciate the time, effort and thought you give them.
I began blogging before it was even called blogging. I have offered an email and online newsletter since I built my first online business. That business helped companies target, concept, create, write, template and maintain customer, vendor and employee newsletters (formerly Penny Pincher Newsletters). So, I have the experience that will help you use your blog to build a better business that will generate more sales.
Blogging Tools: I recommend using Blogger.com (a Google owned site) for your blog because it's free, offers many sophisticated business building tools, you can monetize it, and it's easy to learn. I'm a big fan of easy and free. They also upgrade regularly to keep up with changes that users request, and they're not likely to disappear anytime soon. That can be a problem with web/blog companies.
Serving Your Clients: In this age of information overwhelm, customers want to be able to rely on trusted vendors to keep them abreast of industry changes, innovations, inventions, new products and services and interesting news that targets their needs. You can do this for your clients with a blog or online newsletter.
Commitment: The thing about a blog is that it takes a commitment, once you launch it, to continue providing information on a regular basis. If you fall down on that commitment, you will waste the time investment you made when you built it because it will be like starting all over again. People get in the habit of receiving information to which they have subscribed, and if it doesn't come for a while, they quit paying attention to it. Attention spans are short on the web, and readers are fickle. It might also land in their spam folder. Be sure you're ready to commit.
Frequency: It's better to provide a small amount of information on a more frequent basis than to provide a lot of information on a less frequent basis. You'll keep your name in front of your clients, and online readers like instant gratification. They don't want to have to search through a bunch of extraneous material to find what they signed up for. The popular trend right now is to make readers wade through multiple sales pitches before giving them what they want. I personally feel that's a bad idea, and in the long run, people will tire of that strategy and choose vendors who provide easy to navigate sites with readily available professional information on their topics of interest.
Focus: Your client will be viewing your website or blog with the question, "What's in it for me?" foremost in their mind, so you should always anticipate, ask and answer questions for them. What's in it for my client? What void can I fill? What question can I answer? How can I make my client's life easier? What benefit does my client get from using me? Why should my client spend time reading the information I'm posting?
Write your blog and website from this perspective and you'll inspire clients to stay on your site longer and come back more often when they have a question you may be able to answer. And, ask for feedback and suggestions, and then use that information to improve your blog or website. You client will feel heard and appreciated.
The biggest challenge on the internet is to distinguish yourself from the world wide herd and identify yourself as someone who truly wants to meet a client's needs by sharing your strengths, products and services. You're a valuable expert to those who know less than you. Be the little red schoolhouse and teach them what you know as you stay ahead of the curve and continue to be the one they look to for help in navigating this gigantic, confusing marketplace. They'll thank you with their business and dollars.
Until next time: keep talking, dialogue builds community.
Oh, and by the way, is there any subject you'd particularly like me to discuss, any questions you'd like answered about online business, website building, blogging or marketing? I'd love to hear from you.
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