Trust me, I understand. I don’t have the time, either. Running my small business takes a full day, every day, just like yours does. But if you rely on sales or leads from the web, from search engines, from people searching for local businesses, you need a blog on your website.
SEO has changed over the years from a more technical, keyword-density-laden, meta tag-driven industry to a content-driven industry. These days, search engines are smarter and know how to pick apart web pages to discover what they are truly about, based on the content within the page, not the hidden tags behind the scenes. And search engines get bored pretty easily. When they crawl your site, they want to find new pages to consume, new content to add to their index.
If the search engines don’t find anything new on your site, but do find new content on the sites of your competitors, guess whose sites are going to get reindexed and shuffled around? If those other websites’ content is new, relevant, and matches queries that the search engines get regularly, it is your competitors who rise in the rankings, and your site that will disappear from view.
There is no doubt that content is king on the web these days. What with all the click bait and fake news, people will willingly consume just about anything. But when it comes to your business, you want the right people to consume your content at the right time… because it is exactly what they need at that time. The only way to make that happen is to create that content and publish it on your small business website. Then promote it.
Let me break that down a little bit. You are the expert at what you do, right? You know everything about your small business. People search on the web for small businesses like yours all day, every day. They need a plumber in Novato. They want to know who a highly recommended roofer is in Sonoma. They want to learn about the possibility that their recalled Zinsco electrical panel may catch on fire at some point.
See that last one? That is the goal. For the first two - the plumber and the roofer, there is a good chance they will search Yelp, Angie’s List, or ask friends on Facebook for a recommendation, and that is another blog post entirely. But wanting to know about the chances of an electrical panel fire for their specific panel? They aren’t looking for a recommendation at this time, they are looking for information. If you are an electrician in that person’s area, you are potentially getting a click and a phone call if you have a post on your blog about recalled Zinsco electrical panels and their fire danger.
How does this work? How does that lead to a sale? Imagine if you will, I own a small residential electrical installation and repair business. I blog twice a week about situations I encounter on the job. Most of it is common knowledge for me. I do this stuff all day, every day. I might even call some of these jobs boring. But my potential customers? They don’t think about electricity. Yesterday, I replaced this recalled Zinsco panel. The wiring was a mess, it was 50 years old, and Zinsco has been out of business for 15 years. This is a dangerous situation for some homeowners, and publishing a blog post about it could help prevent a fire, it could bring me some business, heck- it could prevent injury to a homeowner.
So, I write a blog post about it, recommending that homeowners with that particular panel contact my company for an inspection. I’ll even do the inspection for free, knowing that many of these do need replacement and it could lead to new business. I talk about the company, the panel, why it was recalled and what the dangers are. I place a call to action at the end that helps the reader contact me via phone or web form.
I write a summary and link to the post on my LinkedIn page, my Facebook page, and my Twitter account. I’ve never posted to my Instagram account, but I take the image of the panel that I snapped at the last job and post it there, with a link back to the post as well. I see some likes and shares trickle in over the next few days. Not much, but clearly at least a couple of people took interest.
After a few weeks, I get an inquiry or two, generated directly from this blog post. I schedule and perform the complimentary checks, and while one of them was within my safety comfort zone for the panel, the other panel was a mess. I advise the homeowner to replace it, give her a quote, and within the month I’ve got a new client, who is safer in their home, who is satisfied, who will write a glowing Yelp review if I ask them to, and who will likely refer other business to me. The story about their panel gets shared at a neighborhood BBQ, and three other homeowners call me from the same area, leading to more sales, and more safe homes.
That is certainly an ideal example, but its not at all out of the ordinary. Your small business does need a blog, it needs new posts regularly, and it needs to promote new content through social channels. Its not hard to do, but it does take time and effort. Swish can help evaluate your website, blog, social media, and recommend a program that will help you begin to reap the benefits of blogging for your small business. Heck, we can even help you write and promote your posts.
And just like the fictional electrician in this post, I’ll even do a free inspection for you.
Chad is a 19 year veteran of the web industry. A developer by trade, he is now at the helm of his 3rd digital agency. Chad's mind for small business strategy makes him a valuable partner for client needs.