There’s a reason blogging is so essential to marketing your small business online – it builds trust with prospects and customers, drives traffic, helps you establish authority, and drives new leads. In fact, marketers who consistently blog bring in 67% more leads than those who don’t.
I understand the challenges of running a small business – you’re busy enough as it is, and finding time for marketing can be difficult. So is blogging really worth the extra time?
Yes. Because businesses who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI than using other marketing methods. Blogging is now more important than ever. It only costs you time, and the payoff can be massive. The great part is – you’re already an expert in your industry, and you can use this expertise in all of your blog posts to inform and educate your prospects and customers! To read about more benefits of blogging, take a look at my article on why you should start blogging today.
Are you ready? Here’s my starter’s guide to small business blogging.
Understanding Your Audience
One of the essential components of small business blogging is understanding your audience. More specifically, who they are and where they stand in the buyer’s journey. Your goal is to create the right content for the right people at the right time. This way, you can guide prospects through the problem they’re facing, and lead them to the correct solution (working with YOUR business!).
In order to define who your audience is, your bank needs to establish buyer personas. Buyer personas are made-up representations of who your prospective customers are, and what they think and do as they research banking related topics, products and services.
Buyer personas outline a prospect’s attitude, challenges, role, tendencies, and the [most important] factors they consider when making a buying decision. As an example; say you create a persona named Small-Business Sandy. By creating this persona, you are able to understand the specific challenges that Sandy faces, and direct her towards a solution that speaks to her as a business owner, all the while building trust in the process. (See our partner Catch22’s in-depth guide on How to Create Buyer Personas).
If your typical customer, ‘Business Owner Sandy’ typically experiences the same problems and challenges, write a series of blog posts you know they’ll benefit from reading.
Know “Where” They Stand
Understanding where people might be in the buyer’s journey and tailoring your content to them is fundamental to success.
There are three main stages your prospects go through during their quest to solve a problem: The Awareness Stage, The Consideration Stage, and The Decision Stage.
The key is to create helpful content that meets people where they are in the process. The goal is to educate, not to sell yourself – especially if they are involved in the Awareness or Consideration stages.
Let’s say you run an IT business. As an illustration: somebody who is reading a blog post titled “How to setup business email accounts” is not ready to read “Why hiring an IT consultant is a must.” Whereas someone who is reading your post on “What to look for when hiring an IT consultant” probably is.
Here’s an overview of how you can start, written out in three stages:
The Awareness Stage
The Awareness Stage is defined by someone who is experiencing symptoms of a problem or situation. In other words, they haven’t broken down the problem or given it a label yet. For example, Sandy the small business owner needs to recover data from a few broken hard drives, but doesn’t know how the hard drives broke in the first place. This is a great opportunity for your business to write blog posts that will educate Sandy (and many other people like her) on the challenges she is experiencing, like “10 Common Reasons for Hard Drive Failure.” Eventually, you will guide her to consider options to fix the problem.
The Consideration Stage
This is when your prospect has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity. Here’s what the consideration stage sounds like: “I figured out what caused my hard drives to fail, and I need to figure out what to do.” These are indicators that you, the IT consultant, can target solution-based blog posts to help Sandy (your prospect) consider her options. Again, this is the great part. You’re the expert – write out a post outlining possible solutions that Sandy can choose.
The Decision Stage
Your prospect, Sandy, has now decided on her solution, method or approach – and she’s conducting research to make a final purchasing decision. This stage is almost always carried out online – given that 81% of purchase-makers use the web to make their final decision. This is where you brag about what your small business has to offer. Sandy now knows what she’s looking for, and you’ve got it all. The key is focus your posts on the benefits to them. This stage is where selling finally comes into play, because the prospect is ready. (Awesome, isn’t it?)
Small Business Blogging is essential to Growth
Now is the time for your small business to start blogging. I’ve given you the information you need to write your first few posts – It’s simply a matter of creating consistent, genuinely-helpful content for your website visitors and customers.
Here are a few important things to consider:
- Small businesses that blog experience 126% more lead growth than small businesses that don’t. (ThinkCreative)
- 81% of consumers in the U.S. trust information and advice from blogs. (BlogHer)
- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links – more traffic, more potential customers. (Hubspot)
Read my Community Bank Blogging Guide on Catch22 Marketing’s Blog.