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Blogs_As_Marketing_Tools_For_Small_And_Medium_Sized_Businesses

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					Blogs As Marketing Tools For Small And Medium Sized Businesses

Word Count:
1278

Summary:
Times are changing. In the highly competitive marketplace, small and
medium sized business entities (SMBs) veer away from the traditional to
more creative and interactive approaches to doing business. Opportunities
now spring from new markets, new consumer segments and new marketing
tools exemplified by websites specifically business blogs.

Understanding Business Blogs

A blog, short for weblog, is a website in which journal-like entries
called posts are written on an on...


Keywords:
internet, blogs, internet business, small business


Article Body:
Times are changing. In the highly competitive marketplace, small and
medium sized business entities (SMBs) veer away from the traditional to
more creative and interactive approaches to doing business. Opportunities
now spring from new markets, new consumer segments and new marketing
tools exemplified by websites specifically business blogs.

Understanding Business Blogs

A blog, short for weblog, is a website in which journal-like entries
called posts are written on an ongoing basis and displayed in reverse
chronological order. New posts appear at the homepage so visitors can
read what is new. It is an easy, frequently updated online journal,
focused around a topic, industry or personality. Authoring a blog or
adding an article to a blog is called blogging while the person who posts
these entries is known as a blogger. Typically, a blog is composed of
hypertext, images and links to other web pages, audio, video and other
files. A distinct feature of a blog is that it allows readers to write
their reactions or comments to what was written in the blog post. Another
wonderful thing about a blog is that a blogger can update his blog thru a
special type of blogging software called a blog tool instantly from any
Internet connection on any computer. He just types his entry into a
simple online form and the entry is readily available on the web for
worldwide readers to see.

Over the years, blogs have evolved from simple, personal online journals
to effective tools for augmenting business communications. Along the way,
search engines like Google and Yahoo were displaying popular media blogs
produced by journalists, in most cases, appearing above other search
result rankings. Propelled by this discovery, companies started writing
blogs to provide relevant information about their business to potential
customers to visit their sites.

What then is a business blog? It is a blog about a business. It is an
organized journal about a company’s products or services. A business blog
provides specific news, statistics, product releases, and other relevant
information related to the company to prospective customers starting a
business blog and providing these information give potential customers
enough reasons to visit a company’s website. Just imagine prospective
clients visiting a company’s blog periodically without the company having
to spend hefty amounts of money on advertising and promotion. As they
say, give readers valuable pertinent information and they will come.
Moreover, customer service issues may be addressed using a blog.

A business blog is best viewed as an addition to a website. If a company
has a website, a business blog is just embedded in it. For small and
medium sized businesses, business blogs help put a personal touch on an
otherwise bland business site. A business blog can be an excellent
marketing tool to support a main business, to provide value, build
healthy relationships with potential clients and thus create personal
brand and image.

Blogging as a Marketing Tool

Business blogging provides a way for companies and readers to meet on
common ground and discuss ideas, products and services in the hopes of
building an audience that can become customers. A business blog provides
a cost-effective alternative to having a website. For small and medium
sized business entrepreneurs without the time and the means to set up a
website, business blogging offers an inexpensive tool to herald the
company’s presence on the powerful Internet.

Business blogs provide SMBs with an avenue to share their expertise and
knowledge with a bigger audience. Both online and offline small and
medium sized businesses can use blogs to take their products and services
to a wider audience increasing web traffic and boosting sales. The fact
is business blogging is fast becoming a sustainable marketing strategy
for any online marketer. There are numerous ways a business can benefit
from a blog.

An effective business blog can help give a human face to a business.
Blogs bring a personal dimension to the web. Blogs make business sites
more personal. Since blogs are updated by individuals, the “voice” of the
blogger will resonate through. This will assure potential customers that
there are real people behind the blog engaging them in real
conversations. Blogs can be opinionated, informative, at other times
infused with humor thus eliciting better response from target audience.

A business blog if used productively can improve customer service. It
provides instant customer feedback through comments. It allows one’s
audience to comment on a post and create a dialogue with them. A blog can
act as a question and answer forum. Customers can post questions and
receive instant replies. An effective business blog functions as a
central knowledge base of articles, tutorials, product development
status, and other relevant product or service information. This is good
customer service.

A business blog keeps an archive of older posts organized by date and
categorized by topic. This gives the target audience easier access to
information. With business blogs, it is also easy to add new information
on a regular basis. Frequent updates in the form of fresh new posts mean
visitors will have all the reasons to keep coming back thus building
loyal readers – best potential clients.

A business blog can increase the chances of prospective clients to visit
a company’s website. For a start, visitors to a business blog can be
redirected to the company’s main site through links and special offers.
Use of relevant keywords and popular links to specific sales pages
improve search engine ranking of both the business blog and the main
website. Just like the main website, top search result rank equals
traffic. With more and more people turning to the all-powerful Internet
to search for products and services, it is essential for small businesses
to be easily crawled by search engines. Since search engines thrive on
new content, the more likely the search engines are going to visit the
blog and share it with the world.

Regularly posting valuable content on a business blog builds company
credibility and creates sound business reputation. A business blog can
help project a company as an expert in a chosen business area. Customers
feel more comfortable transacting business with a reputable company.

A business blog can be an avenue to introduce company products or
services. Ideally, a blog is not about selling. A blog can be used to
mention new products or services and direct visitors to the company’s
main website in the process generating more sales. Interestingly, several
advertising programs such as Google Adsense allow companies to monetize
their business blogs and generate extra revenue.

However, a business blog is not urgent but important for small and medium
sized businesses. A business blog alone is not enough to market a company
product or service. But it is good investment for startup businesses to
have conversations with customers and prospective clients. Business
blogging is an effective way to start conversing with visitors interested
in ones products or services but it is in no way to be viewed as a stand
alone strategy. Yes, business blogging can do wonders. But it is not
going to work on its own. A business blog is most effective when it is
used in conjunction with other online communication tools such as e-mail,
press release, pay per click, company websites, to name a few.

Setting up and maintaining a great business blog that visitors will find
useful and relevant is just like having an effective built-in public
relations staff that will spread the word about the business.

As a final thought, starting a business blog is easy but transforming it
into a marketing tool that drives traffic and sales to a business takes
time, dedication and consistency.

				
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posted:3/1/2010
language:English
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