Does Your Business Need a Blog?

brands, blogging, small business

The answer is an unequivocal, YES! Blogging is the foundation to holistic content marketing campaigns and it provides a channel for developing thought leadership. Instead of being another faceless brand, you can distinguish your business by lending it your credibility and defining yourself as an authority in your industry. Our social-media driven culture is also placing new demands on brands. Customers expect higher levels of engagement with businesses because of the access that the online world provides them. If your website is static, you aren’t set apart from your competition and you’re not convincing potential clients that you are the best possible company to purchase from/work with.

Still not convinced? Here are some of the best reasons why your business needs a blog:

Blogs help raise your Internet visibility

Search engines prefer blogs over the millions upon millions of static websites out there because the content is updated regularly. As you have probably heard many times before: content is king.  You want to be featured on the first page of a Google search? A consistently updated and bustling blog is the best way to land there. Creating regular content on topics relevant to your industry increases the chance of a potential customer landing on your website.

Say you’re a landscaper in Florida, creating a post about the top five ways to spend days or evenings in your garden not only advertises your services but helps those not specifically searching for a landscaper to find your company.

Blogs establish your authority

With the introduction of Google Authorship, establishing yourself (and your brand) as an authority in your industry has become obligatory. You want to be recognized as a trendsetter and thought leader among your competition, but you also want to show consumers why they should do business with you. Knowledgeable, original content proves your legitimacy while inspiring confidence in potential clients. This applies to all industries, as potential clients are more likely to do business with someone who has already established their authority.

For example, if you’re a dentist, regular posts on good dental hygiene will be valuable to potential patients and lead them to believe that your knowledgeable advice leads to knowledgeable care. People directly associate your content with your abilities; you want to be in control of your image.

Blogs reflect the culture of your company & values of your brand

Gone are the days where you can just claim to offer great customer service and exceptional products. Consumers want to know specifics and they want your unique approach to business. Blogging is the perfect opportunity to infuse your personality into your company. By providing your opinions on relevant topics of interest in your industry, consumers get an understanding of the person (or people) behind your brand. This works on multiple levels.

For one, it helps consumers relate to and understand your brand. Blogging can also be a great starting point for building the reputation of your brand. For example, if you’re a consultant and you have multiple articles offering free advice, you send the message that you are generous with your  expertise. Doing so also suggests that you possess such a wealth of information that there is plenty more of that same expert advice for clients who contract your services.

Blogs allow for interaction with consumers

If a potential consumer is visiting your website, you want to do everything you can to improve engagement. Static websites guarantee short visits whereas regularly updated blogs give visitors a reason to stick around. Chances are they’ll comment on a post, you comment back and before you know it they’re scheduling an appointment or placing an order.

Starbucks is an excellent example of increasing user engagement through blogging. While their posts are only tangentially related to coffee, Starbucks allows users to submit ideas for new drinks, food items, packages, and even store designs. They then blog about the ideas and encourage users to comment and rate the different items. This is a brilliant approach to blogging as it increases consumer engagement and creates original user-generated content.

While blogging doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, it does require some planning and commitment. The key is to post consistently. Ideally, you should post relevant content for your target audience 2-3 times a week. Not only does this keep your content fresh (and therefore more likely to appear on search engines) but also encourages a consistent following.

For more advice on successful social media marketing strategies, iQuarius Media is an expert on helping  your brand’s online presence grow. Contact our Content Marketing Strategist, Ryan Mickley, to discuss your blog and content marketing strategy: ryan@iquariusmedia.com or 407.362.6503 ext. 112.

Image Source: Lucy Catherine Photography

Facebook Friends and Quality Likes That You Actually Want

social media

Facebook Friends and Quality Likes

As a business with a Facebook fan page, it’s natural to want to gather as many friends and Likes as possible. As always, though, it’s quality over quantity that will bring you the best return.

Take a few moments to see if you want them as a friend/Like. Check out their Info page and determine if they are interested in similar things, and check out their wall posts, if it is available, to see if they post offensive things, play Facebook games all day, or post gifts all over people’s profiles.

  1. Accept people who appear to have good morals, who post encouraging messages, inspirational quotes, and basic status updates. Pay attention if they cuss in every sentence, have poor grammar, and talk about things that make you uncomfortable — and don’t accept their friend request.
  2. Check their wall for several game posts. People who play a lot of Facebook games may send you lots of game invites or harass you with games status updates.
  3. Be careful allowing third-party applications to have access to your Facebook account. Sometimes these are people who are trying to get your personal information, attack, or hijack your account for your personal info. Just like with email, don’t click on any suspicious links that could be a virus.
  4. On their Info page, are they interested in activities and things that pertain to the content of your posts, products, or services? Those are the people you want to extend a friend invite to, or accept their request.
  5. If anyone becomes a nuisance, you can always unfriend them. The option is at the bottom of that person’s profile page on the left-hand side. They will not receive a notification that you have unfriended them.
  6. If you take out a paid ad on your page or group, make sure you filter it with people who have interests in what you provide, but with whom you do not already have a connection.

10 Biggest Internet Marketing Myths Exposed

internet marketingBy David Jackson (c) 2011

Merriam-Webster defines a myth as “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.”

It’s been said all myths are based in fact. Whether or not that’s true is debatable. What isn’t debatable, however, is like society, Internet Marketing also has its myths. This article exposes what I consider to be the 10 biggest Internet Marketing myths.

1. You Don’t Need Any Money to Do Business on the Internet

You wouldn’t expect to advertise on TV, radio, in newspapers, magazines, or any other media for free would you? Yet, for some strange reason, people think they can just come online and not spend any money, and advertise their business for free. To me, that shows an utter lack of respect for the single most important communication medium since television.

And while it’s true, there are plenty of free advertising opportunities available on the Internet, the fact remains, you still need money to effectively do business on the Internet.

2. Anyone Can Succeed at Internet Marketing

One of my favorite TV shows is Forensic Files. I am absolutely fascinated at how scientists are able to solve crimes with DNA evidence, animal hairs and insect larvae. It’s nothing short of brilliant. But I couldn’t ever be a forensic scientist. I simply don’t have the mental aptitude for it. Forensic scientists have to excel at math and chemistry and science, and quite frankly, those are the subjects I’m weakest at.

The same can be said about Internet Marketing. Despite how easy the slick sales letters and e-books make IM sound, not everybody has the mental aptitude for marketing. And while that may be a hard pill to swallow for many of you reading this, it’s also a fact. Not everybody has what it takes mentally to succeed at Internet Marketing. That’s why people hire marketing consultants like me. (Sorry, I’m not accepting any new clients).

3. You Can Get Rích Quick on the Internet

We’ve all heard the sensationalistic stories about individuals who came online and made a lot money very quickly. Well, sensationalism notwithstanding, those individuals are the exceptions rather than the rule. The fact of the matter is, far more people fail at Internet Marketing than succeed.

Contrary to popular belief, the Internet is not some kind of magic bullet. Besides, it’s not the medium that makes people successful, it’s the individuals themselves. And the people who succeed at the highest level online or offline are generally talented, hard working, organized, focused and determined.

4. People Don’t Read Long Copy on the Internet

If people don’t read long copy on the Internet, who in the heck is reading all those e-books out there in the marketplace? While this myth was disproven years ago, like birtherism, it still persists in the face of overwhelming and irrefutable evidence to the contrary. So, I’m going to attempt to lay it to rest, once and for all.

Research has shown that long copy generally outperforms short copy – provided the copy is compelling, well-written and interesting. And in addition to reading e-books, people regularly read long newspaper and magazine articles online. Bottom line: People WILL read long copy IF the subject matter is interesting to them.

5. All Traffic is Good Traffic

This myth is about as nonsensical as the tooth fairy. Here are the facts: If your traffic is originating from traffic exchanges or guarantéed traffic programs, it’s garbage traffic, plain and simple. And as the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out!”

If you are advertising on websites, or in publications that have zero relevance to your site, you are pretty much spinning your wheels. And if you’re exchanging links with websites that have absolutely nothing in common with your site, your efforts are going to be futile because that traffic is not going to convert. All traffic is not created equal. Quality and relevance matters!

6. E-mail Marketing is Dead

With the advent of mega-popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, alarmists have all but declared e-mail marketing dead and buried. Well, I don’t believe in erroneous declarations. I believe in facts. And here are the facts according to Nielsen…

U.S. consumers are spending more and more of their Internet time on their mobile devices. In fact, e-mail activity on mobile devices increased from 37.4% to 41.6% of U.S. mobile Internet time. And when you consider the fact smartphones now comprise 25% of a gigantic U.S. mobile phone market, there can only be one conclusion… E-mail marketing isn’t dead, its gone mobile!

7. Article Marketing Isn’t as Effective as It Used to Be

That is absolute nonsense! I’m personally experiencing more success with article marketing than I ever have. So too are many of my colleagues. And while it’s true, there are many more people involved in article marketing these days, it’s also true, there are many more bad or poorly written articles permeating the Internet. This has the unintended and beneficial consequence of making well-written, quality articles stand out in the crowd. And trust me, quality publishers do notice.

8. You Need to Be on the First Page of Google to Be Successful

Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, Google is far and away the most popular search engine on the planet. No sane person would dispute that. But Google only has ten spots available on the first page. So, not only is it unrealistic, it’s impossible for everyboody to achieve first page status.

But even if it were possible for everybody to achieve first page status, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in Google’s basket anyway. You’ve seen what can happen when Google has one of its many algorithm changes. First page today, not even indexed tomorrow. That’s why you should strive to have a multi-pronged marketing approach. Utilize a variety of methods to generate traffic.

For example, blogging, newsletters, social networking, article marketing, forum marketing, online and offline advertising, guest blogging, question and answer sites, etc. Diversify.

9. Saturated Niches are No Longer Profitable

This is only true if you don’t know what you’re doing. Let me ask you a question: Have you ever wondered why a particular niche is saturated? It’s because that’s where all the customers are. You see, contrary to popular belief, it really doesn’t matter how saturated or over-crowded a niche is if you’re a professional.

If you know what you’re doing, and execute your marketing strategy properly, there are plenty of customers to go around. You see, it’s how well you position yourself within a particular niche that will determine your success or failure. It’s all about differentiating yourself from your competitors. That’s Marketing 101.

You have to clearly explain to people what makes you different and/or better than your competitors. Then, you have to exploit those differences consistently. So, don’t run away from a crowded niche, embrace it. The Internet Marketing pie is plenty big enough for everybody.

10. If You Build It, They Will Come

Do you know what happens if you build a website and don’t tell anyone about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing will happen.

Unfortunately, far too many marketers think all they have to do is build a website and customers will somehow magically appear at their doorstep. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. Building a website is only the first step. You also have to advertise your website to the world – and not just with free advertising methods either. That will only take you so far. You also have to be willing to spend money on paid advertising.

So yes, if you build it, they will come. But only if they know about you!