Blogs can add traffic to both your website and to the front door of your store, but sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start – and then, once you do, how to convert those posts into buying customers.
Why add a blog to your website? Here are two big reasons: Blogs help you build your brand and reach effective search engine optimization (SEO) through compelling content. Building your brand is essential in the beginning not only to introduce yourself to new customers, but also to keep existing customers from seeing a “BestBuy.com” result after a Google Search instead of your website. Using blog posts to build a brand also creates relationships and trust with customers, since they’ll remember you for more than just trying to sell them stuff.
Adding a blog can require some tech knowledge, but this article will forego the nitty-gritty specifics because it depends on how you’ve set up your website. Chances are you already have this option if you’re using a site-builder tool like Squarespace or Wix, but it’s also a standard option for most web development scenarios.
Instead, this article will focus on the types of blog posts that work best for small businesses, including retailers, and what to put in them.
Let’s start with these different types of blog posts and how they can help your business:
Storytelling – Every business has a story behind it. Is your store a family business, a lifelong dream, or simply built out of your fascination with technology?
Teach Something – The informative blog post is a perfect spot to demonstrate your technology or a piece that you sell. It’s also a great place to offer advice: explainers on how to set up a smart speaker, or what acronyms like WiSA mean. The informative blog piece doesn’t necessarily need a lot of text; photos with some pithy captions and videos with short intro text will suffice.
Offer a Point of View – This can be a product highlight, review, or thought leadership editorial. The last one offers the opportunity to introduce and discuss trends that will get people talking about, say, different tech formats, the need to upgrade, and even the state of customer service. The idea is to get potential customers thinking about going into your store, and bringing them into the discussion is often a good way to do it.
Profile Someone – Interview the audio engineer behind a new amp, or a sustainability expert who can speak to the advantages of eco-packaging or recycling, or even the oldest salesperson on the store floor. Making a human connection always offers instant appeal to readers.
Once you have an idea of how many posts you would like to add per day, week, or month, create a schedule to post. You don’t have to post every day. You can start small, like once a week, and grow from there. The main thing is that you post consistently every day, week, or whatever frequency you choose. As you write or create the posts, remember to insert calls to action, like inviting the customer to the store to try out the hardware you demonstrated, or ending posts with questions that spark discussion (“Are you going to buy the new iPhone 13 Pro or the Pixel 6 Pro? Discuss.”). Include videos and photos and add descriptive or identifying captions to the images. In terms of hyperlinks in the copy, they should be a mix of links to other posts on your site and outside sites with reputations for quality content with authority. You’ll also want to organize your posts into different categories (either product categories or topic areas) and tags. This will not only make it easier for people to find relevant content on your blog, but will also help with internal linking and search engine optimization (SEO).
A word about SEO: Unlike Search Engine Marketing (SEM), SEO is essentially a more organic and free way to get exposure from people as they surf online. While the specifics of how to optimize your posts so that they show up on the first page of search results on Google vary and depend on several different factors, the long and the short of it is that compelling content is another way for customers to find you. Make sure the content is good and original, that it uses popular keywords related to your content that people will be searching for, and that other reputable blogs link to you and you link to them. SEO is a serious thing, but there are plug-ins for your content management system (CMS), which is the platform you use to create posts, and other tools and services such as Moz that can help. You can even search for keyword strength on free sites such as Google Zeitgeist.
Starting a blog for your business might not have been in the original plans, but it is worth considering, as it can add value and drive customers to purchase from you.