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Small Business Digest


Turn 10 Daily Blog Visitors Into More Than 1,000 Customers

Is blogging still a good marketing tool? Yes – if it’s done well.

A new study finding that blogging has declined by 50% among Fortune 500 companies in the past year may have more to say about how these large companies misuse their blogs than what small companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs can do with theirs. 

So the small-business owner shouldn’t be discouraged by that decline.

Danny Iny, author of Naked Marketing Manifesto, says: “Blogging done right can attract a pool of prospective customers that’s ginormous, not just big. “

He offers these tips on how to use blogs to boost the bottom line:

  • Don't fall for blogging scams. Be wary of outfits that promise to turn a blog into a monetizing machine using bombastic claims. “Beat any competitor to Google’s first page in less than a week!” “Make $500 in one hour with our no-fail system!” Don’t shell out hard-earned marketing dollars.  “Instead,” Iny says, “remember that to grow a blog, you have to start at the beginning and work your way up, one step at a time. There’s no get-rich-quick scheme that applies to business blogging.
  • Start with great content. Before you tell anyone about your blog, create good content for them to read when they get there. Write a few posts on topics that will be valuable to the ideal customer. What are the top five must-read books in the field that customers need to know about? What are the top five software solutions? Do you have insider industry news that will blow their socks off? How about tips or problem-solving advice? Give your audience something to talk (or Tweet) about.
  • Tell everyone you know.  “Once you’ve created blog content that will impress, reach out to everyone you know via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, telephone and any other way you can think of,” Iny says. “Tell them how excited you are and what your goals are for the blog.” Ask for feedback, and tell them how much it would mean to you if they subscribed and would leave a comment on posts to let you know what they think. You can even ask them to help you spread the word. Expect to get about 10-20 unique visitors per day once you’re past the initial spike of one-time curiosity-seekers.
  • . Start building a community. Find high-quality, well-written, engaging blogs that are fairly new and are getting less than 10-15 comments on their posts. Invest an afternoon searching online, reading and taking notes. Leave comments on their posts and invite them to write a guest post on your blog. Of course, you should do the same for them. Share their good work with your network – the bloggers will thank you for the exposure, and your network will thank you for the good but obscure content you’re sending their way. This will bring you up to the range of 50-100 unique visitors per day.
  • Turn visitors into customers. Don’t take the next step until you optimize conversions. This term encompasses all the strategies you use to turn readers of your blog into repeat visitors and buyers on your website. There are plenty of companies and widgets you can use to test how well readers are responding to different parts of your website, such as your products page, customer-care page, checkout page and promotions. A valuable article with 108 conversion-optimization tips was written by Google – a great example of how good content can turn blog readers into customers.
  • Borrow some authority.  Now that you have great content on the site, with good traffic and reviews from your blogging community, Iny says, “it’s time to boost your traffic numbers to 200-400 unique visitors per day. Do this by guest posting on bigger blogs in your space. First, find a handful of blogs you like with an Alexa ranking of 100,000 or lower. Second, familiarize yourself with the blog and figure out what its readers will like. Third, leave good comments on three or more posts. Fourth, send the blogger a short and sweet e-mail pitching your guest-blog idea. When they say yes, send them a draft within a couple of days, and be active and gracious in the comments.”
  • Get viral. Once you have more than 200 unique visitors per day, it’s time for the traffic to get viral. Here are two ideas to do get you started. Idea No. 1: run a series of really excellent posts about your subject and add an incentive for sharing, such as a drawing people can be entered into when they comment. Idea No. 2: Create an awesome piece of content and give it away free for sharing in Twitter or Facebook. You can do this with a free service like Cloud:flood or Pay With a Tweet. A couple of these campaigns, properly executed, should bring you up to 500-1,000-plus unique visitors.
  • Monetize the blog. With an audience that loves your stuff, selling is easy. Money can be made in many different ways with a blog (selling a product, selling a service, selling advertising, affiliate products, speaking fees, etc.).  “What is essential, though, is that you should focus on building the audience first and selling second,” Iny says. “Too often, when people ask why their site isn’t making money, the answer is because nobody is visiting it. Growing your audience first, and selling after that, is how you solve that problem.”

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