Perhaps you’ve always thought of blogging as a business model within itself. Set up blog, talk about something cool, build an audience, and then brainstorm something to sell or throw up some affiliate links. Well, yes, that’s a simplified version of how a blog can provide the foundation of a business, but it’s also a tool that any webmaster can add to their arsenal – even online stores. And with all the competition out there these days, it’s important to keep as many of these tools at hand as possible.
Let’s have a closer look at what blogging can do for your virtual storefront.
One thing online stores often struggle with is building credibility. The buying process can be overwhelming for average citizens who hear all the stories about their friends and family getting burned online. Then, they come across a website with all these “buy now” buttons and not much else, and they’re not really sure what to think.
Adding a blog can not only add more “substance” to your site, which automatically lends more credibility, but it’s also a chance to show off your expertise. Through writing intelligently about your niche, you become a fly fishing expert rather than just some online marketer who realized there was money to be made in selling poles.
Brand Your Online Company
Your site is swimming in a sea of noise out there, with thousands of others selling very similar, if not the exact, products. Throw in the big brand sites, and how can you really compete?
One word – branding. You’ve got to become an actual company, with a unique presence.
Your blog is a great tool for creating a “voice” for your company, and there are multiple ways you can stand out from the crowd, from the personality of your writing to what you choose to focus on in your articles.
An ecommerce blog can be used to sell too; in fact, you’ll probably get away with a little more of it because you are, after all, a website based around selling a product.
If you’re targeting a particular sub-niche or your products offer some type of unique benefits, your articles are an opportunity to address these issues head on as well, in a very direct manner. Consider adding links to order pages so buyers can get more details about certain products by reading blog posts that refer to them.
And vice versa: at the end of more “persuasive pieces,” be sure to ask readers to visit the product page.
SEO is another thing that ecommerce sites often struggle with, and many site owners have resorted to spammy tactics due to a lack of options. A properly orchestrated blog, on the other hand, lends a stream of relevant content, and even if you largely ignore SEO writing tactics, you should get a pretty decent stream of traffic from long-tails.
You can also leverage blogging to generate traffic from online communities that might be interested in your product. Comment on authority blogs, with a link to your site, and build relationships with other bloggers. While you’re at it, leverage social media to get your blog posts out to more readers and prospects.
Creating an Audience
If you put true effort into creating a quality blog worth reading, you can establish an online audience that follows what you say. Having a loyal audience is extremely valuable as a business owner – well, as long as that loyal audience is relevant to your products.
Even if not, however, you can always start selling things your audience does want though…
The point is that the ability to get readers hanging on to your every word is a marketing dream come true. And a blog at least gives you a platform to try.
Are you listening to your customers? Any good businessperson should, and a blog is a great place to solicit customer interaction. Invite readers to comment. Ask questions that give insights into under-served needs. If you can get people commenting on your work, you’ve created a valuable customer feedback resource.
Go Set Up Your Blog Now
There’s usually no need to build an entirely separate website for your blog, which often creates confusion when customers click over from one site to the other. Instead, add the blog to your existing site. A good designer should be able to match the theme and color scheme of your ecommerce site; obviously the layout will be a bit different for the blog pages, but overall it should be very congruent.
Don’t discount blogging. It could be just the ticket for bringing more traffic and sales to your site.