I talked to you about this last week, but I want to talk about the power of the blog. Maybe it’s not a good analogy.
But it’s like nuclear fuel for growing a small business on down the road.
I want to talk to you about why this is so important. First of all, let’s look back—three things have happened this past week that reinforces why this is so important for small busines to have, a blog that is.
Facebook recently announced that they were going to focus more on the group experience, on Facebook.
For example, I belong to two groups on Facebook. One is a citizens group or a neighborhood group that has about 8000 members. As well as a high school reunion group that has, maybe a couple of hundred.
And we stay in touch on facebook. Ok, every week I see posts on the neighborhood group about, does anybody on this dog?
Or about a restaurant that serves whatever—they give a shout out to a business that did a good job, that’s pretty powerful stuff. Particularly if you’re complaining about a business or praising a business.
Those neighborhood groups, you’ve got 8000 in mine. That can do some damage. For local business.
That’s number one, Facebook announced that they’d focus more on groups. The second thing Google announced they were going to start having Google My Business posts capability.
So basically you have a Google My Business showing your business on a Google map, you’ll be able to make a post, kind of like a little Tweet. Although I think it’s something like 320 characters. You can have an offer, like fifty percent off lunch today. It will show up on people’s phones when they search for a restaurant in the area.
It’s another way Google is trying to engage prospects to do business with their customers.
And then, finally, the big, big news—is that Amazon bought Whole Foods, but they’ve also introduce Prime Wardrobe for clothing and Echo Alexa—or something like that. (Actually called Echo Look). It’s a camera. It looks like Echo but it has cameras on it.
You can order it for a couple hundred bucks. I guess you put it up and try on outfits. And Alexa the artificial intelligence will recommend what you should wear.
And I’m sure it turns right around and brings up things you can buy from Amazon wardrobe. Ship it to you.
Try it on, you don’t like it you can send it back. Suddenly Amazon is not only cutting in to food and grocers, but clothiers as well. Now how is this important?
Well, if you make hand made dresses let’s say, locally as a small business. Now, people can buy them on Amazon at a cheaper price than say a department store. Because it’s why some of these are going under.
So what are you going to do to differentiate?
Well, you could sell them on Amazon. But let’s say you’ve invested a lot of money in your local community. You’re a member of the chamber. Everyone knows you as the person who makes unique dresses.
You go to the farmers market, or the trade shows.
This is why a blog is so important, to add nuclear fuel to compete against the big giants, as best we can.
Because they’re coming in and doing things with all this technology.
So, three reasons why I believe all of this is so critical.
Number one, it’s obviously going to increase search engine optimization.
Think of the blog as a mini-website that’s attached to your website. It’s a platform that’s attached to your website. It’s not just a diary of what you do. This is bigger than that.
This is allowing your platform through either audio like this podcast you’re listening to, through video or through written information about you.
About your expertise that you can share with prospects and customers on a regular basis.
And because you’re doing it on a regular basis, this is fresh content of which Google search engine loves it and will rank you higher.
So it provides search engine optimization. As well if you tie in topics, categories and keywords that tie-in to your business. Ideally, that’s what you’d want to do. Because Google searches all of that.
But just because you’re providing fresh content is what they really, really are looking for that ranks you higher.
So, that’s what a blog will do—it will make you more searchable in the search engines. If you think about it, when you check out something—what do you first do?
You search in the search engine for reviews or ratings, things like that. That’s what people will do for your business. That’s why this is so important to make an impression on your brand.
Ok, that’s number one, it’s searchable.
Number two, you can provide information and entertainment with a podcast, with a written page, a post or a video, to engage them. To get them to want to learn about you.
This isn’t just bland information, they’re wanting something that they’re looking for. Now, you’re helping them by providing engaging content.
And finally, it’s promotable.
Promotable in that now you can direct people back to that blogpost. Just like I do with this podcast. I send it out on my social media.
You may have seen one of my tweets or posts, promoting this particular podcast about why you need nuclear fuel to grow your small business.
This is part of that nuclear fuel that you have the ability to use this platform to send that information out to get people to come back to learn more about you.
Do you see how that works? Hand in hand, you’re promoting your business, and you can promote your blogpost with direct mail, radio ads, TV ads, whatever.
Learn all about how we make jewelry. How we make dressses. Learn everything at our website and check out all of our blogposts. A number of ways you can promote this.
Those are mainly the three reasons why a blog is so critical.
Not to mention what the technology giants are doing to engage their customers with better experiences and technology.
This will help make your small business stand out from the competition if you adapt a blog and these ideas.
Because it’s all perception, as well as searches and links and things like that on Google.
So, a number of things that I think, it was really interesting but the bottom line is that it influences the customer experience. The user experience. That’s what everybody talks about. That’s the bottom line.
Because, now when they come to your website, they see your blog, they see your interactions. They think, these guys are really on top.
When they compare that to a competitor who’s not doing this, that forms a perception. And that’s part of your brand. The idea is to get your brand to stand out, get it relevant, and remind people on-going. That it’s relevant. And that’s what a blog will help do.
John Verlin’s my name. I know I’m talking fast, I’m trying to get all of this done within ten minutes, because I like to keep these short and sweet.
Next week, how would you like your business to be a rock star? Well, I grew up with a rock band, and I’m going to share with you some of the things I do…that I’ve learned you can do to become a rock star with your prospects and customers.
Because that’s what separates you again, from your competition.
And don’t close a blind eye to the competition. It’s there. And it’s watching you. Whether you like it or not, I read a couple of blog pieces this past week about how much competition is going to be fighting for market share.
What we talked about earlier with Facebook and Amazon are the big players, but small busineses are vying for each other too. And this will help you stand out. So be listening next week.
I wanted to talk to you today about the importance of a marketing platform for your small business. I know I brought this up before in a previous podcast, but I wanted to go into more detail today.
I was at a chamber coffee this morning talking to a young chiropractor. He was a member of a chiropractic team in the town I live in. We were actually kind of talking about this, and I went in and explained to him why this is so important.
They hired a marketing person. Plan to hire myself or someone to do their social media.
But, as we were talking about what elements make up this marketing platform, and his eyes kind of lit up. When I touched on some of this because he hadn’t really thought of it. He’s on their marketing board.And they weren’t even aware of it.
So, that’s why I want to go in to this. This is something I’m seeing quite a bit, to be honest with you.
Is a lack of understanding of the importance of a marketing platform for most small businesses.
They look at it like, not everybody, but I’m seeing this as an afterthought, a luxury. Ah, I can’t really afford this. It’s kind of a hassle. An afterthought.
So, five things you need to be aware of, of why a marketing platform is so critical to your business.
Imagine that we were out west, and there was an old saloon storefront. Facade. Like in an old western movie set.
And I come running out yelling at people, come on in. Check out our saloon! People come in and they go to the saloon. As they get closer, they realize there are no walls. And, there’s nothing in there!
It’s a facade! It’s a storefront movie set facade. There’s nothing there, except this frame. Well that’s kind of, maybe not a great analogy, but your online storefront is your website.
Now, whether you like it or not, that’s how people are perceiving businesses today. Think about your own experience. When you find a product in print, an email, TV, radio…whatever. You’re interested, what do you do? What’s the process?
It used to be ten or fifteen years ago, you’d get in your car, you might call them. Get in their car, go to the store and check it out. Do you do that today? Probably not.
My guess is, you’re going to grab your smartphone, and say, Hey, Siri—show me where I can get fifty percent off pizzas. Or the closest Pizza Hut.
Because I just saw their ad on TV.
And you can probably order it through your phone. You’re not going to get up and go to the Pizza Hut. Because of the conveniences today. The technology platform
And the same is true of a lot of services. You might end up going to that site. And what are you going to do when you get to that site? You’re going to check them out. Customer testimonials, services they offer. Products featured. Does it match what you thought?
All those sort of things. That’s the online storefront. That’s why a website is so important. And a quality website. It’s got to look good, because that’s your branding.
I talk about the marketing platform, in our three part strategy. But it’s your branding that you’re selling. The image you’re selling. This is why all of this is so important.
If you’re a small business, and you don’t have one, what are people going to do? What are they going to think? Those are the two things that you have to control.
Why do you have to do this? What’s your competition doing? Do you think they’re sitting on the sideline not doing this? Or haven’t considered it?
So, unless you’ve got a line of referrals…banging on the door to come in and give money to you. You need to consider a solid marketing platform.
So the first point, it’s your online storefront. This is how people are doing business today. It starts with searching most likely. Do that or keyword search and they want to check you out, is really what it comes down to.
The second feature of the marketing platform, is a blog. Well, we don’t have a blog. We don’t think it’s important. Well, it’s real important because it’s your sales people. Now again, go back to the saloon.
Let’s switch that to say a general store. A come out and yell, hey come here and check out these axes we have. Great for chopping wood! Blah, blah, blah. They come to the storefront and they see, through the window, beautiful axes, all lined up, all on display.
Beautiful items. Goods. Whatever. Now they want to go in the store. Because it matches what I described and they get to see the product. They see it.
Ok. Well, this is what a blog is. It’s the sales people bringing in the people with stuff you know have to show them.Yes, you have pages about who you are. But not real in-depth.
That’s where the blog comes in. They see one point after another of your content of expertise. And it usually could be, should be through an engaging medium. Like a video, a podcast.
And that’s why we recommend those two things. Because it’s engaging. It grabs your attention. It’s not just one-thousand words to read.
Not that that is not important. Because it is, because Google will search things. But you want to grab and sell them your service or your product. So the blog acts as a sales storefront.
Next point, number three. I’m going to call it—it provides for a resident place to direct media to. When I do an ad on Facebook, TV, print, radio, email marketing. What are you doing? You want to direct them somewhere. Where are you going to send them? Come by our storefront, here’s our address if you get a chance. It doesn’t do a very good job of selling if you just give them a business card.
But if you give them a website, they go visit that and then they can SEE. Yeah, check out blog #5. It’s talking about what you and I were just talking about out at the chamber coffee. Oh! Now they have a chance to be sold. Because they’re engaged in the content you’re offering them on your blog.
And again, they’re going to compare this to who? Your competition. See how this makes you stand out from the crowd? You have a mechanism to direct people through your advertising.
And outreach to them to come in to your storefront and SEE everything you’re all about…and tell your story.
That’s what this is. And how many small businesses don’t have a mechanism with which to tell their story?
Point number four, and this is real important from the search engine standpoint. It allows you to provide fresh content, each week, to highlight your expertise. With engaging content.
I call it engaging…i’m referring to podcasting, videos…things that cause people to want to watch or listen and experience…as opposed to just reading.
Ok? And this separates you again from your competition! Because the probably, may or may not be doing podcasts, or even know how to produce them or even want to produce them. Or even have the resources for them.
Or produce videos. SEE the difference? You’re doing something…yeah, it takes some work. But guess what? It’s permanent.
You just have to do it once a week, and it’s there on your skeletal platform…your marketing platform to constantly promote.
You’ve got meat, flesh and bones.
And the fifth reason, it provides on-going, keyword search relevance through Google search engines.
Not that a website won’t, yeah, you’ve got a lot of words on the website. Relevant words hopefully to what you’re promoting. But the blog extends all of that. Every week you’re adding content.
And you’re doing this so that you’re selling your prospects. But you’re also getting the back end deal here.
Google is searching it…and suddenly, when people type in keywords, you’re pages of the blog start to come up.
And all of this is relevant to what they’re looking for. It narrows it down in their mind of who they should do business with.
Because now, when they visit your storefront on the web, and see your blog and all of the content that you have…they become engaged with you.
Now they want to go. You’ve ignited some passion here of your knowledge and expertise!
Do you SEE the difference? And this is why it’s important to have a good, solid marketing platform. And on-going fresh content.
It’s an on-going thing to market yourself. You’re always selling. What was that line Alec Baldwin said in Glengerry, Glenross? Always be selling! Always be selling (closing)!
Nothing happens until someone sells something! Ok, so that’s why it’s so important to have a good marketing platform.
It’s on that infographic here on the blog. You can see how it all integrates together. And this is new.
This is the new way we’re doing business. It’s critical for small businesses to get this. And don’t just through it out there as an add-on. This is critical to selling yourself for future.