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May 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 5




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Benefiting From Business in the Blogosphere

How Blog Posts Drive Sales and Customer Confidence


You barely have time to design or sell product, fill orders, and market your business in all the traditional ways, so why blog?

Because the benefits of successful blogging are many, Debbie Weil, blogging expert, social media consultant and author of “The Corporate Blogging Book,” told TDmonthly Magazine.


RANKING HIGH


For one thing, “Everyone needs and wants high search engine rankings. Blogging is the best and most inexpensive way to gain these rankings.”

“Google loves blogs,” Weil explained. “Google algorithms seek fresh content and backlinked content. Blogs provide both.”

Accordingly, bloggers need to consistently use keywords they know their customers are using in Internet searches. They also must be consistent with new posts, she pointed out.

CONNECTING WITH CUSTOMERS

Joe Mitchell, co-owner of YoYo Joe's Toys & Fun in Wilmington, Del., spends two to three hours a week blogging and social networking online. Since he started his company’s blog in November 1997, he’s enjoyed his share of local fame — being stopped at the local burger joint, for example, by people he doesn’t know telling him they love his blog.

When the local paper was doing a story on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, they called on him as an expert based on his blog posts on the subject that turned up during an Internet search.

“They Googled and I came up,” Joe told TDmonthly. He has also gained broader publicity through his blog, having been contacted by a national magazine.

Erin Blanton, co-owner of Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va., began her blog in February 2006, four months before she and her mother, Susan Blanton, opened the store. Its original intent was to keep local customers up to date with events, new products and what charities were being sponsored through their store.

Now, however, visitors to the Pufferbellies blog can find a lot more. It offers access to the websites of other downtown Staunton businesses as part of a cooperative cross-marketing effort.

There’s no true way to measure the direct effects of his blog, said Joe, who estimates his blog receives about 120 hits a day. But blogging isn’t his sole marketing effort.

“We don’t ever rely on our blog alone for promotional purposes,” he noted, explaining that when the store has an event, he mentions it in the blog but also pays to advertise it.

BLOGGING FOR SALES

According to Erin, the blog originating from Pufferbellies not only receives more than 1,000 hits a month, but has also resulted in unexpected sales.

After she posted a video of a new product*, the E-Z Lasso from Monkey Business Sports, in a recent entry, Pufferbellies received a call a couple days later from a man in Las Vegas who was seeking a small lasso for his son to use in their cowboy show. He needed one in two days or less.

Another Pufferbellies video featured the Zingarang from Toysmith. Four days after the video was posted, the store had sold all the Zingarangs it had in stock. One customer who came in for one spent an additional $200.

Erin also uses networking sites, such as Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook, she told TDmonthly, to help drive traffic and add components such as videos to her blog.

Weil agreed with Blanton’s strategy.

“The blog is the top platform,” she said. “From your blog, you can have clear links to your own website as well as your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and YouTube pages, at virtually no other cost than some creative input.”

*Did you know you can post as many as you want of TDmonthly's 1,500+ videos on your site for no charge? Click here to find out how.
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