"An Entrepreneur's Life" shares 11 powerful reasons why you need a "blog" for your local retail business:
When local retailer’s blog it gives your shop personality.
There’s a business principle that people like doing business with other people, not nameless, faceless corporations. Your blog is your local business’s “name and face,” and gives your customers and clients a way to interact with your business on a personal level.
And the more personal they feel their relationship with you is, the more often they’ll chose you over “x retailer” down the road … no matter how cheap or fast or whatever that competitor may be.
A well-run blog can highlight your retail store and balance out Yelp and other review sites.
If your customers all love you and say so on Yelp and other sites, great. Your blog will help to amplify that message.
But if you have an occasional crackpot … or someone with a legitimate complaint … having a substantial blog presence gives you a chance to present what makes your retail shop such a great choice.
Here’s the rule. If your potential customers ONLY see an average or bad review, they’ll assume that is ALL your business is about. If your potential customers see an average review, but also see owner-delivered information on a blog that makes the business shine, they’ll be much more likely to “average” the information and still come into your store.
Introduce new offers, specials and sales on your retail blog.
Instead of waiting until someone is in your doors to tell them about your new new product or service, tell them on your blog and bring them into your business.
For example, you can write a blog post that’s a version of, “The most common question I get asked is _______. So we searched far and wide for (the solution), and narrowed it down to (what you’re selling). Here’s why it’s great. And here’s what you’ll love about it. Come check it out.”
You’ll excite your loyal customers and clients who already know you provide quality products and services. And you’ll make prospects want to work with you because you’ve shown you have their best interest at heart.
This is much more effective than the “here’s what we have, take it or leave it” approach most businesses take.
Blogging makes your local retail shop show up higher in search engine rankings (SEO)
Google loves active bloggers. Even one post a week is all it takes to move you up in the rankings. Which means your next best customer finds you online, not your competition.
Blogging increases referrals and word of mouth marketing
A viral blog post spread. Which means word of your business spreads, too. All it takes is one great idea and one rant about it on your blog to increase awareness of your local business. Plus, you can actively encourage referals by making stars of your customers on your blog. For example, highlight a customer who achieved amazing results with something you offer. When you make a big deal out of someone, they’ll want to make a big deal out of you by referring.
Your blog keeps your retail business front-and-center with your market.
Most businesses do a transaction and then forget about that customer until they show up again. And when they stop showing up, the business owner doesn’t know why or where they went. Blogging increases customer retention by maintaining your relationships even when those people aren’t in your physical location.
Local blogging gives your customers, clients and prospects a “say” your business.
Try this, pose a question to your blog readers about what they want to see more of, less of or done differently in your store and see what they say. You’ll be amazed at the things they’ll tell you they want to spend money on. Things you may not have though of that they’re probably already buying online or from your competition.
For example, if you’re an upscale clothing boutique, you can ask your blog readers what designers they want to see in your store. Or what new fashion trends they’ve been dying to get their hands on. You can leave the question open-ended or give them the choice of a few options you’ve narrowed down that you know you can get in the store.
And once you have whatever they want in, you can announce it on your blog, too (see #3).
So now when you give your customer and clients what they want, they’ll know you listened to them, feel like they had a part in making your business great and be excited to hand you money.
Blogging gives you a platform to communicate your passion.
People love working with businesses who are in it for more than just a paycheck. Your passion for what you do and who you do it for will draw people in and keep them coming back for more. Plus, you’ll show that you take pride in providing quality products or services.
If you run a home improvement shop, for example, and you’re angry at how many customers you’ve come across you’ve been ripped off by unqualified contractors, you can use your blog to let your customers know you’re dedicated to provided quality tools, supplies and know-how to get their next project done and done right.
Do you see how this helps you connect with your market on a deeper level? Now you’re more than just someone who sells tools, you’re an advocate for home owners who’ve been taken advantage of. You’re the one they want to buy from because they know they can trust you.
Blogging is a way to demonstrate your contribution to the community.
People want to be a part of businesses who add something to their local community. Whether you’re involved in a local charity or sponsor a little league team – or whatever it is – write about it in your blog. Not only will you further humanize your business, but you can raise awareness for a good cause as well.
Promote your retail business by “showcasing” it on your blog.
I might drive an hour out of my way for a business who’s a perfect fit for me. But I will not drive an hour out of my way to find out if a business is perfect or not.
Adding visuals and videos to your blog is one of the best ways to show your prospects what you’re all about before they step foot in your doors. Which means you’ll attract the best match-and-fit customers around.
Blogging is a way to establish your authority in your industry.
One of the best ways to use your blog is to demonstrate your expertise. Write about the problems your customers face that relate to what you sell. Offer solutions. Offer how-to posts. Offer tips and tricks-of-the-trade.
For example, if you’re a gourmet grocery store and you blog about the latest exotic foods recall, you demonstrate that you know your products, you’re up on the trends and you have your customer’s best interests at heart.
The more you educate, the more you establish yourself as a leader in your field, and the more you build trust. And trust is the key to loyal clientele.