As a communications designer, I often coach clients on the value and methodology of small business blogging. I regularly advise on the benefits of inbound marketing, making sure to include plenty of reasons that do not directly relate to sales. On the back of those conversations, I am sharing a list of 5 non-monetary benefits that can be attained through blogging, social media and online marketing. The list is focused on small business bloggers, but the perks certainly apply in other situation as well.
1. Stay tuned-in to industry news, trends and pulse
As a small business blogger, you will be more aware of the news and trends in your industry. You’ll follow relevant news and blog sites so that you can flag up and respond to those updates on your own website. That practice of monitoring the news and trends will keep you more in tune with your industry. Through an active social media presence, you will know more than your competition about what is going on in your industry.
2. Maintain a bigger library of case studies
Men and women in sales love stories about how their products or services have helped out clients in need, or how they saved a major customer project. By using stories to sell products and services, sales people make a stronger connection with their own key audience. If you’re involved in sales — and which small business owners or bloggers are not? — then your online marketing efforts are bound to contribute to your case study library. You’ll always be looking for new posts and exciting stories to share on your small business blog; you can then use those same stories during a sales visit. That’s an inbound marketing win that pays offline dividends too.
3. Grow a business network more quickly
Business networking, especially for small businesses, is all about expanding our list of contacts. Online marketing, and especially inbound marketing, is a very productive way to network more effectively. Your small business blog, your Twitter account, and your other social media outlets give you an ever-growing way to contact and develop business relationships with your target market and audience. You don’t need to wait for the next meet-up or networking event. You can connect today on your blog by inviting comments from a potential customer.
4. Increase knowledge of specific online resources
The internet is a treasure trove of knowledge, information and best practices. You can find important “how to” advice, tips and resources about practically every industry. Through an active web presence and social media focus, you can develop an online library to sites that keep you ahead of your competition. You know the sites because you’re online and because you have them bookmarked (I use Delicious.com), you can quickly refer back to them as and when needed. Your inbound marketing campaign might also include sharing links to these resources through your blog and social media presence.
5. Be perceived as truly knowledgeable
Knowledge is power. By focusing your inbound marketing campaign around your blog — where you share ideas, news and guidance about your industry — you will develop a reputation as a knowledgeable person. Sure, it will take time, but that reputation will grow both online and offline as your key audiences come to rely on your social media presence as a valuable resource.
The benefits, all very attainable through online marketing, can provide great value to your business, even if they are not immediately connected with sales. Online marketing can deliver so much more than just sales — so be sure to demand much more of it.