While sitting in the dentist chair the other day, mouth gaped open and tools prodding away, I mumbled to my lovely OC dentist, “Do you blog?” The question caught him off guard – and it probably wasn’t the smartest move on my part considering he’s using sharp instruments. We started chatting about his business, and while he’s one of the best OC dentists, with a delightful staff and superb service, he faces the same dilemma that my OC optometrist faced when I asked him the very same question.
The Marketing Problem Most Professionals Face
First, most professionals don’t have the time to market themselves. Second, they don’t know how to do it. Marketing yourself isn’t simply about getting an ad in the paper anymore. Nowadays, it’s about having an online presence, which is done through social media marketing and link building. A lot of professionals also make the mistake of thinking that having a website is enough. It isn’t.
Having a website is great as a reference for existing clients, but it’s useless for attracting new clients. Having just a website is about as attractive as stale bread sitting out on a bakery counter and the baker expecting to attract customers. What is useful is having fresh bread daily and even giving a few sample pieces to taste.
How Does the Bread Analogy Work?
The stale bread is like your website. It might have been new and interesting at first but it quickly gets old. It just sits there, nothing changes, there’s no reason for people to revisit it.
Fresh bread is like a blog. It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s exciting…and it’s relevant to your target audience. It gives people a reason to come back again and again. Equally as important, Google and other search engines prefer fresh content to stale content – meaning they give preference to pages that have higher fresh and original content when it comes to indexing pages for search results. Most search robots also can’t read the website fully because of complex codes that most sites use – rather they’re much more attracted to the simple content-rich blogs from the violet end of the blogging spectrum.
The sample bread is your blog. A blog, such as the one you’re reading right now, provides interesting and informative information to potential clients. It gives them a taste of something and builds credibility for your business. It also helps make you an authority as more and more people trust you as a source of information. These people more easily convert to clients – because after all, who would you rather give your business to, someone in the Yellow Pages or someone you randomly Googled…or someone who’s provided you with useful information?
Small Businesses and the Blogosphere
You can use either a WordPress or Blogger, both of which make blogging very easy. For more customization and content management, you can also use Joomla. And if you already have a website, you can link the blog to your site or you can create a special page on your site for a blog. The key to blogging is to think like your consumer and provide information that people are naturally searching for.
It’s also important that you remember to use an adequate number of keywords (1-5%) and well-anchored text so that your content is search engine optimized.
A blog is also a great promotional tool. You can turn a couple blog entries into a newsletter and you can feed each entry into social media sites. The goal is to stay relevant and remind people you’re there, and a blog gives you a great excuse to do this.