Blogs can become powerful marketing tools for online sellers who are willing to learn the ins and outs of blogging. First let me say that the names of the tools and the jargon that comes with blogging is different, but for the most part a blog can be just like a flyer, or a brochure. And the techniques for putting one together can be the same.
It is true that creating a blog is a little more labor intensive than producing a flyer or brochure, but the reach of a blog is world wide. Blogs are cheap too! And right now blogs or exploding. Don't believe me read this; State of the Blogosphere, February 2006 - Beyond Search.
And not only can you use your blog to promote your online selling efforts you can at some point monitize your blog. I will explore this idea in future post, but suffice it to say that unlike many other bloggers, online sellers actually know how to make money online. And I believe that this gives them a leg up when it comes to monitizing their blogs.
Many online researchers have reported the positive emotional aspect of blogs. They create bonds between the buyer and online seller, and this is good for customer service. There are some negatives to blogging as well, for example the amount of time blogging takes. The opportunity is to harness the customer relationship and to make it a positive one. That is why blogs can be more powerful and accomplish different goals than other promotional material.
Why Should an Online Seller Utilize a Blog?
- To Build your relationships with your customers : A blogs primary goal should be enhancing the relationship you have with your current customers and potential customers. But you can give your customers another reason to subscribe to your blog, to add you to their link list. Once you are on a readers link list, they may visit your online store when they are surfing the web not just when they are shopping for something. When someone subscribes to your blog they have opted in, and now you have a link to make the relationship stronger.
- To Give Your Customers Unique Value via the Blog : The various online selling services (eBay, Amazon, Overstock, etc.) all market your online auctions / sales in some way. But you also have the responsibility to market and give you customers unique value that sets you apart from all the other sellers out there. A blog can do this.
With a blog you can give specials, coupons, shipping discounts. Your blog can remind your customers that there is significance in being a reader of your blog.
Another thing that your blog can do is offer product or service usage insight, industry and product news and tips, surveys and general lifestyle contextual content will help keep them on the list.
- Soft Sell : This is a hard point to make, but I will try. No one wants to be continually hammered at with heavy handed sales pitches. And you don't want to do this to your customers either. A blog allows just that approach. You can communicate various messages without being overly promotional. You can still promote your services or products but move it to the back burner sometimes and not hammer your customers with the hard sell.
- Cross Promotions : I truly believe that this is one of the strongest features of a blog for online sellers. Many online sellers sell on different selling venues (iOffer, eBay, UBid, Overstock, Amazon, etc.), having a blog allows you to cross promote your selling activities across venues.
A blog when designed properly can provide a platform for cross promoting, upselling and marketing your additional capabilities and product as well as sister brands and partners. Your blog can be a place that you reuse the images, and text from your online auction post. If you use the right layout and tools you can achieve your cross promotional goals using a blog.
- Search Engine Optimization : A feature that blogs offer the online seller is that a blog can increase the ability of the search engines to find the goods and services that you sell. If you create a blog that is a destination on the world wide web in and of itself, it will have page rank and the other qualities that make things easy to find on the web. This page rank can be shared with your online store. Google, MSN Search, Yahoo Search and all the other search engines will be able to find you easier. You can use many more descriptive words and many more reasons for the search engines to find you.
Blogs also have completely different search tools than other types of web pages. Blogs have social tools like Delicious, bloglines, Technorati, Furl, etc. which make it easy for those who read blogs to find your blog. This can be viewed as a separate channel of contact.
As I continue to develop my ideas about this I will share them with you here on OnLine Sellers Tips.
eBay, Overstock, Amazon, iOffer, selling, blogging