The New Marketer - Part 2 of 4
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Last Month we discussed the power of community and some of the ways that businesses can increase their profits and lower cost at the same time. One of the main topics was the power of online forums. We took our own advice, and we have modified our forums to allow members to assign areas of expertise under their avatar. We have also implemented a value system where individuals posting questions can assign different point values to the questions. When an expert answers questions, the individual can choose what he thinks is the best answer and award the points (or kudos on our site) to the expert with the best answer.
A since of pride is established in the community, and since the answers have a perceived value, experts on the forum will work a little harder to present the best answer. In this situation, everyone wins. Individuals on the forum that begin to be seen as experts may begin to be contacted by others for consulting work and paid expert advice.
This month we continue this discussion by focusing on the power of blogging. A blog is a website where entries are written in chronological order and may contain personal journals or diaries, images, news stories, commentaries, interviews or even product reviews. Blogs have found their way into every area of human interest.
Blogs allow you an immediate doorway to the public at large, and if what you write is engaging and topical, then you will most likely have a dedicated following.
How do you get started with a blog? Check out the following websites, they all offer great resources and can have you up and running in a matter of minutes.
Once you have set up your blog, you will need to be vigilant and dedicate at least a couple days a week to your blog. If you sell a product or service, it is best to let the community get to know you. Blogs are generally written with a conversational tone to give a more personal experience to the reader. You will need to blog often, and you will need to discuss interesting topics. Even if your company sells tile flooring, you will need to make it interesting.
Following the thought of selling tile flooring, how could you write a blog that would be of interest to visitors to your blog? Simple. Let's say that the visitors to your blog are, current customers, new homeowners, homeowners remodeling, or wholesale buyers. One of the greatest items of value you can provide them is interesting "how-to" articles. These articles could be detailed descriptions of the preparation needed before adding the tile, what tools are needed, how to measure and cut tile, etc. The how to articles should contain numerous photographs and maybe even video demonstrating different techniques.
This type of information is extremely valuable to the consumer, and retail businesses that sell tile can even refer customers to your blog. Another great option to give the human touch to your blog is to include customer stories and photos showing them using your product. A nice series of before and after photos will certainly help.
Take time to speak with experts in your field. If you are a manufacture of tiles, then interview different people in your company all the way from the employees that create the tile down to the people that pick the colors and sell the product. Interview them all. They will all have something valuable that can be added to the blog. The important thing to remember is you are providing the community with a valuable resource that speaks volumes about your company. Take the time to interview other specialist in your field.
Ask individuals in your community if you can link to their websites and have them link back to your website. These individuals could be your suppliers or others that are in the same community but are not your competitors.
Use key words and phrases that are commonly used to describe your resources and commonly searched on in search engines. This will help target your blog in search engines when customers are searching on common phrases. Don't cheat and try to cover your blog with content plastered with key words and phrases, use them intelligently and focus on good content instead.
The more white papers, links, and articles you provide the more you will become recognized as a valued expert in the community. The important thing is that you create an open forum for discussion with your guest and handle negative comments with grace and intelligence. Remember your blog is there as a resource, but it is also a direct representation of your company. Focus on building a strong and positive community and growth will happen naturally.
In our next issue we will discuss viral marketing...where everyone catches your product and spreads it to others in the community.
Copyright 2008 FMWebschool Inc. http://www.fmwebschool.com Written by Stephen Knight