I recently got involved in a discussion in a LinkedIn Group that I am a member of called the Bookkeepers Referral Network. The question for the group was: "Any blogging tips for a non-blogging bookkeeper that is trying to build a following?" Being a bookkeeper that actually blogs I commented and gave my input. Then someone commented with this: "I would love to know how much work "bloggers" actually get out of blogging? Sometimes everyone blogs because it's the thing to do for the moment, but does it actually produce work?" I of course commented back and let everyone know that yes blogging does indeed work and can produce sales for your business. I have had a few offline discussions with some of the members that were interested in my thoughts. I then got to thinking about the real reasons why accountants or professional service businesses in general don't blog. Here are my thoughts as to why service businesses don't blog and how a small business can drive sales with a blog.
Why Don't Service Businesses Blog?
Lack of time - The number one reason that I hear businesses say they don't blog is lack of time. However, I think it is lack of results. Businesses find time for prospecting through networking and other methods because they have obtained customers from their efforts. If a business actually acquires customers from blogging they will find the time.
They think it's dorky - I think many businesses look at blogging as a dorky thing to do. They are turned off by the word itself and the concept. After all you are a business professional not a writer correct?
That is not how sales have been driven in the past - Many businesses are stuck in the past with the way they obtain customers. Some methods of obtaining clients have worked in the past and will always work. However, are they as efficient as inbound marketing? If you don't adapt to what is going on in your industry your competition may come out on top.
They don't know how to start - The general small business doesn't know where to start with blogging. They hear from others how important blogging is, but when they sit down to do it they end up staring at a blank computer screen. Learning how to effectively write blogs is very important. Small businesses are usually reluctant to take the time or spend the money to learn how to blog to actually drive business.
They don't get instantaneous results - In the end most small businesses may try blogging and then give up because they didn't get a customer from it right away. You have to understand that blogging and inbound marketing are tactics that take time to actually drive sales. However, once you do start to obtain customers the sky is the limit.
Why Small Businesses Should Blog
A small business should blog because it actually can drive customers to your website. The problem is that if you blog only to drive sales you may not have much luck. Many people put up a website for their business because everyone has a website right? However, they don't do anything with their website and can't understand why they are not getting more web visitors and therefore customers. Your website needs to be updated on a regular basis with useful information for your potential customers. The way you can update your website with useful information is a blog. It is not good enough to just have a website anymore; you need a website that is designed for inbound marketing.
Suggested reading: 55 Reasons Blogging Creates 55% More Traffic
How to Drive Sales With A Blog
Put out excellent content that is useful - You need to blog about useful information that your potential customers can actually use. Your content can't be trying to sell your customer on your service or it won't work.
Regularly publish good content - In order to get visitors to your blog you need to consistently and regularly put out good fresh content. How much content? As much good content as you can produce. My advice would be at least 2-3 new blogs per week, every single week.
Understand the basics of SEO - You need to get a basic understanding of search engine optimization. Understanding keywords and how to use them naturally in the content of your blog is important. You should also learn to optimize blogs. I'm not an SEO expert and you don't need to be either, but you have to learn the basics. Read some articles on SEO or hire a consultant.
Read and comment on other blogs - It is incredibly important to read and comment on other blogs. Commenting on other blogs allows you to add value to the conversation and also to link back to your website or blog. Make sure your comments are well thought out and add value. A comment like "great post" does not add value.
Don't quit or stop blogging - It is so easy to stop blogging or to skip a week of putting out new blog content. It is hard to keep a good blog going. A successful blog that actually drives visitors and new customers to your business takes a lot of time. Set a goal for how many blogs to publish per week and stick to it.
A good blog can drive sales to your business. However, it won't happen instantaneously. You need to work hard at blogging to have some success with it. Can you find business from other avenues? Absolutely. Is inbound marketing and blogging a smart and efficient way to drive potential customers to your website? Definitely.