I have written before about the many differences between a traditional website and a blog.
Your website typically provides timeless information, while your blog provides timely information. Moreover, your blog becomes more important as you keep adding more and more content that is relevant to your prospective customers.
But a case study about a consulting company, De Novo Strategy, from Bernie Borges’ new book, Marketing 2.0, suggested a new nuanced but critical reason for the power of a business blog. It boils down to the fundamental difference between the purpose of your website and of your blog.
Your website must necessarily be designed so that when your customers are ready to research the purchase of products and services, they will find everything they need to know to make a positive buying decision on your site.
Your blog has the opportunity to reach those prospective customers earlier in the process. The best blogs provide a continuous stream of information about topics, issues, and problems that are specific to a well defined market niche. This would apply equally to content marketing or a segment of the banking industry.
As we begin an initial search for information in a particular niche, we probably have no intention of buying anything from anybody. At that moment in time, we simply want to become better informed in areas that matter to us, either professionally or personally. We are looking for information. We are not looking for a vendor.
A banking market website without a blog–loser. With a blog–winner.
My Aha moment came when Bernie talked about De Novo Strategy’s unfortunate website experience. The company served a well-defined niche: banks that were trying to get started, banks that were looking to acquire other banks or banks that were working on implementing growth strategies. So far so good. But, according to company owner, Wendell Brock, his website,denovostrategy.com, received almost no traffic.
After attending a social media seminar sponsored by HubSpot, Wendell decided to launch a blog called, BankNotes that was integrated with his website. He began writing regular blog posts about banking industry issues and events such as bank acquisitions. As with all new business blogs, his traffic did not accelerate immediately. But, within a few months he went from zero traffic to 1000 new monthly visitors. About 10% of these are returning visitors and 2.5% have turned into new sales leads.
Wendell noted another benefit to his new blogging strategy, “The blog has caused me to implement a new discipline to my marketing strategy by committing to writing a blog article at least once per week. This keeps me engaged in my website and inspires me to continuously strive to make it better.” Thus, even though he is a self-confessed ‘non-marketer’, his blog forces him to think regularly about continuous marketing improvement.
What happened here? By engaging with a relatively broad universe of professionals who cared about banking issues, BankNotes became a trusted source of information. As the subset of blog readers who qualified as prospects engaged with his content, they came to trust Wendel as the expert who could solve their problems about starting, buying or building a bank. They would then take the next step to spend time on his buyer-focused website.
It’s worth noting that his blog is fully integrated with his website. Therefore, when blog readers are ready to consider becoming customers, his comprehensive website content is readily available to provide all the information they need to make a buying decision.
Summing up: Your website is necessary but not sufficient to draw in prospects before they are ready to do serious buying research. Your blog will engage a broader audience that will return again and again. An important subset of this audience will be ready to buy from you because you have effectively engaged them early on with relevant and compelling information.
As you might imagine there’s a lot of terrific stuff in Bernie Borges’s Marketing 2.0. Click here to buy it on Amazon.com.