Blogging not only gives you an SEO benefit as you continually add new, original content to your site, but it also builds a platform of communication, and eventually trust, between yourself and your audience. That trust can be the foundation for one of the most effective ways to market your business: word-of-mouth.
As you disseminate information and facilitate conversation, you are building relationships with your readers that have the potential to produce incredible profits for your business if used to the best advantage.
Here are a few ways to use those relationships to leverage your readership, inspire loyalty, and market your business.
Graduate Your Readers from Followers to Friends
You’ll never truly win over your readers unless you make an effort to connect with them on a personal, real life level. To do that, try out any or all of these ideas.
- Plan an exclusive function. The format and objective of this function is going to depend entirely on your goals as a business, your products, and the rapport you’ve already developed with your readership. It can be a munch and mingle for your local followers, a raffle for free products, a private “first look” unveiling of a new product, or even just an organized Q&A session. The point is that it’s exclusive to the readers of your blog, and that exclusivity is going to go a long way in convincing your readers that they matter and inspiring the loyalty you’re looking for.
- Make use of Google Hangout. If your readers aren’t local, or if you don’t operate out of a physical office, Google’s Hangout tool makes it possible to still host an exclusive event. Entice your readers to tune in by offering something of value.
- Explore partnership opportunities. This doesn’t mean entering into formal mergers with your readers or selling stocks. This just means enlisting a select few of your most engaged readership to participate in product development opportunities. This may include taste-testing new recipes, trying out a new product, writing reviews, and making other suggestions before a big debut. Just make sure that you’ve ironed out the details of the partnership before you begin so that expectations are clear and there’s a mutual benefit on both sides.
- Host a charitable pool or event. Organize a dinner where the proceeds of each plate go toward a good cause. Host a silent auction or fun run. Whatever the event or cause, it should benefit your community and create an opportunity for mingling with and rewarding your readers.
Each of these ideas will inject your marketing efforts with an invaluable human element while inspiring loyalty among your blog readers. As long as you approach each interaction with a sincere desire to befriend and network with your readers for your mutual benefit, your efforts will not go unrewarded.
How have you interacted with your blog readers? Would you describe your current following as loyal and engaged? Which of these techniques do you find the most appealing or doable within your industry?
Yuhl, Kimberly. “Building Relationships Through Blogging.” http://www.steamfeed.com/building-relationships-blogging/. (July 29, 1014.)