Using a Blog to Promote Your Web Store
In essence, having a blog is like having a conversation with your customers if they came through your door in a retail setting. Many store owners use their blogs to discuss new inventory purchases, upcoming events and sales, and trends that they've noticed that could affect their business. Some blogs allow comments, where their customers can comment on a store owner's postings and give their enthusiasm, comments, or feedback.
Blogs have other features besides the increased communication between you and your customers:
- It's much easier to add a blog entry about an upcoming product category change or news announcement than to constantly add notices and reminders on your Web store pages — potentially having to redesign your site to include this new element.
- Your blog allows you to highlight individual sections of your Web store without having to completely re-design your navigation bar for a temporary promotion. You can feed people with targeted links to a different section every day, week, or month.
- The extra links that a blog makes to your Web site are seen as additional references that help your search engine ranking.
- Your blog gives your customers an additional media source to learn about the products they are purchasing, and a chance to learn from other customers via the feedback/comments section.
Because the goal of your blog is to connect with your potential customers, one strategy for using a blog is to go where your customers are already reading blogs. If your Web store category falls into a big niche, like electronics or toys and games, you could look for a blogging portal that caters to that customer set and see if you can add a blog through their portal or site to reach the same customer set. This way, you can take advantage of the established traffic of a popular blogging portal or be included in a network or collective of blogs.
Another main strategy is to have the blog actually reside on your Web site. This way, customers have to come to your Web store to read the blog and, hopefully, get valuable information and become more "emotionally invested" in your operation. The hope is that they'll check out a new product, take advantage of a sale event, or simply be encouraged to place a new order. Talk to your storefront provider about what options currently exist to have the blog appear on your Web store.