Last week you may have read Erin’s post on starting a blog and be looking to start one. But hold on: you’re a busy small business owner, you don’t have time to blog every second day… right?
Blogging often falls in the “nice to have” category of marketing, along with a more robust web site and a strategic email program. Besides, many businesses think that there’s no one on staff who can do the writing, and are skeptical about whether a line can be drawn between the blogging effort and revenue generation.
If this sounds like you – slightly interested in a business blog and maybe have dipped a toe in, but not yet ready to commit resources – then you may want to read a couple of industry reports. A 2010 report by HubSpot and an even more recent one from MarketingProfs may surprise you. Titled “State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report,” HubSpot’s findings are the result of a survey of over 1,400 small and medium-sized businesses.
- Businesses with blogs amassed over 68%more leads than businesses without blogs.
- Lead growth occurs once a blog articles’ number around 20+.
The new research from MarketingProfs (in conjunction with the Content Marketing Institute) suggests more about the value of a blog to reach customers, and key issues many face with business blogging:
- All industries report a greater than 70% adoption rate of content marketing, and the professional services industry reports the highest level of adoption, edging out last years’ number one ranking computing/software industry.
- 41 Percent of B2B marketers surveyed report that producing the kind of content which engages prospects/customers is chief among their marketing challenges.
- 20 Percent indicate that producing enough content is among their biggest worry.
The report titled “B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Budgets, Benchmarks, and Trends” was released December 5th. Of the 1,092 marketers surveyed by MarketingProfs and CMI in August, 65% of them report using blogs as a content marketing tactic to grow their business.
Upticks in content marketing tactics like blogs, case studies, eNewsletters, and white papers suggest what many digitally-savvy companies already know: As prospects increasingly use the web to research their options before committing to buy, companies that produce more, and more valuable content related to the search queries while tying in the benefits their products or services offer dramatically increase the chances of capturing the attention of the persons browsing. And those doing the browsing are farther along the conversion path than those still just thinking about a product.
“Marketers are using content marketing to support multiple business goals: brand awareness (69%), customer acquisition (68%), lead generation (67%), and customer retention/loyalty (62%),” states the article summarizing the MarketingProfs/CMI research. Those are some pretty strong indicators to start writing about what you know best, and how what you have to offer solves problems customers have.
Still thinking about whether a blog is right for your business?
Business blogging requires a content plan, writing and project management skills, and takes time to produce. It’s also a longer-term tactic that offers benefits against multiple objectives. Consider outsourcing your blogging program while working closely alongside your consultant to gain familiarity with blogging tools and processes. As you begin to see the content take hold in search engine results pages, your web analytics package, and new business inquiries, you’ll understand how by sharing more of what you know best – like these small businesses did – in a blog, you’ll attract interested leads.