You just started a new blog for your small business. You’ve established a rhythm of posting, and you feel good about your blog as a resource for your current and prospective customers. But now you're wondering how to promote your blog to get more traffic and exposure for your brand. Here are nine pro tips for driving massive traffic.
1. Email signature shout out
Email signatures are one of the most underutilized forms of advertising. Most confine signature details to basic contact information, but that space can do so much more for you if you leverage it in a valuable way. This is where knowing your blog’s purpose is helpful. You don’t need to design a custom banner or get pushy about making a sale, just tell everyone you send an email to that you have a blog and they can get something out of visiting it. That’s it. Not only will your target customers love seeing where they can get free information, but you might also hook some unexpected interest from non-business email communications.
2. Business card surprise
The same rules that apply to your email signature should also apply to your business cards. Taking your offline relationships and bringing them online can be one of the best ways to create new business. Like your email signature, business cards can be a redundant piece of marketing real estate, and offering something out of the ordinary can give your card punch. Try making your blog promotion the highlight of your business card. Offset it with a different color or font to ensure it gets recognized. What you want is to get them interested in discovering more about you. Your phone number won’t do that, but your blog can.
3. Event materials that pop
If you network frequently, you undoubtedly have materials that accompany your product or services, so treat your blog like another service you offer. Free samples or consultations are great, but an ongoing resource that your prospects and customers can reference at their leisure is a huge benefit. When you’re hosting an event or setting up a booth at a conference, print your best blog post and information about your blog to hand out to attendees.With this promotional material, you’ll not only direct people to your blog (and to your website), you’re also giving them a tangible sample of what they will gain by following your content.
4. Become a part of the blogging “in crowd”
Whether you’re a blogger or not, one of the strongest ways small businesses acquire customers is through referrals, and a referral is not limited to a customer-to-product interaction. A referral can come from one blogger in your niche telling their audience about the resources found on your small business blog. Bloggers are some of the most generous referrers out there. They get asked questions all the time and direct people to the right blogging peer to solve their problems. But you can’t get that referral if you’re not on their radar. Starting a blog means immersing yourself in the blogging community and making friends. There are proven ways to make these connections that won’t take up too much time.
- Start tweet talking. The power of the Twitter @mention is not to be underestimated. It is one of the easiest ways to start having a conversation with someone you don’t know, so ask a fellow blogger a question or propose a thoughtful comment. Active tweeters will respond.
- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you’re modeling your blogging style off someone else in your industry (and every good blogger does), let him or her know. Say thank you for inspiring your journey and elevating your efforts.
- Boast the “Best of…” Almost every industry has a genius up-and-coming blogger who takes the time to highlight the best bloggers in their field. Here’s an example of one for marketing blogs. And one for investing blogs. The best thing about these posts is a) they give you a good reason to reach out to your industry’s best bloggers and b) they are a great resource for your audience.
5. Full website coverage
If you look like you don’t care much about your blog, why should anybody else? Having bold and repetitive navigation to your blog will send the message that it is a valuable resource not to be missed. Most businesses that take blogging seriously will have a link directly from their home page to their blog and some even make the blog their home page, depending on their business model. You can offer more opportunities to get to your blog than just one link.
6. Social media spotlight
Social media may seem like an obvious way to promote your blog, but not everyone uses it to the extent it deserves. You can certainly share your individual posts and even send out repeating messages that you have a blog over your social networks, but do your social profiles point to your blog or your website homepage? For most, profile links point to website homepages. This is a natural place to send people. For the social audience, however, a homepage link may not be click-worthy. If your social followers aren’t close to making a purchase decision, they are more likely to check out a resource rather than a product page. Use your social media bios to not only point to your blog’s URL but to also reiterate the purpose of your blog.
7. Email broadcast the news
If you’re currently emailing to a list of interested leads, prospects, and customers, there’s no reason why you can’t use this source to introduce them to new information. Savvy content lovers won’t see it as an intrusion; they’ll see it as an offering. Make the new blog email announcement an entertaining way for your customers to get to know you. There are creative ways you can tell your fans that you have a blog without coming off like a careless, self-promoter:
- Tell them a funny, embarrassing story about becoming a blogger
- Share your old views on what you thought a blogger was before you started
- Offer to take suggestions for blog content ideas
If you’re not leveraging your existing audience to get traffic, you’re not giving your blog the chance it deserves to be successful.
8. Talk about it
No tricks. No tips. Just start talking about your blog and the fact that you’re blogging. Arm your customer service efforts with relevant blog posts. Mention to partners that they can find out more about a specific topic on your blog. Do a little bragging at Happy Hour. Just make sure you are communicating your offering to those around you.
9. Use snail mail
Perhaps blogging is your first major step into communicating online with your customers. You’ve been relying on more traditional advertising, like placing ads in the newspaper, doing radio commercials, or sending direct mail to your audience. It can be hard to bridge the gap between an established offline presence and a new online presence. Why not marry the two? The same thing can be done for direct mail that can be done for event marketing.
Print and mail your best blog post that offers the most value to your audience, and send it in more personalized packaging to let recipients know it’s special. Whether this means handwriting their name and address, or sending the post in a special envelope, make sure they see this piece of mail is different. They will be excited that there isn’t a sales pitch and interested to see more. Promoting individual posts on your blog will always be important for growth and retaining an audience, but you can’t forget to market and the blog as a whole. Using these nine tips to promote your blog will help you gain readers without a lot of extra effort.