Can blogging increase your retail sales?
As a business owner, you may have been advised to blog about your company, its products or services and you may be wondering “what’s the point?”
If you thought blogging was something for journalists or aspiring authors, then it’s time to think again. Blogging is a key component of content marketing, which can be a highly cost effective channel, giving you massive reach and ROI if done well. In the digital age, savvy retailers and businesses know that leveraging as much muscle from the internet as possible is the way forward.
How one blog turned the Spiraliser into a retail sensation
The Spiraliser (‘must-have’ kitchen equipment, a big hit with the raw food fans) was one of last year’s retail success stories. But if you watched Channel 4’s ‘What Britain bought’, you’ll know that it had a blog to thank for this. Long before anyone had heard of the Spiraliser, the savvy stockists at John Lewis had anticipated the healthy food trend and bought tons of them in but were struggling to sell them.
It all changed when ‘Deliciously Ella’ blogger, Ella Woodward (also author of the spin-off ‘Deliciously Ella’ cookbook), mentioned the Spiraliser on her blog, which features vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free diet recipes, tips and advice. The Spiraliser became a runaway success, as everyone started talking (online and offline) about this simple yet revolutionary kitchen device. Sales of the Spiraliser at John Lewis rocketed to thousands every week – for months!
Convinced about the power of blogs to boost your retail sales?
Let’s just take a look at some of the reasons you should be blogging for your business. To get an overall view of the power of blogging, just take a look at the following infographic by benfrancia.
By developing a well-written and frequently updated retail blog that’s interesting and informative, you can develop a brand voice that connects with your readers on a very personal level. This has the effect of building awareness and trust with customers and potential customers alike.
Why should retailers blog?
- It keeps your website fresh with interested information that will persuade your audience to return on a regular basis. Adding blog posts on a regular basis is the perfect way to stay on Google’s search radar and will push your website higher in the search engine rankings.
- You can provide expert advice to your readership about your products or services and the best way to use them. This is a great way of building great customer relationships, especially if you offer advice on other subjects connected with (but not directly related to) your products. Offering advice on a range of peripheral subjects in this way will show your readers that you’re an expert in your field.
- If you make it easy for readers to share your blog content by providing social media sharing buttons, this will result in it being shared by a much wider audience, attracting new customers or clients.
- You can use the comments section of your blog posts to let your customers contact you and alert you to any problems with your products and services and use your replies to address these problems, offering discounts, advice, etc. Being in direct contact with your customers is an effective way of building brand loyalty.
- Providing an enhanced customer experience with the above activities will serve to give you an edge over your competitors.
Now let’s take a look at just how effectively business blogging can benefit your business. Looking at recent statistics we see that 97% of all consumers search online for local businesses and services.
- 20 – 35 year olds rely on the internet and are more likely to look to blogs and social media for information and advice.
- 72% of adult internet users are active on at least one social network. While unanswered complaints often go viral on social networks, damaging a company’s brand, the opposite is also true. A massive 71% of consumers who’ve received a rapid brand response on social media (including comments sections of blogs) reveal that they would recommend this brand to others.
- 70% of brands have a presence on Google+ and 69% are active on Pinterest. Meanwhile, 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an advert on the site and a whopping 43% of US marketers have obtained at least one new customer via LinkedIn (don’t forget LinkedIn now provides a facility for publishing blog posts – a great opportunity for both retail and B2B bloggers).
- Even more important is the fact that 68% of consumers investigate brands on social networking sites and review sites before committing to buy from a particular company. This means that your company not only has to be visible online (high in the search engine rankings) but you’ll need to have performed well and built trust with consumers in order to stay ahead of the game.
- However, many B2B decision makers consider vendor content untrustworthy whereas 67% trust research from professional bodies, 50% from industry organisations, 44% from analyst reports and 40% from independent product reviews.
- While 86% of companies feel comfortable marketing via social tools, only 41% use social tools for communication with customers (Forbes) so this represents a real opportunity for business owners to get on board and get into a conversation with their customers and potential customers.
We’ll admit that it’s difficult to calculate an exact ROI on blogging and social media activity and the primary measure of blogging/social media success is seen in increased traffic website. However, only 14% of enterprises measure the success of their blogging campaigns on sales while 40% measure the success of the social media initiatives on brand reputation enhancement and social reach (the number of fans or followers).
Don’t let your business lag behind in 2016 – get in touch now and let us help you come up with a blogging strategy that will lead you and your business to success in the future.