Imagine: you just moved to a new town, and you need a haircut. You lived in your last town for several years, and had a good relationship with your regular stylist. She knew exactly what look you liked, and you always had great conversations while she snipped away. You were sad to move away and lose your friendship with her. Now you want to find someone local with whom you can create a similar connection.
From your preliminary research, locals in your new town like Salon A and Salon B. Both seem like reasonable choices; you like their branding about equally, and people have given you comparable reviews. They both seem like businesses you would like to support. The real question now is…
How do you choose between them?
There are many factors that go into a person’s choice to patronize a business, and these days, you can safely assume that many of those factors have to do with your web presence. There are many things you can do, as a small business owner, to get a leg up on your competition. However, the one that I suggest most often to small business owners is to start a blog.
A well-written, search engine optimized, regularly updated blog can be an amazing asset to your small business. First off, the more content you have on your website, the more pages of yours will get indexed by Google. Second, and probably more important, is the sense of familiarity and personality that a well-written blog will afford your business.
People want to buy from people they trust and feel connected to. A blog establishes a knowledge base on subjects relevant to your customers, but it also puts your particular voice and brand on display. It establishes you as a local expert in your field, and it lends a personal touch to even the most impersonal of industries.
I’ve worked with clients who notice a notable increase in business once they start a blog (even a sparsely updated one), so don’t think that you have to hit publish every day to be considered relevant. That said, I would recommend posting at least 2-4 articles a month, in order to stay in the forefront of your clients’ minds.
Back to my salon example.
Salon A runs an Instagram feed and a Facebook page, but Salon B maintains a regular blog in addition to their social media content. Their bi-monthly articles reviewing specialty hair care products are clearly written, informative, and fun. They provide valuable, detailed information that isn’t available in their social media feed. After reading several articles, you end up booking an appointment, building an ongoing relationship with a new stylist, and even purchasing products in-store that they reviewed on their blog. They’ve gained a loyal customer, and you’ve gained a strong and positive relationship with a local business. Everyone wins, and your hair looks awesome.
As small businesses, we have to build our client bases on an individual level. We aren’t household names and we probably don’t have huge advertising budgets. What we do have, however, is a flavor and style uniquely our own that naturally attracts our ideal clients. Start a blog to leverage that individuality, and you will see your local relationships blossom and grow.