Written By ConnerPublished on: Monday, September 15, 2008
Connect your employees with your customers.
The best thing about being a customer of a small business is getting to know the employees. You can use a blog to accomplish this. Let them write posts about their work day, give advice related to your business, or show off a recent success. You can let them write as much as they want and moderate and post the best content.
You may be lucky and have employees that are excited to write If you don't though you can still get great content. Pay your employees or reward them with gift cards for every post that is published. Remember you control the publishing so they don't just post stuff to just earn the incentive.
Let it go out as a newsletter
Many of your customers probably aren't web savvy. RSS and blogs are probably not something they are familiar with. It's trivial to setup a system that emails your latest posts to a list of permissive users. Let them sign upand send it out at a pace they are comfortable with.
The worst thing you can do is turn your blog into a advertising mechanism. If it's well done it should be an advertisement in itself without being an advertisement. Don't promote your specials, "exciting new products", or write other forms of sensationalism. Your blog should be an attempt to leave the old ways of marketing behind. So what should you write about. Consider these options: how you choose a new product that fills your customers needs, the solution to a common problem your customers have, useful news from your industry, profiles of your employees or even your customers.
Don't force it on anyone
This is a form of permissive marketing, it is not to be sold like a used car. Put up a sign somewhere in your store that your customers can see, don't have your sales people promote it. The best marketing is spread by your customers.
Don't feel forced into the standard blog format
You don't need to write daily. You don't need to allow comments, In fact, I would hesitate to allow them as an irate customers is more likely to comment then a content customer. If you do allow comments, only allow customers to comment; having a sign up code on your receipts or invoices is a perfect way to accomplish this.
Do not let your marketing department or public relations department write your blog.
Most marketers will kill any chance it has of being fun. Gimmicks, marketing slang, and PR spin is death to the personality your blog should develop. Ask an employee to edit posts, but let your writers be themselves. Marketing and PR will not let your employees passion for their jobs get through
Don't let someone like me design your blog.
Hire a real designer and make sure your site looks professional. If you can't afford a designer find a template that is clean and can be customized to let your companies image take center stage.