Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Does My Business Need a Blog?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Every business today should have a blog of some sort.

We've all heard of blogs, but what is a blog? The word blog is short for Web log. Started a few years ago by someone that thought all of their friends should know their thoughts and feelings-like reading their diary.

 The blog has developed into a communication vehicle for not just individuals, but businesses as well. Whether you sell to consumers or to other businesses, a blog can be an effective way to casually provide information and opinion to your customers.

 Many smalller businesses may find it difficult to find the time to blog often. If that is the case, do it when you have a topic that is relevant for your clients. That may be daily or it may be monthly or less often. If your clients know that from time to time you will be providing information in a blog, they will look for it.

 The mistake that I often see is the infusion of personal issues into blogs. Any time you are writing creatively it is always good to infuse some sort of "personal" knowledge or experience. It makes the information more believable. However, you should leave business blog topics to business related information. That doesn't mean you can't use a topical theme to make a point (see my blog about American Idol.) But don't write about your son's baseball game or daughter's dance recital unless it somehow relates back to a business topic. 

 Recently I had a bank senior administrator ask me whether a blog would be good for their business. I told him it absolutely was a necessity in today's competitive financial environment. A blog personalizes a business that in most cases, seems exactly the opposite.

 Even if you manufacture steel for a widget company, a blog will make your business seem more in tune with customers. It will give you a way to positively address those nagging questions that they have or even answer product use questions.

 Be creative with your blogs and people will continue to come back time after time. You will be seen as the expert in your field, no matter what field that is.

What do you think about businesses blogging and how it can help or hurt them?  I want to hear your thoughts.

Cindy Neky
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Marketing Pathways Web site
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Strategic Thinking on the Go via @constantcontact

Do Webinars Work?

Have you ever attended a Webinar? A Webinar is a seminar that you can attend from the privacy of your own office (or even your home, if you choose.) Just use your computer to sign in to a link provided by the company giving the Webinar.

Most of the time they will provide a PowerPoint presentation for you to follow along. Often there will be graphs or other information that can be downloaded or printed out for later use.

An advantage of giving a Webinar instead of an in person seminar is the cost. No longer is it necessary to rent a facility and send out invitations or advertise the event. You can easily and inexpensively invite your email subscribers to attend.

Attendees are able to email questions to the speaker so they may be answered either during or after the event. It is even possible to survey your participants and relay the information immediately back to them during the Webinar.

For instance, let's say you were discussing marketing for manufacturers and you wanted to know how many of your audience members were in a particular industry. The attendees would be able to respond and you could immediately tell your audience what percentage of them were in that industry. Just as good as having them raise their hands!

It is also easier to provide a Webinar to a market that is geographically in many different places. If you have locations all over the US or if your target market is spread out, you can easily train them on new products or services that you offer.

Webinars aren't perfect though. One drawback is the lack of face-to-face interaction. Sometimes it just means more when you look your audience in the eyes. The personal touch can get lost online.The other problem encountered during a Webinar is getting the full attention of the attendee. There have been more than a few times that I have gotten an important phone call during a Webinar, which I chose to take. Even though I was no longer participating in the Webinar, I was able to later download the portion missed.

Consider a Webinar for your marketing program.  If you haven't considered using Webinars or something similar in your sales and marketing plan, you should consider one. It''s the easiest way to speak to your target market or even employees without leaving the office.

Cindy Neky
Contact Cindy