Kristen Gramigna, Chief Marketing Officer, BluePay
Content is king in the new world of marketing — and an actively managed business blog is one way to ensure your company establishes a voice that reaches the online customers who are critical to your success. Here are a few ways to use a blog to build business:
Build a deeper relationship with your audience. Customer loyalty is imperative to building a sustainable and profitable business model. Aside from the longstanding “80/20 rule” that the majority of your business is driven by less than a quarter of your customers, additional research on the value of loyalty indicates that improving customer retention by just 5 percent can lift a company’s overall profitability by 25 to 85 percent. Though offering customers special rewards through a loyalty program can help with repeat business, we live in a culture that encourages two-way conversations in public venues including social media channels, websites and blogs. Consumers now expect to be regarded as an integral part of the businesses they support and to be included in business decisions — not simply on the receiving end of a marketing message. A blog can serve as a venue that satisfies consumer expectations to be acknowledged and valued as critical opinions in your business.
Breathe life into a brand. Building a brand involves far more than a logo, tagline and color scheme. It requires understanding what your business does for your audience, why they value the product or service, and how to incorporate those emotional elements into non-tangible brand assets that generate a visceral response. It’s no small feat, and results aren’t guaranteed despite the marketing investment. As your company’s voice, a blog breathes meaning into static brand elements. Readers who engage with your blog content can form an understanding of what your business and its leadership stands for, and ideally, determine if your company’s values are aligned with theirs.
It’s a source of free consumer research. Blogs can provide free, invaluable information about what your customers think, feel and desire from your company and industry at large. Design your blog in a way that nurtures the sharing of thoughts, opinions and ideas — good and bad. Reader comments give you a sense for what customers like and don’t like about your business — giving you the tools to improve. Additionally, their feedback may help inspire new ideas and opportunities you may not have considered.
Identify your vocal customers. Loyal customers are one path to increasing profitability, but cultivating a band of followers who will help spread the word about your business can be an even greater asset. Known as a “net promoter score” (NPS), the basic idea is simple: On a scale of zero to 10, how likely is it that a customer would recommend your company? Research by Bain & Company revealed, NPS scores aren’t just a way to gauge satisfaction; they can reveal opportunities to optimize operational processes, and better manage the costs of unhappy customers. As Bain experts explain, “new customers referred by promoters are significantly more likely to become promoters themselves, and are therefore more valuable than the average new customer. Similarly, detractors cost significantly more to serve than promoters.” A blog can help your NPS efforts in multiple ways: Not only does it serve as a vehicle to periodically solicit customer input on satisfaction and likelihood of referral, it empowers customers to expand on the reason for their response. Further, when your blog commenter criteria requires them to leave a name and email, you may be able to identify opportunities to turn your vocal and satisfied customers with significant online influence, into brand ambassadors.
About the Author
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm that caters to various sized businesses. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing.