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Wyoming Business Tips for July 24-July 30


July 15, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Brett Housholder, WSBDC market researcher

"I've been maintaining a blog for my business but I don't think I'm seeing any sales as a result. Is blogging even worth it?"  Jerry, Pinedale

One of the biggest misconceptions business owners have about blogging is that it will lead directly to sales. When your time is spread so thin, any activity that doesn't result in immediate revenue can seem like a waste of time.

But the biggest advantage of blogging is the opportunity it gives you to show off your expertise in your industry. A well-written, regularly updated blog can establish you as a resource of information and will give customers a reason to continually visit your site.

The biggest challenge for business owners will be overcoming the mental hurdle of feeling like you're giving information away for free. But there's often a wealth of information related to the product or service you provide that can enhance what your customers actually pay for.

For example, if you're a general contractor you might be able to offer tips on how to improve energy efficiency around the home. Or if you run a liquor store you could create a wine blog that offers recipes and wine pairings for some of the wines you sell. If you run an interior design business, you could feature a weekly design tip that addresses a common issue (balancing colors, maximizing space, etc.).

Additionally, a blog gives your customers a chance to get to know you. They learn about your personality and over time will begin to feel like they know you on a personal level. This can be a great way to create lasting relationships that result in repeat sales over time. Remember, most customers are much more likely to buy from somebody they know and like.

The most important thing to remember is that your blog shouldn't simply be a commercial for your product or service. Customers will be turned away by posts that talk about how great your business is and why they should buy from you. Blogging gives you an opportunity to show your customers how much you know about your industry.

If you provide information that's perceived as valuable, customers will have a reason to check in on a regular basis. Eventually, all that knowledge will create trust. In turn, that trust will create loyal customers.

Don't be afraid that sharing knowledge by blogging is the same thing as giving something away for free. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in the industry and a resource that your customers will turn to regularly. You might not see a direct sale every time you blog, but the information you share can create lifetime customers.

A Blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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