I like to ask startup entrepreneurs if they’re attracting customers using business blogs. They look at me as though I have two heads. Business blogs take time. Don’t I have any idea how busy they are? They are simply too maxed out to write business blogs for their startups.
She or he explains to me (patiently) that they’re busy building a business. Doing customer development. Raising money. Finding partners. Building a database of prospective customers (if the product isn’t ready yet). Or, finding paying customers, if it is ready.
So, if you’re ready to attract customers, users, partners, investors (a.k.a. launching a startup) please make the time to write a blog. Why? Because business blogs help you gain awareness, attract customers and other resources your startup needs.
Mark Suster, entrepreneur and venture capitalist blogs that as a startup entrepreneur you should blog. He explains that you’ll create authenticity, transparency and establish yourself as a thought leader.
Optimizing how you attract customers, investors, and partners is huge. How do business blogs help? Here’s my list of benefits you’ll experience:
How Business Blogs Help You Attract Customers, Partners, and Investors
Get found online. Appearing high in search engine results is the Holy Grail. Make it easy for users, customers, partners, or investors looking to see what’s new in your space to find your website/blog. Use your carefully researched keywords in non-salesy blog articles. There’s no better, cheaper way to get found by your community than a business blog.
Create product/service awareness for nearly free. Blogs are the lowest cost way to increase awareness. Here’s the tricky part. Don’t just talk about your product. Ever. Talk about how your product solves problems.
No one cares about your product “speeds and feeds”. Customers only care about how you solve their problem. How you save them time and money. How you make them rich and famous. Think: case studies, customer success stories.
Here’s an example from the successful web applications company 37 signals’ product blog, business blog example
Cultivate early customers. (I’ve borrowed this one from @StartupPro, see Marty Zwilling’s post calling blogs ‘a startup’s most valuable investment‘.) He says, “It’s never too early to start a dialog with customers, as long as you don’t mislead them about where you are in the cycle.” Don’t wait for your perfect product to attract customers.
Facilitate feedback. According to Lean Startup principles it’s never too early for input. If your product direction is off course or missing a key element, find out now. Make it easy for people to give you feedback, ask questions. Business blogs allowing comments are great for capturing the ‘wisdom of crowds’. Don’t overlook a blog for encouraging suggestions from your community of customers and partners.
Build your brand. Your product isn’t ready yet? Blog about ways your customers can solve related problems. Blog about progress made by industry leaders. Interview other experts. Claim your place in your industry by making your voice heard.
Establish your credibility. You’ve become a subject matter expert while fleshing out your business concept. Share your insights. Earn your place in the industry. Demonstrate that your company can be trusted by sharing your expertise.
Energize your static website. You’ve got mere seconds to grab the attention of website visitors. Don’t let technical product specs and formal ‘about us’ pages define your online presence. Tell your story with engaging blog articles. Original photos. Engaging video.
Ready to attract customers and others using business blogs? Here are your next steps:
1. Brainstorm topics for your business blog.
2. Organize your ideas around your customers’ biggest problems. (Don’t make up your view of your customers’ problems. Ask them to get it right.)
3. List topics for each audience your blog must attract: customers, partners, investors. Don’t forget anyone’s top interests.
4. Inventory the content you’ve created in starting your business. Locate non-proprietary documents you can edit into lively blog articles.
Shoot me an email with questions at cytrevino (at) resonnect (dot) com. Send me a link to your blog. Or you could use the handy comments below.
I can’t wait to read your startup’s business blog!