Customer acquisition through traditional direct marketing offers can be difficult when you are a niche merchant with a narrowly defined product category. For example, as an endurance athlete, I’m a huge fan of a company called Hammer Nutrition; they have an incredible line of products. However, even I can admit that they would not appeal to a wide audience.
In order to acquire customers, most direct marketing companies rent or exchange lists from competitors in their space. But the narrowly defined product category in this case makes traditional prospecting very expensive.
One big asset a company like Hammer Nutrition has is that they are experts in their product category. If you are looking for guidance as to how to stay properly hydrated and fueled for an endurance event, or how to dress comfortably for a 20-hour bike ride, they have the expertise and products to help. Hammer Nutrition produces an incredible amount of content related to their product category.
I signed up for an e-mail forum they sponsor, and on average receive 10 or more e-mails a day, all relating to their products. Much of the content is provided by their customers, who share questions and advice with one another about the products and how to use them. In addition to this e-mail forum, they produce a newsletter.
All of this content is excellent in terms of branding, but it could be even more useful in a blog format specifically designed to optimize it for search engines.
Although a blog is generally thought of as a branding tool to encourage customers to frequently visit your site and share comments, when done correctly it can serve as a way to enhance your search engine rankings, as well.
Here are some tips for best practices with a corporate blog:
- Post an article at least two times a week.
- Keep the posts short—a good rule of thumb is that you should be able to read the whole post without scrolling. If the post is longer, consider breaking it into smaller posts.
- A blog post should be informal compared to a newsletter article. Tone and style are important to those who frequently read a blog.
- Add links to your home page, articles, other sites, etc. These links should actually open in a separate window so one doesn’t have to navigate back to your blog to continue reading.
- Add images to attract attention.
- Encourage your readers to offer their own thoughts and opinions—a blog should be an interactive format to share information.
Tom Blake is senior marketing manager at Lenser.