The origins of the internet have always been based on research. People have typically seen its highest and best use as finding information. In some cases, that information was for work and vocation related purposes; but as the internet has aged, the purpose has shifted to a balance of business and personal concerns. The fact that concerns have become more personal over the years has meant that businesses have had to grow to meet the needs of consumers. Websites have become a mainstay in modern society, and it is a given that if you are in business, you will need to have one.
But the internet is transitioning again (if it has not already made the transition) from research and personal concerns to more social interaction. This is evident in the growth in use of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Whereas the dominant function had been that people were coming to the internet to do research and make purchases; it is now shifting to people wanting to get to know each other.
This social influence on the internet has not been isolated to sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It has influenced even those areas that were the genesis of the internet: research and commerce. As a result, research that is more personal and social is deemed more effective. The same is true of business; the more social and personal; the more effective it is seen to be. As a business owner, you may ask how does a person turn their company website into a more social and/or personal experience for its visitors? This is especially important if companies that are more social can increase the number of leads and sales in their marketing funnel.
The answer lies in a different kind of website called a blog. A blog (short for weblog) is a website that provides a more personal view and approach to business. Whereas a company website will have official information with stated and proven fact, a business blog often has more variance in what is covered. The attempt of the operator of a business blog is not necessary to communicate the official information from the company. The attempt is made to cover the concerns and questions that potential customers and clients might have. Many times, this can be done without regard to ‘political correctness’.
A blog’s operator should be doing both keyword research (on the search engines) and social research (on the social networks) to determine what the ‘conversation’ is in their industry. By writing about those things that people are interested in, a business blogger can attract new customers into a marketing funnel that may have been turned off by a traditional sales message found on a company website. In a blog, the company should be looking to make a personal connection to the readers, and give them a reason to want to visit the site again.
Business owners and managers should take note of their own attitudes and behavior. It is unlikely that you would have a desire to return to a site just because you made a purchase there. However, if you have made a personal connection on a particular site for reasons other than your purchase, you are likely to return. Business bloggers who understand this and practice this consistently will reap the benefits of taking on this kind of marketing.