How To Start A Blog For Your Local Business

You’ve heard that blogging can help increase sales (which it can!)…

And you’re convinced that it can help your local business too.

But most local businesses never create a game plan to insure that they launch their blog successfully.

Don’t start blogging in hopes that that if you build it they will come.

This will only leave you feeling frustrated  and disappointed.

Take the time to execute a strategy that your competition isn’t even thinking about. And build the most important element of your blog…

The email list.

Facebook

This social media powerhouse packs a huge punch when it comes to finally launching a blog for your local business.

Don’t take Facebook at face value (heh). Seriously, put in time and effort to understand your buyers’ personas.

  • Stop saying how amazing your products are day in and day out…
  • Stop paying that outsource company who doesn’t spend a single hour a month in your business to post “noise” on your page…
  • Stop being lazy and start offering something of value to your community…

This can take you from 137 likes to over 7000 in 12 months.

The key is to study your insights.

Who likes your page already?

  • Male vs. Female
  • Their age group
  • Posts that have gotten some likes and comments
  • People sharing your updates
reading facebook insights to help launch a blog

You don’t have to dig deep to see who to target.

Take that information and keep an eye out for these same people walking into your physical location.

Take note of what they buy, the terminology they use when asking questions and so forth.

Grab a decent camera (iPhones work great) snap pictures of the products your ideal demographic are purchasing and spend some time writing fun, witty headlines.

Now post to Facebook 3 times a week (starting out) with this content.

Don’t force engagement, but twice a month ask for them to share the post or like/comment.

Again, don’t do this too often cause it’s lazy marketing.

If you need some help getting your page off the ground and AFTER you know who you want to target consider spending $50-$100 the first couple of months to get an initial boost in page likes.

It’s money well spent in the long run.

When you’re happy with the likes you’ve reached it’ll then be time to initiate stage two. (Thundercats, Ho!)

Pick A Product

Every local business has a product that can be given away for free (we used a $25 cake) which will not only spark interest with your current community on Facebook…

But also with potential customers that still aren’t aware of your presence online.

Pick a product or service, the bigger the better, and then give it away for free.

I could see this working with all kinds of businesses.

  • Bakery – Custom Cake
  • Burger Joint – Free Cheeseburger for a Year (52 weeks)
  • Chiropractor – 3 Free Alignments
  • Spa – Free 60 Minute Massage
  • Drywall Company – Bathroom or Kitchen repairs/re-texture.
  • Real Estate Agent – Free House…hah kidding. Free recliner.
  • Grocery Store – $100 Gift Card
  • Automotive – 1 year (4) free oil changes

I could go on for days.

If you need an idea let me know in the comments…

Remember, the more valuable the prize the more personal information you are going to be able to ask for.

Capture Form

I don’t know if this stat is true or not but I’ve heard that every subscriber is worth about $50 a year for a business.

I do know that in order to build a profitable list at any dollar amount, you have to capture the email and there’s no better option than Mailchimp in my opinion.

Mailchimp is free up to 2000 emails and 12,000 sends, that’s 6 times to 2000 emails a month.

If Mailchimp is not your thing feel free to use whatever platform you like just as long as you can index users so that they can’t enter in a bunch of times.

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Indexing will also come in handy when you want to pump up your email list later and run another contest.

Get yourself setup by building a capture form that uses the “single opt-ins” and collects the basics like name and email.

Don’t ask for a lot if your giveaway value is low, email should be good enough.

Grab the embed code and keep it handy by pasting it into Word or a notepad.

Landing Page

You can skin a cat (or a fluffy white bunny) a thousands different ways it’s said. Just pick a way and do it, I guess.

This is true of sales pages that you send users to.  There are tons of ways to optimize a page, but just pick one.

Using one off landing pages or sales pages will greatly increase your conversions.

landing page to capture emails

Add social buttons to spread the word.

Strip away all the navigation and styling of your original site and make the focus of the page the email capture a.k.a. the conversion.

Try not to send the customers to your contact page where they’ll get distracted by other options.

Premise (not an affiliate) does a great job of creating landing pages and is a snap to set up. Plus it integrates Mailchimp for you!

Make sure that you either setup a Terms Of Agreement (TOS) page and link to it or list the details right on the page.

Place your email form embed code from above on the page, add some style, and publish that thing.

Insider Tip: I like to create a short url (youwebsite.com/shortword) and use a 301 direct to the actual page.

Kicking Off The Campaign

You now have an active Facebook page that is getting lots of post engagement. Your landing page is nothing short of puppy chasing a baby holding a balloon on a summer day (beautiful), and you are ready to kick off the campaign in a major way.

The first thing you should do is gather lots of pictures that promote the product you are giving away, these come in handy when you do multiple posts a week about the promotion.

And stick to these guidelines to insure success:

  • Give yourself at least 4 weeks of lead time, you don’t want every status update to be about the contest in the beginning.
  • Add in-store signage, try to set up a drop box so the off-line world can enter also.
  • Ask your staff to help spread the word using their FB accounts and by sharing your status updates.
  • Sponsor a couple of FB posts to help spread the word.

 

how to update facebook for contest

Add some pre-hype to get extra attention.

Towards the end of the campaign I like to really saturate the audience so everyone has a chance to enter.

You can always leave a message letting your community know that the event is almost over and you’ll be back to updating them with only the good stuff.

Completing Your Contest

After you have completed your contest there are some key steps that need to be taken.

Remove all chance of accusation by exporting your list to excel (arrange it by date) then go to Random.org and enter in the number of entrants and let it generate your winner.

Take a screen shot of the number, save your excel as a jpg and place the two on one image showing the line number and the generated number.

You are going to post this on Facebook as the final notification.

how to pick a winner online

Remove all doubt with an image like this.

Notify and verify the winner STAT for two reasons: 1) to make sure they are human and 2) to ask them if you can use their name in future messages regarding the contest.

After you verify, send out an email to all that entered…

Keep it simple letting them know the first name and last initial of the person that won, thank them for entering and ask them to unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive further communication from you.

Bonus step: Set up a special and offer the product given away for a discounted price.

Post the image with the winner and number (from above) to FB so you have proof that you actually picked someone.

The Winner

Here comes fun part!

If you offered something that can be customized then consider adding the winners name to it along with your company name.

Make sure that you get lots of pictures of the winner and the product along with any staff members that would like to be involved.

Ask the winner to send you pictures of them using your product so that you can share it with your community.

And enjoy the fruits of your labor.

building a email list

Now don’t go spamming them!

 

 

Can you do me a favor?

If you are having a hard time building your blog tell me your biggest problem in the comments below?

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