How Will Blogging Help My Business? | 5 Key Benefits Blogging Brings to Any Company

Last week, I had a phone conversation with Mary McPadden, owner of Balanced Billing in Phoenix, Arizona.  I met Mary at the 2011 Business Growth Expo (Tempe, AZ). At the event, she said she knew she needed to start blogging, but did not understand how devel0ping a blog could help her company.  Many business owners I have encountered feel the same way.  Everyone tells them they need to start blogging, but many do not understand the benefits a blog can bring to their business.

When I started The Tutoring Solution in 2010, I needed to find new ways to make people aware of my business.  I made the commitment to build a website, once it was online I found that people were not visiting my site like I had hoped.  I began looking for new ways to promote my business, but didn’t have a lot of money to do so.  This is when I discovered blogging.

Blogging has had an immense impact on my business . . . not only in attracting more customers, but also by helping me develop a better understanding of the needs of my customers.

  • Google (Search Engine) Results

A blog is the most efficient way to drive new traffic to your website using Search Engine (Google) results.  When a person uses Google, they are looking for something specific that they want.  If you are offering the product or service they want, it’s extremely important to be ranked highly on the Google Search Engine.

Google Search Results are separated into two different categories, paid results and organic results.  Organic results are more effective than paid results in attracting visitors to your website.  When a person looks up something on Google, the organic search results that Google comes up with are the websites Google feels are the closest match for what the person is looking for.  Being ranked #1 on Google is a sure-fire way to bring new business to your website.

Blogging also allow users to find your website through a variety of different keyword searches.  I started The Tutoring Solution website in June, 2010.  Since that time, people have found my website using 2,111 different keyword searches on Google.  Every blog article written generates new keywords people can type in to find your business and increases the chances your business will reach the first page of Google Search Results.

  • Content for Social Media Websites

Another question we are frequently asked is, “What should I post on my Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Google+ Pages?”  A blog should be the backbone of any Social Media campaign because it is an excellent way to generate content for your Social Media pages.  The more engaging your blog posts, the more likely people will interact with your Social Media pages. It makes it easier to increase followers on each one of your Social Media websites.

  •   Strengthens Your Website

When we began working for System 1 in Chino Hills, they had a fairly nice website setup which provided the basics for its customers including the types of services they provide and relevant contact information.  Though they are an amazing company with a rich tradition here in Southern California, the lack of information on their website has hindered their success.  The implementation of a blog has enhanced their online presence. Customers visiting their website have more information at their fingertips when making a purchasing decision.

Countless customers have decided to get their tutoring with The Tutoring Solution as a result of our blog.  I can’t tell you how many times a parent has chosen us because they related to the information we were putting out on our blog.  Providing useful tips and information to your current and potential customers is a great way to establish a relationship and increase sales.

In today’s world, customers want to know the company they are doing business with.  The more information you have available on your website, the more likely your messages will resonate with your potential customers.

  • Helping Instead of Selling

Before I started the blog for The Tutoring Solution, I received quite a few calls from customers who were interested in the product, who wanted more information and were trying to feel me and my company out.  My website suffered from not providing enough information to my customers.  As a result, I had to try to “Sell” my tutoring services to potential customers over the phone.  Almost every one of these conversations ended the same way . . . “Let me talk it over with so and so . . .”  I never heard from these people again.

The implementation of a blog had a drastic impact on the type of phone calls I received.  Instead of feeling the need to “Sell” my products, the callers were already sold and the only real question I received was how soon they could start and how I could help them.

When I first started The Tutoring Solution I charged $15 to $20 per hour, highly undervaluing my services and still parents asked for lower rates.  I decided to create my blog to establish myself as the tutoring expert. I now charge between $35 to $50 per hour and no longer receive any questions regarding my pricing.  My blog helped solidify me as the tutoring expert to customers who chose The Tutoring Solution over other companies in my area.

Every business sets out with the goal to help others, but many times we feel like we have to “Sell” our products to unwilling participants.  Developing a blog allowed me to stop ‘selling’ my services, and instead, let me enjoy providing a helpful service to my community.  Many parents have told me that because of my blog, they were are already sold before they picked up the phone.

  • Increases Your Understanding of the Needs of Your Customers

Mary McFadden from Balanced Billing is a potential customer for Welborn Social Media who expressed a legitimate concern . . .  How will blogging help my business?  For me, it’s obvious, but when she asked me that question I found it hard to articulate my answer.  By blogging, I am able to solidify, in my mind, the value and benefits I am providing to my customers.  By answering real questions from customers and potential customers and using blogs to answer those questions I develop a stronger understanding of the needs of my customer.  And my customers realize Welborn Social Media cares about their concerns and knows we will put forth the work to make sure their needs are met.

Every customer has needs. They have their own concerns regarding any service or product they purchase.  Blogging gives a company the opportunity to relate to their customers, to address any issues that arise, and alter their products and services to better meet the needs of their customers.  When a company puts the needs of the customer first, they will see financial benefits as a result.

*If you have questions regarding implementing a blog for your website, please contact Zeb Welborn at (909) 973 – 9089 or Zeb@WelbornSocialMedia.com.

Working From Home: The Good, The Bad, and 6 Rules to Make it Work

One of my favorite things about my job is that I can work from home.

Here’s the good and bad about working from home.

It’s GOOD because…
you have a flexible schedule.
you can sleep in.
it’s easier and often healthier to eat at home.
procrastination often leads to doing the dishes, cleaning the house, or doing laundry.

It’s BAD because…
there’s no one to keep you accountable.
it can be hard to get work started.
it’s easy to procrastinate.
there’s no interruptions to provide needed breaks.
you don’t spend time around other people.

There are definitely good and bad things to working from home. The important thing is to find solutions to the bad side of things. Here’s how I have found the balance to get all my Social Media work done on any given day.

#1 Create a Schedule
I decided this was necessary when I began postponing my start time for work every day. I tend to be more of a night owl. The main problem was that I would stay up later and later every night, then I’d sleep in more and more every morning. A big problem! I have set a schedule for myself. Even though I work from home and I could wake up whenever I want, I set my alarm clock. From the time my alarm goes off till I start working I have one hour to eat breakfast, check my personal email and social media accounts, anything that I want to do before I get to work. For me, an hour is a good amount of time to get everything sorted out before my work day begins so that I don’t feel stressed throughout the work day. Then I start my work schedule which lists each of my tasks.

#2 Follow the Schedule
You must follow your schedule. One of the benefits of working from home is having a flexible schedule. However, it is way more important to get everything done that needs to get done on any given day. For me I have written a schedule that includes how long each daily task takes. If I have a meeting to go to I can push some tasks back, but I still have a very clear idea of how long everything takes and how much time I will be working on any given day.

#3 Take Breaks
I mean short breaks. They really don’t need to more than 5 minutes long, but you should take a good amount of them (this is not including a longer lunch break). Preferably, you will use these short breaks to get up out of your chair and give your body and eyes a break from staring at a computer screen. This might be a good time to grab a glass of water. Or to quickly tidy up your room. Or perhaps to take a shower. If you work from home I highly recommend working a shower into your schedule.

Working from a coffee shop.

#4 Work Outside Your Home
Another great thing about working from home, is that often you don’t actually need to work from home. If you have tasks you can do on your laptop make yourself mobile and work from a coffee house or some other establishment with WiFi. For me, it can sometimes be helpful to work when there are other people around, even if I don’t know them. Also, ordering a drink from the Barista or striking up a conversation with a stranger in the coffee shop is a good way to make up for human interaction that you may have been missing out on.  Also, there is the chance that it will be a good networking opportunity.

#5 Know When To Stop
This rule is very important, but it also is the one most likely to be broken. The truth is, you need to get all the necessary tasks done every day. If you’re not going to be able to finish before your self imposed ‘quitin time’ then you need to work after hours to get it done. There are two key things to understand when it comes to following rule number 5. One: you must know what counts as a necessary task and what doesn’t. Two: You need to make sure necessary tasks don’t flood your schedule. Leave room in your schedule for things like self education (reading blogs, talking to colleagues, doing research in your field), random work related tasks, making new contacts; things that will help your business, things you maybe could do daily, but are not absolutely necessary. These tasks are what make your schedule flexible, if you have to cut back on them one day it won’t set you back for the next day.

#6 Love That You Work From Home
Working from home provides so much freedom and convenience. While the freedom could let you start work at 8am, or 12pm, or 2pm, or even 5pm; and the convenience makes it easy to eat a snack every fifteen minutes, or to watch just this one tv show, or to do your laundry and then iron everything and then sort everything so you know what you’re wearing for the next two weeks; freedom and convenience also let you meet up with friends at any given time, they let you travel and work from your laptop, they can make it easier to be healthier and they save you from sitting in traffic.

Embrace the good! Find solutions for the bad! And, be glad that you can do whatever you want so long as you do awesome work and make all your clients happy!

-Lacey Welborn

Allie Nosek Wins our $50 Gift Card at the 2011 Business Growth Expo

“At TOCA our mission is Serving our Patients through innovative and comprehensive Orthopedic care. This mission is the foundation for ensuring the highest quality of care for our patients. By employing the most innovative procedures and true state-of-the-art technology, our staff of general orthopedists and subspecialities have earned a reputation for providing consistent specialized orthopedic care. TOCA’s reputation is built on treating each person’s specific need and one of many reasons we are the team physicians and surgeons for The Phoenix Suns, The Phoenix Mercury and ASU.”

Congratulations Allie Nosek on winning our contest and receiving a $50 Gift Card to The Thirsty Lion, located in Tempe, Arizona.  Allie entered the contest by dropping in one of her business cards at our booth at the 2011 Business Growth Expo.

Allie does Marketing and Graphic Design for The Orthopedic Clinic Association(TOCA).

At the Expo, Allie mentioned she understood the importance of social media, but also expressed her concerns about effectively demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) social media can bring to her company.  We are in the process of scheduling a phone interview with her to discuss how we can evaluate the impact social media can make for The Orthopedic Clinic Association.

Many companies express the same concern with ROI. It becomes difficult to justify the use of social media when thought of in those terms.  However, there are many tools companies can use to evaluate how people are connecting with their business using social media.  If you or your company would like to understand how to better manage or understand how to use the data that is available through social media outlets – ask us.

The 2011 Business Growth Expo was an eye-opening experience for us.  It was our first business expo and we had no idea what to expect.  We were thrilled to meet so many helpful and friendly people.  And we look forward to keeping in touch with them for years to come.

We chose a $50 Gift Card to The Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill  for our contest. It is a new establishment located in the Tempe Marketplace at 2000 East Rio Salado Suite 1041, Tempe, AZ.  They have a large selection of food and more than 50 beers on tap.

After the Expo, my sister and I made our way to The Thirsty Lion. We were hungry and ready to relax, we were not disappointed.  The food, service and atmosphere was phenomenal . . . exactly what we needed on a long, productive day.

Cisco Recognizes WireSpeed Systems (Our Client) as Their SuperFan!

WireSpeed Systems chosen as Cisco's SuperFan on Facebook

Cisco’s Facebook Photo

Our client, WireSpeed Systems, is a small hardworking business that sells new and refurbished networking equipment.

Cisco is a multinational corporation and the world’s largest manufacturer of networking equipment.

When we began implementing our Facebook strategy for WireSpeed Systems we followed Cisco closely because our clients work with their products often. With well over 225,000 fans, Cisco has a terrific Facebook presence. Last year they began featuring SuperFans on their Facebook profile. SuperFans are their most active and engaged followers.

On Tuesday Cisco changed their profile image to the one seen here and they posted, “We changed it up this month for the Cisco SuperFan! Instead of an individual, we are highlighting WireSpeed Systems, a company who has been extremely active on our page and has even been sharing our content on their Facebook page as well. Thanks for being such a fabulous Cisco SuperFan, WireSpeed Systems!!”

Obviously our clients are thrilled. We are very excited and proud to get one of our small businesses noticed by the biggest company in their industry. Having the WireSpeed Systems logo alongside the Cisco logo on Cisco’s own Facebook page adds a great deal of credibility and instills trust in WireSpeed Systems.

We’re very fortunate to have such wonderful clients. It makes the job of getting their name out there and recognized by new people so rewarding.

A big Thank You! to Cisco and their Social Media team. Highlighting smaller businesses is such a wonderful thing for a huge corporation to do. Thank you!

Preparing for Our First Business Expo

After driving for six hours, I finally reached Tempe, Arizona.

Tomorrow, my sister and I will be participating in the 2011 Business Growth Expo, our first Business Expo and we’re excited.  We signed up to be an exhibitor last month and have no idea what to expect.  We have spent countless hours preparing for the experience and are excited to meet with other small businesses in the Phoenix area.

2011 Business Growth Expo

For those of you interested in attending, the show takes place Tuesday, November 8 from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Fiesta Resort & Conference Center, 2100 S. Priest Dr., Tempe AZ 85282.

We received a packet with information about the show which provided tips on how to get the most out of the expo.  The tips seemed very helpful and we plan on implementing a lot of them at the event.  If you stop by our booth you can expect to see a visual presentation of the services we provide, an opportunity to win prizes, and free consultations on ways to increase your online presence.

Stop by and say “hello” if you plan on attending.  We’d love to help you or your company connect with people using Social Media.

 

Discussing Social Media with Vendors

At Welborn Social Media, we love discussing social media with all different types and sizes of businesses.  If you’d like us to present to your business, organization, group or discuss social media with you, please let us know.

This is from an email we sent out to Vendors from the approaching Scrapbook Expo in Ontario, CA. The Expo is happening November 3rd and 4th at the Ontario Convention Center. We’re hoping we can help some of these businesses with Social Media tips and consultations.

Dear Vendors,

Zeb and Lacey Welborn, the sibling team from Welborn Social Media, will be available at the Thursday meeting to discuss Social Media and answer any questions you may have. They work with several companies doing everything from running Facebook pages and writing blogs to doing web and graphic design.

Zeb Welborn got into Social Media after he started his own tutoring company. Wanting to gain more customers, he devoted his time and energy into learning the ins and outs of Social Media.

Lacey Welborn is the creative force at Welborn Social Media. Besides staying up to date on the latest best practices for Social Media, she also does web and graphic design.

www.WelbornSocialMedia.com
  

Should My Business Use Social Media?

When I first talk to business owners about Social Media, most realize Social Media is benefiting other businesses, but do not understand how it can help theirs.

Each business is unique and it is important for each company to determine whether or not to use Social Media based on the goals it has established for its business.

If you’re looking for the quick answer to the question, feel free to scroll down to the bottom, but I would like to share with you some examples of how and why businesses started using Social Media.

Example #1 – Grandma C’s Cookies

My sister met Grandma C at an event put on by the Arizona Small Business Association in Tempe, Arizona. She was very interested in the possibility of using Social Media to promote her cookie making business.  Grandma C was retired and wanted her business to earn some extra income.  She loved baking and built her business in her kitchen.

The Goal:  Grandma C had no desire to expand her staff. She wanted to be making cookies and sharing her baked goods with the local community.

The Answer:  Lacey suggested that using Facebook would be a great way to develop a relationship with the local community. She encouraged Grandma to try and get each of her new customers to join her Facebook page.  Then, when she had free time, to post photos and share her thoughts, ideas or inspirations regarding her baking.

Example #2 – System 1:  Acoustic Ceiling Removal

Richard McKinnon III, the President of System 1 Acoustic Ceiling Removal fell on rough times when the economy started to nose dive in 2007.  Richard was a fixer and when he started getting less business, his solution was to invest more in advertising to generate new business, cutting into his bottom line.  The money he spent in advertising for his products was not coming back to him the way it did pre-recession. Richard does not have time to devote to increasing his Social Media presence because he is constantly out on the road giving bids to home-owners across Southern California.

The Goal:  Richard has enormous responsibilities to his family and the people he employs; he needs to keep his business afloat and continue to provide for his family.  He knows his business is the best in the area and wants to maintain his business until the economy turns around.

The Answer:  We worked with Richard to create a Social Media campaign that incorporates a blog and Facebook.  The Facebook page is designed to reach out to potential customers who are homeowners and existing customers.  The blog is designed to allow users to find System 1 using search engines like Google or Yahoo.

Example #3 – WireSpeed Systems

WireSpeed Systems buys and sells new, used and re-furbished computer networking equipment to companies and individuals all over the world.

The Goal:  The market for computer networking equipment is highly competitive and WireSpeed Systems was looking for a leg up on its competition.

The Answer:  We worked with them to enhance their Social Media presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Any person or business who is in a similar industry or who is interested in the products offered by WireSpeed Systems can find them easily on any of those platforms.  As a result, WireSpeed Systems has generated more leads and a better opportunity to convert those leads to sales.  They are also connecting with their customers in a more engaging and interactive way.

Example #4 – The Tutoring Solution

The Tutoring Solution Logo


I started tutoring students in 2009 and had generated a small clientele.  Tutoring is not the most lucrative business, but I really wanted to help students succeed in school, so it was a perfect fit for me.  At the beginning of the school year in September, 2010, I decided to start a website and try to build my tutoring business using Social Media.

The Goal:  To expand my business to help as many students possible succeed in the classroom in Southern California.

The Answer:  Before I started using Social Media, I had roughly four students that I tutored regularly and all were referred to me by word of mouth.  Today, a little over one year after my Social Media experiment started, The Tutoring Solution has worked with 63 students on a consistent basis.  During that time, I have had to hire 17 tutors and my client base is continuing to grow.

If you want your business to expand, you have to use Social Media. If you want your business to survive, you should use Social Media.  And if you want your business to die, you should stay away from Social Media.

In a chart designed by HubSpot, based off of information from EMarketer, the amount of companies that used blogs has more than doubled from 2007 from 16% to 39% in 2011.  Every Social Media site has seen a massive increase in the amount of companies that are using these tools to generate more business.  If you are not one of these companies, you are getting left behind.

United States Companies Using Blogs | Source: EMarketer, August 2010 by HubSpot

The real question you should be asking yourself is not whether or not you should be using Social Media, but whether or not you should pay someone else to do it.

It doesn’t make sense for Grandma C’s Cookies to pay someone else to do Social Media since she wouldn’t be making enough revenue to pay for someone to do Social Media for her.  Nor did it make sense for me to hire someone to do Social Media for my tutoring business, since I had no money to spend on advertising of any kind.

But, because I took the time and initiative to start a Social Media campaign on my own, my business thrived, just like Grandma C’s will if she does it right.

For any company that spends money in advertising it makes sense to devote money towards expanding your Social Media presence.  Unlike Newspaper, TV, or Pay-Per-Click Advertising, you can reap long-term benefits from using Social Media.  All the “Follows”, “Likes”, and “Connections” your company receives are likely to stay and can be reached out to at any time.  All blog articles that are written will be available for users to find, months, years, and decades down the line.

Should My Business Use Social Media?

The Answer:  Social Media is essential for any business, regardless of the industry and the goals of the company.  Deciding on whether or not to pay for someone to run Social Media for you is the only question your company should be asking.  

We can develop and implement a personalized Social Media strategy for any company.  If you think Social Media is something you’d be interested in finding out more about, please contact me, Zeb Welborn at (909) 973 – 9089 or WelbornSocialMedia@gmail.com to discuss ways Social Media can benefit your business.

 

2011 AZ Business Growth Expo

On November 8th we will be attending the Business Growth expo at Fiesta Resort in Tempe.

I put together a webpage about the event. Please visit: WelbornSocialMedia.com/BusinessGrowthExpo for all the information. If you’ll be attending the expo send us a message or contact us before the expo, we’ll review your current Social Media activities and tell you ways to improve your internet presence.

Leave a comment if you’ll be at the expo. We’ll look for you.