When done right, blogging can be a great way to connect with potential and existing customers. It gives you an avenue to demonstrate your expertise, engage with users, and more importantly, convert them into paying customers.
If you’re planning to start a blog for your store or if you already have one but are looking to step things up, below are 7 retail blogging tips (complete with screenshots and examples) that you may want to try:
Retail blogging tip# 1: Let pictures tell the story
The Apron Blog by Home Depot is one of the most educational retail blogs around. The company regularly publishes posts on DIY projects, home improvement tips, outdoor living, and more. But what’s really awesome about The Apron is its heavy use of images.
Home Depot’s bloggers make it a point to include an image for every step, tip, or item that they write about. Doing so not only makes the articles more attractive, but the images help readers better understand the posts.
Keep this in mind especially when you’re blogging about DIY projects or how-to articles. Always include images to demonstrate the steps, examples, and tips on your blog. It makes your posts more educational and actionable. And when readers see just how great of a resource your site is, they’ll learn to trust you more, and they’ll likely turn to YOU when it’s time to make a purchase decision.
Retail blogging tip #2 Give your big bosses a voice
In addition to scrumptious recipes, Whole Foods Market also has blogs by its CEOs where they post updates and informative articles.
Let your founder, CEO, and other executives take the blogging reigns every so often. People would feel more connected to the company when they see that your corporate leaders are taking the time to engage with the community. According to the BRANDFog 2012 CEO, Social Media & Leadership Survey, 82% of respondents are “more likely to trust a business whose top leadership communicated openly via social channels.
The survey also found that “77% of respondents were more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose values and mission are defined through CEO and executive leadership participation on social media.”
Retail blogging tip #3: Invite people to join the community
One of the things we love about the Huckberry blog (aside from the great content) is that it proactively invites visitors to join the community. When you visit the site, Huckberry displays a pop-up asking if you want to sign up. This is an effective tactic for building your list and generating repeat visits that can ultimately turn into sales.
Not a fan of pop-ups? Add a static form on your site. Huckberry does this as well by having a horizontal form at the top part of the page.
Retail blogging tip #4: Add humor to the mix
Story by Modcloth has everything a good fashion, lifestyle, and beauty blog should have: How-to posts, content around the latest trends, DIY ideas, and more. On top of that, ModCloth also publishes humorous pieces that show the company’s fun and lighthearted side.
Don’t be afraid to show readers that you have a sense of humor. Good-humored posts can break the ice. They can make your company look more approachable and more fun to do business with. Besides, everyone could use a laugh now and then.
Retail blogging tip #5: Include “before and after” posts
Front + Main, a blog by furniture store West Elm, features some great “before and after” articles (with lots of photos) that demonstrate how its products improved the homes of its customers.
See if you can do something similar. If you sell products that make people’s lives better, invite your customers to take pictures and tell their story. If you provide services, be sure document the jobs you do for your clients. For instance, a lot of salons take before and after photos of customers to demonstrate their results.
Before and after posts are compelling, not to mention useful. They give you a chance to showcase what you’re selling, plus they can also serve as catalogs for your products or services.
Retail blogging tip #6 Have certified experts contribute to your blog
GNC’s Live Well blog covers nutrition, exercise, and other health-related topics. What helps it stand out however, is that some of its articles are by real doctors and nutrition experts. Having certified experts on your site builds trust and credibility–which as we all know, are two very important factors in converting shoppers.
Are there any experts who can contribute to your blog? Invite them over to give your site an instant credibility boost.
Retail blogging tip #7: Feature celebrities
Aside from writing about fashion tips and company updates, Topshop also features artists, models, and celebrities on their blog. For example, they recently published a Q&A with recording artist Christina Perri where they asked her about her career, her music, and of course, her style.
Now you might be thinking, “Well, this works for Topshop because they have a lot of pull in the entertainment industry.” That may be true, but it doesn’t mean you can’t apply this tip in your business.
Why not interview local celebrities or authority figures in your specific field? Their input would make for great content, and could open up your site to a wider audience. Once you publish the post, be sure to notify them so they can share it with their fans, and hopefully bring in more readers (and potential customers) to your blog.
Does your business have a blog? How is it working out for you? Tell us in the comments below.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.