Inbound marketing is one of the most transformative trends in online marketing since pay-per-click ads. It takes advantage of how people come to the Internet for answers and solutions. Instead of interrupting your target market’s other searches, videos, and games with marketer-centric ads, inbound marketing is about pulling shoppers in when they actually need you. One of the best tools for inbound marketing is a business blog.

A business blog is more than just a tool to promote new products and highlight your expertise. It’s even more than a platform for providing keyword-rich content. A blog is a way to give your target market information when they need it, which is the time to start drawing them in through the buyer’s journey.

What does the buyer’s journey have to do with your business blog?

Primarily, the ‘buyer’s journey’ is an organizational tool for thinking about how consumers enter and exit the marketplace. Consumers start in the discovery stage: they have a problem or a need, and they’re researching to find a solution. For example, consumers might have a slow computer, a tax question, or no idea what to buy someone for Christmas. They’re turning to the Internet to answer their questions.

The journey progresses into consideration stage, where they start to weigh their options between different products and services. In the decision stage, consumers know what they want to buy and they set out to do precisely that. But the vast majority of your traffic will come to your site during the discovery stage, or at least it should. Here’s how to do it:

Create content that answers very specific questions.

When people type ‘how do I fix…’ and ‘what’s wrong with…’ queries into a search engine, they want answers immediately. They will click on whatever snippet seems to solve their specific problem. While it may take time to answer every likely consumer question, it will drive targeted consumer traffic to your site.

Make your site a trusted resource.

Shopping is all about the experience. But as an online vendor, it’s harder to offer friendly customer service and in-store experiences. Instead, you have to make yourself easy for consumers to rely on. That starts with a good impression during the discovery stage. The best way to do it is with clear, informational blog posts that filled with promotional content or hard sells.

Business blogs should help consumers at every step of the buyer’s journey. Go to Predictive Response for more tools and strategies to become consumer’s first choice during the consideration and decision stages, too.