Organic food seller Whole Foods has shot down the theory that Internet Marketing cannot work in an “old school” environment. They use their Whole Story blog to keep their customers and subscribers “in the loop” on happenings within their company, as well as the natural foods industry. This has led to the growth of a solid customer base and enormous Social Media following.
Many businesses who haven’t adapted to the ‘new-school’ ways of reaching their customers operate under the belief that traditional marketing is the only way to promote in an ‘old-school’ marketplace. However, Whole Foods is proving them all wrong.
Whole Foods has introduced new age Inbound Marketing concepts to one of the world’s oldest industries. With their blog, Whole Story, Whole Foods is creating new ways to reach their customers, far removed from simply posting store hours and coupons on their websites like most other grocery stores. They create valuable, useful, and exceptional content that attracts customers who they proceed to build relationships with, thus building the important element of trust and leveraging the power of word-of-mouth advertising via those customers.
Their blog has been up and running since July of 2006 and, due to their incredible content, now boasts over 1600 pages in Google’s index! Over 12,000 other websites link to these 1600 pages, which means Whole Foods has 12,000 different ways for a new customer to find them.
Whole Foods’ ability to adapt to new marketing strategies has led to over 400,000 Twitter followers and over 58,000 Facebook fans. They also have tens of thousands of blog subscribers who get sent a link every time Whole Story posts a new article. With the number of pages, links, and subscribers, they’ve earned authority status, and Google knows their content is worthy of prestigious ranks for important terms.
6 Lessons You Can Learn From Whole Story
When it comes to Inbound Marketing, Whole Foods is doing everything right. Here are just a few things you can learn from the Whole Story blog:
1) Create Incredible Content - Whole Foods realized that customers wanted more than coupons and a sales pitch…they wanted advice, information, and pointers. In that regard, Whole Story delivers the goods and then some. It overflows with remarkable features, stories, and product information that provides education, which, in turn, builds trust and increases the chance of developing a loyal customer.
2) Build Deep Connectivity Through Reader Comments - A sure-fire way to tell if you’ve generated emotion from your reader is through their comments. Whole Story, while providing the information their subscribers desire, has created its own community of followers who will go to the ends of the earth to share their own discoveries on their products through the blog, as well as promote Whole Foods’ name through other various social networks.
3) Domain Branding – Instead of creating a second brand, Whole Foods set up their domain name to include their store name as well: blog.wholefoodsmarket.com. This enables them to extend their brand through another channel while eliminating the possibility of confusion by establishing another brand for customers to follow.
4) Passionate People Who Care – In order to be successful on any level, you have to believe in what you’re promoting and have a passion to be the best. Whole Story has several people involved with the production of their blog who specialize in areas like organics, green practices, and other food-related items that have proven to be enticing to their following.
5) Create Social Media Presence - As I mentioned before, Whole Foods has created an enormous Social Media following thanks to their intuitive ability to understand their customer and relate to them in a way that’s attractive and easy to understand. They built a solid foundation of incredible content, developed relationships with their customers, and the rest simply fell into place.
6) Utilize the “Soft Sell” - Blatantly selling non-stop makes it very hard to attract followers and subscribers because, eventually, people get tired of hearing about your product. Over time, they know what it is…so they don’t need to hear about it. Whole Story does a tremendous job of creating content that doesn’t sell their products at all. Instead of talking about why people should buy a particular product, they talk about how it’s made, its origin, and how you can use it in your every day diet. This is more appealing than your everyday run-of-the-mill sales pitch, don’t you think?
Building a popular blog requires time, dedication, effort, and incredible content that people want to read and share. Your blog will not reach ‘superstar’ status overnight. But consistently providing content that doesn’t sell, but rather educates, will get you there faster. Follow the path of Whole Story and your blog will have the potential to be a tremendous asset to your company.