I realized that even though we had the week-long Blogging & Your Business event, I’ve never actually taken the time to explain why I believe your business needs a blog. I frequently pitch blogs to my Egg Marketing customers, so it’s apropo that I post my reasons.
I talk a lot about how times, they are a changin’. It’s inevitable that we will not be able to reach customers in the ways we did in the past. To successfully grow any business, you have to be open to change. Customers adapt faster than businesses, and that’s the downfall of many companies. It’s a tiresome race, always trying to find the new way to market before the consumer discovers it, but it’s a necessary evil.
Blogs are the future. Now, if your idea of blogs is someone’s journal about what they ate that day, that may have been true in 2000, but it’s not true now. But you know that because you’re reading this. Blogs are meant to inform. Rather than buy a set of encyclopedias from a door-to-door salesman, you can have any type of information you seek with a few clicks of a button, and much of it is on blogs. Consumers like free information. Provide that to them, and their sales will follow.
Last week I wrote about viral marketing. It’s everywhere. Then I read an article on Problogger about John Gerard, a man who is determined to become famous in 31 days. His ultimate goal is to get on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He’s trekking across the country, from New York to L.A., telling everyone he meets about his mission. It’s a little a la “My Date with Drew.” That, I thought, is viral marketing at its finest. So I had to interview him to get his take on his viral campaign.
EM: How are you marketing yourself on this project?
JG: Every way possible. The web. E-mail blasts. Business Cards. Promotional T-shirts. Car Advertising. Word of mouth. Media.
EM: Did you create a marketing plan or are you winging it?
JG: Winging it. Just like my itinerary.
EM: You’ve gotten a lot of media coverage already. Is that something you put effort into, or is it more the effect of viral marketing?
JG: Yes! Both! I’m putting enormous effort in to this! And viral is amazing too! You can’t do without it!
EM: Viral marketing interests me in the fact that the public decides what is worthy of attention (who gets to be famous). What do you think about the probability of a normal guy with a crazy idea becoming a celebrity?
I’ve always been a big proponent of press releases. They’re short, simple, and to the point. But lately I’ve been asking myself if they’re relevant in a world where journalists are bombarded with releases and there are thousands of releases online at any given point online.
I decided, yes, they are relevant. Here’s why.
1. Press releases boost SEO. Anything that helps move your business up that legendary search engine list is worth doing (short of paid placement). News is fleeting, but press releases will help move and stay up in rankings, especially if you put them out regularly.
2. Press releases make it seem like you’re important. There’s no real secret to writing and distributing press releases (look for my upcoming ebook on how to do it yourself), but people seem mystified by the process. So if your business has releases out, it seems like you’re moving and shaking. Even if you’re not.
A recent trip to my grocery store got me thinking about customer experience as part of marketing. I was at Albertson’s, who a few years ago, jumped on the member-card bandwagon with everyone else. I didn’t really mind carrying my card, although I recognized the absurdity of creating a club for saving money just so the store could get some demographics.
But last week, I saw signs everywhere telling me I no longer needed a card to save money. At first it left me feeling stripped. How would the system know how much I bought when there was a product campaign (like the one where I got a cheap pot for spending $500 in several months)?? But then I realized Albertson’s was taking customer experience into consideration. No doubt many people forgot their cards and grew frustrated. So now everyone can save money without the hassle.
A positive customer experience keeps people coming again and again.
So I keep hearing email is dead. That spam killed it. And while, despite trying to run by opening new email accounts, spam keeps finding me and hunting me down while it breeds like bacteria, I don’t believe that email is dead. I just read an article in Revenue Magazine called “Old Dog, New Tricks,” about how email is in fact alive and kicking. It says that Web 2.0 is breathing new life into email campaigns.
The article says that according to Datran Media’s December 2006 annual email study, 83.2% of those surveyed chose email marketing as their primary marketing strategy for 2007. That says a lot. It says that business people are getting sales out of email campaigns, so how could email be dead?
A Mature Medium Undergoing Change
Email has definitely evolved in the 10 years it’s been around. Now the focus is on user generated content (UGC). Rather than pummeling subscribers with sales messages, more businesses are offering content from customers, which creates a better tie between company and subscriber. Businesses are also using email to promote their blogs, RSS feeds and videos. The less like advertising it looks, the better received it is. And if readers enjoy the emails, they’ll always come back and become customers.
How to Make the Most of it
I think email is a great tool, if used right. I put out a newsletter for Egg Marketing once a month that has some of my better articles from this blog as well as news about what’s going on with the company. If I or the company has been involved in something noteworthy (i.e. my becoming an SOB on Liz Strauss’ blog!) I’ll put that in there too. I’ll include a coupon at the bottom for my services, but overall the newsletter isn’t blatantly screaming “buy from me!” I am actually considering putting out more emails, because it seems the consensus has changed about how frequently to send out messages.
I’ve been thinking a lot about viral marketing lately. Primarily since I spoke with Kevin Eikenberry . Today, his goal is to unseat Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the #1 Bestseller on Amazon.com, just for a day, with his book, Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time. He’s got a network of folks (including me) ready and willing to help him achieve this goal through emails, blogs and newsletters.
I find this a highly creative campaign (that has inspired me to dream up my own viral marketing idea) and I am eager to see Kevin succeed. And I do think he can succeed. Here’s why.
Viral marketing, while it may sound helter skelter, is actually incredibly organized. Or at least successful campaigns are. Kevin has his plan mapped out to a T and has to do nothing more than send a link to the instruction page for this campaign to get people signed up and ready to go.
This forum has been a lot of fun! I hope all of you enjoyed it as well. I’ve learned a lot from our panelists! Maybe we can make this a regular segment every few months on Egg Blog.
I’ll end the week with all the tips our Blogging & Your Business Panel gave me. Enjoy them!
Finding Your Voice
- Have something different and better to say; a unique perspective and/or expertise.
- Make sure it’s relevant for your readers/subscribers/prospects/clients/colleagues.
- Speak in a natural “spoken” voice and let people into your values & style.
- Find your own voice. People will be drawn to read and come back if you are authentic and offer useful and/or interesting information.
- Do what you love doing and have every detail reflect that.
- Know who loves what you love doing and design every blog experience to serve them.
- Know what you will promise and be prepared to deliver it. Then think about marketing.
Everyone loves free advice. That’s why you’re here, right? We dig down and get the best advice from our panel on blogging and promoting a business.
Give Us Some Great Blog Advice.
Tammy Munson: Remember that having a blog is just another tool in your marketing toolkit you also need to use a variety to really make an impact. Don’t just depend on your blog to do it all for you!
Liz Strauss: If you’re not blogging, you’re missing a major opportunity. However, it easy to get caught up in blogging for other bloggers so stop each morning and remember the people you want to reach.
Vikram Rajan: Nobody cares what you know, until they know how much you care.
Dawud Miracle: Write about what you love. Forget monetizing and money making initially and just write about what you love. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to build a business or increase your income through your blog. Just write about what you love. I’ve said it three times on purpose. When you put your knowledge of a topic together with your passion, amazing things can happen in the blogosphere.