Many readers of my own blog have emailed me with concerns about the recession. If you read the news even poorly, you know that there is no end to the recession in sight. I know several small business owners who have complained about sales being down. It’s time for a change. It’s time to ramp things up a bit.
I wanted to share this post on the Headway blog, because in my opinion blogging can be part of the answer for you. In order for marketing to have maximum impact, there are two elements which have more power than any other:
- High Touch/High Conversion Marketing
- Referral-focused Marketing
Hands down, a blog is one of the most powerful ways to put these elements to work for you. Let’s discuss each briefly, and if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer in the comments.
High Touch/High Conversion Marketing
Print media is still valid in many situations. I’ve seen direct mail is making a comeback as well. But don’t forget that these mass media approaches will only engage your customers on one certain level. If you’re getting a 2-3% conversion rate on a direct mail piece, you’re doing pretty well, and if you’re going straight for a sale in that direct mail piece, then you can expect your conversion rate to be considerably lower.
I have pages on my site that convert over 40% of traffic into email subscribers. Not 2-3%. 40%. And what’s crazy is that this really isn’t all that uncommon. And guess what drives the majority of traffic to those pages? That’s right. My blog.
When I email my list, I typically get an open rate between 20-70%, depending on what it is I’m sending. This means 20-70% of the email I send to my list (which I built almost exclusively with traffic from my blog) gets read. Do you think 20% of your direct mail is even getting looked at?
Don’t count on it.
Why does a blog convert so much better? Because it’s more personal. I’m able to point people around my site to content that speaks directly to them. And once they’re on my email list, the marketing gets even more targeted.
In small business, we need more of this. The more personal and targeted you can make your message, the more effective your marketing will be. And a blog is the perfect way to put these elements to work for you. End of story.
In a down economy, people are tighter with their money. And they should be. This is why I’ve heard complaints from clients about sales being down around the country. It’s not that people aren’t spending money; they’re just more careful. Spend some time talking with them via your blog and email list. When you go the extra mile and your competition is not, you win. Every time. And when you win on this level, you’re not just making a sale. You’re taking the steps to build a seriously beneficial long term relationship with this customer.
And this all leads to the next marketing element you need to employ…
What I’ve seen is that people just like to do business with people and brands they like. That’s it. It’s pretty intuitive. So be likeable. Why is a blog one of the ultimate ways to find customers and clients? Why is it worth the work to write articles and otherwise do the work it takes to maintain a blog? Because by doing this you’re enabling people to find you and get to know you on their own terms. You can’t force or rush trust, and trust is exactly what you need to employ referral-focused marketing.
If you refuse to do this work and only go for the sale, you’ll still make sales. Trust me, I’ve done that in the past. People will always buy stuff from vendors they don’t really care about when the terms are right for them. But you’re missing out on the entire power of referral-focused marketing.
When you take the time to really engage your customers on a human level and allow authentic trust to be cultivated, you’re not just creating the environment for a sale to be made. You’re making multiple sales all at once. You will get repeat business from that customer over time, because you were awesome to them and didn’t rush them. And when a customer is that comfortable with you, they will often become an advocate for you. Not always, but often enough that it truly makes a noticeable difference in your business.
I have clients who have come back to me over 10 times for more and more projects. And they tell several other people and encourage them to work with me also. Think about it:
- What did I pay for all that word of mouth marketing? Nothing.
- How much time did I spend having to make all those additional sales? None.
Have you noticed there is a recession? Is it affecting your business? Then it’s time to get better at marketing. In my case, I’ve found blogging works. It just does. And as I’ve said before, I’m NOT a blogging advocate. I’m a do-what-works advocate. The reason I teach it to clients is because it gets results.
Now I know a lot of small business owners who don’t have a blog. And many more write one only tentatively. I’m the last person to say anything black and white when it comes to marketing. Is a blog the flat out only way to put these elements to work in your business? You tell me. I’ve got nothing better at the moment. My blog continues to make all the difference in my own business. Just because the country is in a recession doesn’t mean you have to be in one.
Christian Russell is the blogger behind Dangerous Tactics, a unique small business marketing strategies blog with no tolerance for B.S. His latest report, How to Get (a lot) More Leads from Your Website teaches you – surprisingly – how to get a lot more leads from your website