Finding a way to initiate a conversation is what blogging for business is all about.
Blogging, as I’ve said many times before in these blog posts, is “pull marketing”, and the dynamics are almost eerily the same as with encounters at a bar. Potential clients arrived at your blog because they were searching for something – information, a solution to a problem, a product or service. The title and the content of your blog post matched up with the search phrase they punched in to Google (or Yahoo or MSN), and so you “meet”. It’s a new encounter, so the conversation is tentative, testing to see if this is a relationship the two of you want to pursue further. You, the business owner, didn’t send out a mailing or plaster an ad on a billboard (which would have been “push marketing”. You “showed up” (in this case, on the search engine) and that’s how you got to meet this potential new customer or client.
Business coach and author Jim Ackerman reminds you that, if you own a business, you may think you’re a jeweler, a plumber, or a real estate agent, but you’re not. “The day you took ownership of the business is the day you became something else. That’s the day you became a marketer of jewelry, of plumbing services or property,” he stresses.
No encounter at a bar could be called successful without some vital contact information being exchanged (the phone number used to be the prize; today it might be an email address). Ackerman advises being very diligent about collecting contact information from everyone you meet. In your blog, readers might enter their contact information in order to sign up for your newsletter, a free pamphlet or brochure, a coupon, or even a free product sample or service. Readers might “subscribe” to your blog.
Accessibility goes both ways. Speaker Magazine, in “Around the World In Eight Marketing Tips”, tells marketers to make it “as easy as possible for prospects and clients to contact you. It’s always puzzling to me when someone gives me a business card where the contact information is so tiny as to be illegible, or, worse yet, printed in black ink on a navy background! Blogs with no clear contact information are even more of a puzzlement – why would you go to all the trouble of “pulling me in” with your blog, and then make it difficult for me to hook up with you?
Bars and blogs – where conversations start, where searchers become buyers, and casual encounters turn into friendships. If your business puts blog posts full of relevant information out there for customers and clients to enjoy and use (whether you or your employees compose the blogs yourselves or hire a professional ghost blogger like me to do it for you) , you won’t need to ask “Do you come here often?” You know they’ll be doing exactly that!