It amazes me how many businesses sabotage themselves. They are stuck in the old way of doing things, they don’t see the importance and value of blogging and social media. And those who see the value of social media, confuse social networking with social-media marketing. They believe building a great website is all they need, because in their mind people will just find it. Then reality hits and they wonder why they’re getting no traffic, other than those they send directly. The facts are your website in nothing more than a brochure. And like any brochure, if it’s not being handed out, it’s useless. You handout your brochure (website) with your blog through social media.
Online is THE biggest marketing venue in a marketing campaign. Television and radio are powerful tools, but even through those mediums, a person will look for a website to make a buying decision. In other words, no matter what else you use to promote your business, it will not exclude your online presence.
The marketing tripod consists of three legs: website, blog and social media. And while many say, “A blog IS a website!” The answer is yes and no.
While it takes a website to host a blog, a website doesn’t necessarily have to USE a blog. And a blog without the website portion (the static promotional part of the website that includes your about, contact, services or products, testimonials and home page) will be less effective. Why? A blog is NOT about selling. Those who think it is and use it as such, have experienced the frustration of losing subscribers and lower traffic. A blog is about entertaining, helping and informing. You have three moving parts that complement each other to form a synergistic online marketing system: your marketing tripod. Below is how it works.
You need to think of your blog as your opinion editorial page (OpEd), like what you find toward the back of a newspaper, where pundits share their opinion on all sorts of topics. They typically find some citations and facts that support their hypothesis, or they share facts and conclusions of a past event with their unique thinking. People read it because it entertains (the voice used by the author: aggressive, witty, etc.), it informs by sharing a current event or evergreen topic, and it helps by providing tips, how-to’s, analysis and insight.
Readers of these editorials will open the newspaper or go to their newspaper’s portal (website) to read their favorite contributor’s article. While they’re there, even though the article is selling nothing, the website or newspaper does all the selling – if it was designed strategically.
Your blog works the same way. You share value and substance, no fluff or hyperbole or self-promotion. People will come because the information you share is worth reading – then that’s where your website takes over.
As I’ve said many times, the number-one goal of a website is NOT to sell something; it’s to capture the identity of your visitor so you can build a marketing database you own. When a website is designed strategically, it will pull your visitors deeper into the site, having them discover what you do, who you are and how you can help them.
Too many people build websites with no consideration as to how the content is written and delivered. They see someone else’s website (not knowing even if it’s working) and mimic it. The placement of the verbiage and images is bad (with no balance), and they forget about conversion forms (how your visitor communicates with you), other than a contact page and social-media icons. That is NOT enough!
The user experience must be over-the-top great! You must offer value for value: a quiz, questionnaire, well-written content, a balanced layout, impactful imagery, etc. If they don’t enjoy being there and think, “WOW!” when they see it, they will not return, much less subscribe to anything. No conversion or subscription; no on-going communication. No communication; no eventual sale.
So, assuming you’ve done all of the above correctly, the next question is, “How do I get them to my blog to read the article and be exposed to the wonderfully strategic website I designed?” The answer – social media.
How to do social-media marketing well is not the topic of this article. There are many in my blog, as well as all over the Internet you can read for guidance. The key point here is that you must be doing social-media MARKETING and not just NETWORKING. While networking will be PART of the marketing, the difference is the approach and a plan. Your tactics must be measurable.
While this may seem a bit overwhelming, it’s only because you don’t grasp it – yet. But once you have your system in place, it becomes a manageable, smooth operation that pays dividends.
Anyone can learn to do social media marketing. As I mentioned previously, there’s a wealth of knowledge available if you’re willing to take the time to read and/or watch it. The important thing is to start and learn as you go, because without it, few people will know your website and blog exist.
Therefore, break this process down. First, look at your website to see if it’s ready for prime time. If not, get it ready or everything you do won’t matter – it’ll be a waste of time, energy, effort and money.
Then look at your blog and get a second and/or third opinion on the content. Are the articles good, written well and pull people in? Or, are they boring, read passively and ramble as they try to make a sale? If you need to outsource the writing of your content, do so. If you must hire someone in-house that can produce it, do it.
Then look at your social media strategy and plan. Read some books, articles and take a few webinars if you must. In the meantime, get someone else to do it for you until you are ready to do it yourself.
If you do these things, you will have created a solid and balanced marketing tripod. The result will have you agree it was well worth it, as you stop losing sales and begin to grow like a professional business or brand.