Can Blogs Market For Dollars?

08/28/2006

There are lots of people who know how to market for dollars. One of the smartest guys I've had the pleasure meeting is The Divo of Direct Marketing .. Bob Bly.

Bob_bly_1 Recently I posted, on Diva Marketing, about a thread that was occurring on Business Blog Consulting regarding monetizing blogs. Bob Bly dropped a comment which resulted in the following  email volley. With his permission here's our off-blog conversation.

Bob Bly: My trouble with Toby's comment is that, while visits and comments are nice, unless your marketing is ultimately making the cash register ring, it is under-performing -- and blogs frequently under-perform.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Sounds like a conversation (on DMNews) we had back in 2004. Some times a less direct route can make the cash register ring - although granted not as quickly as an "as the crow flies" path. However, often the bells keep ringing more often and louder.

Sidebar: In the stone ages of social media, 2004, Bob challenged business bloggers to show him the money when it came to using blogs as a marketing strategy. "Show me ONE direct marketer generating significant profits and positive ROI from a blog and I will change my position. So far, zero evidence ... unlike e-mail and e-zines, where my clients document millions of dollars in sales."

Soon after Bob launched his blog - which sure seems pretty successful in terms of "blog success" e.g., comments and trackbacks. But is it succeeding in Bob Bly terms?

Toby/Diva Marketing: Any tips for how to bring "under performing blogs" up a notch? Do you think ads on blogs help or harm the ultimate goal of a company .. to sell products/services?

Bob Bly: My ideas are in my forthcoming book Blog, Schmog -- I will send an advance copy when ready.

What are bets that there won't be a coupon for Blog Kool-Aid in Blog, Schmog?

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Comments

My company has implemented serveral blogs for a variety of different businesses. Some are fairly simple, others are constructed much like their website. In each case we were paid for these services. But it is unlikely that we would have generated this business if we did not have a blog ourselves. Needless to say, the ROI has been positive.

While standard blog implementation is fairly simple, dealing with php and css is not. Furthermore, being aware of various plugins and enhancements, and knowing how to appropriately incorporate them, is not always easy for a non-tech company.

Businesses use blogs for a host of different reasons. Not just as an ROI mechanism. Not only is it a means of personalizing a company and establishing a two-way dialogue with leads, prospects and customers, it is most importantly a differentiator.

As an example, I would be much more likely to book a trip with a tour group that has a blog vs one that does not, especially if all other factors like price, look and feel of website, and location are equal. And unless they actually ask me how I found the site or made my purchase decision i.e the blog, then they simply assume I booked for some other reason.

The point: there is not enough data to assume that blogs are or are not ROI generators.

But through the use of analytics and seeing that my company's blog is generating an additional 25% of traffic, I would say, YES!

Posted by: Robert Payne on Aug 29, 2006 12:56:51 PM

I think blogs are an excellent way to attract people to a related product. My blog is rather new, but I have an existing audience of about 20,000 readers. That helped me leap out of the gate quickly.

I know I have made money on it. However, it really is a branding excercise.

Mike

Posted by: Michael Stelzner on Aug 29, 2006 11:07:33 PM

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