Thursday, July 27, 2006

Linking blogs and newsletters together Part II (Lead Nurturing)

As a business blogger, one thing that probably won't work too well is to include in every post some sort of call to action to buy your products or services. If you don't believe me, I challenge you or Microsoft or IBM to include a post with the title "BUY NOW! BUY NOW! BUY NOW!". At least it will generate a few comments. :)

However, this is not what the blogging community wants to hear about. This type of mentality is what really pissed me off when I found Nike's Basketball blog. However, this is perhaps what male teenagers (their target audience) want to see.

While knowing what products and services you offer is important, it's even more significant that customers and prospects know what the business challenge is that is affecting them that would cause them to consider your company. For example, a large business that has a tough time amalgamating all of it's customer data may not realize that there are people out there that can help them. What they don't want to hear is "Call us now for a quote on how we can help you fix your CRM". Some may not know what they want to hear or know that they actually have a CRM (I'm serious). This is where marketing comes in. A blog post that demonstrates that 60% of companies are losing money as they can't manage their customer data properly may be a good start. A follow up article demonstrating the ROI success of a clean database would be another great approach. A even better one is "Are you staying late at night fixing your customer data?" It's all about building yourself up as the trusted advisor as described by Brian Carrol in his B2B Lead Generation blog

This whole concept dawned on me as I was reading through a B2B Online article by Karen J. Bannan regarding "Keeping Newsletter Readers Engaged". Blogs are not that much different from newsletters in many ways. Instead of using your e-newsletter as a selling piece, use it as a nurturing or matuation channel to ensure that your readers know about what problems are out there and that they are not alone. Blogs can be used in conjunction for this purpose. The difference? There are many.

The main differences are timing and style. B2B Newsletters ussually come out once a month or quarter as you don't want to push too much content at a prospect or customer for fear of the nasty "unsbubscribe". With blogs, people who are subscribing to your feeds are they're saying "I like what you're blogging about". The tone is different too as newsletters are mostly sappy marketing crap (no offense offense). Blogs can be more creative and personal.

Remember to use blogs as another piece of the marketing pie to keep your prospects and customers engaged and keep the name of your company at the top of their mind.

Chad H

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