Blogging Is Not About Direct ROI
Here’s the thing…
When someone clicks on a link to one of your blog posts, from social media or Google or an email or a text message or whatever, it’s probably the first time they’ve ever been on your website.
That’s a great thing.
It’s very difficult to earn the attention of someone that has no idea that you exist.
But you have to treat them as if it’s their first time.
Too often what I see in the blogging world is that everyone is concerned about the ROI of blogging.
Well guess what, you aren’t going to get direct ROI from a blog post. Very rarely will someone read one of your blog posts, click on your “Contact Us” button and be ready to buy as soon as you call them back.
Have you done that on a blog?
You can’t expect others to do it.
A Little Story
My first job out of college was in the catalog industry. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I learned all about direct selling.
I jumped in on the tail end of the catalog world. I don’t think it’ll ever die, but it will never be one of the only ways that people shop like it was in the ’60s through the ’90s.
Catalogs are direct selling tools. It took time to develop, but people like reading through catalogs and then buying things.
It’s easy to measure. You get so many sales per catalog. You can even look at lifetime value and spend more on sending out catalogs.
Very measurable and people love it.
Blogging is not like catalogs.
Blogging Is Branding
Blogging is a form of branding. It’s about earning the attention of people that have no idea that you exist. It’s about earning their trust by answering the questions they’re asking. It’s about exposing them to you and your brand.
Do this well enough and for long enough and you’ll get people to come to you when they’re in buying mode.
How often are you buying things?
Some estimates put it at 3% of the time. Even to me that seems a little high, but it’s probably close enough.
Catalogs aim for the 3% and less of our time.
Branding, including blogging, aim for the other 97% of the time. It’s about exposure, attention and trust. Then when those people move into buying mode they come to the brands they recognize, the brands that helped them.
Gary Vaynerchuk calls it Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
You give all these jabs. Blog posts. Videos. Podcasts. Content that entertains and educates. That’s all it’s about. Providing content that your target audience cares about. Helping them with no expectations.
Then after you’ve earned their attention and trust you finally reach out and sell to them.
Often times you don’t even need to ask for the sale. They’ll discover what you sell on their own and they’ll come to you to buy.
Now, this strategy takes longer. It’s more difficult to measure. But it works.
Actually, you know what? It’s not that difficult to measure.
It’s just more of a long-term measure.
Instead of sending out 100,000 catalogs to get 1,000 orders this month you’re committing to blogging or whatever branding strategy for the long-term. Then year over year you track your sales. You watch the increases each year. You keep on creating content. You keep watching how all the inbound channels continue to increase.
More people google your brand name. More people mention you across the web on blogs, podcasts, etc. More people follow you on social media. More people subscribe to your blogging newsletter. More people tell others about you.
If you’re looking for short-term ROI then the game for you is online advertising and catalogs. They’re not going anywhere. In fact, it’s good to get into that business. You want to focus on the 3% of the time people are ready to buy. You should be doing that.
But don’t ignore the other 97% of the time. That’s a huge opportunity to earn attention and trust. Focus on the long-term with your blogging and other branding activities. It’ll pay off for you if you do.
But if you’re not comfortable with it then your competition probably will be and they’ll be the ones that win in the long-term.