Blogging First And Foremost

Marketing First

That was the title I selected as the introduction for a post to launch the new free downloadable e-book: Marketing Right Now. I pondered long and hard on what title might be best. The book deals with the fundamental basics of starting up and growing a business. Almost by default I chose the title Marketing First. My implicit thinking was that any activity is best done if you first cover strategy and then work out the tactics. That is true in waging war and it is also true in growing your business.

expert blogging

An alternative title might have been Marketing Strategy First. When researching that title, I was struck by a website I found that dealt with ‘strategic marketing for growing companies’. The strategic marketing expert had assembled a lot of the right stuff. However I was somewhat surprised to find that the blog was buried almost in the footer and the archive of blog posts, shown on the right, suggested this was not a high priority.

Strategy First, Blog Second

Although there are many important principles in the E-Book, Marketing Right Now, if I could choose only one that would have the biggest impact then I think it would be the title of this post: Blogging First And Foremost.

The sad fact is that blogging does not get the respect it should have. Blogging is all about the dialogue you should have with your prospects and clients. Even if that were not sufficient reason, the other important factor is that Google loves blogs. The RSS news feed for your blog is an instant alert to the world that you have something to say.

Nevertheless blogs, like Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect. Of course they most often started off as personal musings or journals, so why would anyone else care. In addition, blog is such an unfortunate and ungainly name. I often recommend that clients use a different name. For example News and Views is an upbeat kind of title. For some websites, Fresh Ideas can be an even better choice.

Dialogue With Your Market-Place

If you are not using your blog to make contact with your market-place at least once per week, you might adopt this discipline. As your week draws to a close, ask yourself the question, “What did my prospects and clients hear from me this week? Of course there is another question you should be keeping in mind. What did my prospects and clients hear from my competitors? With that thought in mind make sure that early each week you have something to say to these important individuals in your marketplace.

If you have nothing to say, are you sure you’re working hard enough to grow your business. At the very least, you may have seen something in the market-place from your radar screens (Google Alerts, RSS News Feed subscriptions) that your contacts will find interesting. Remember every time you write a blog post, you are improving your visibility with Google. That’s where prospects are looking for a supplier just like you.

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Email Marketing Requires Good Prospect Lists

Given the always increasing amounts of spam, email marketing has many challenges.  Nevertheless when a prospect receives on her/his screen a missive they have requested from you, you have the very best chance of engaging their interest and hopefully securing their order. It therefore is worth putting in the effort to take the necessary steps to get it right.

Throughout you must ensure your actions are in conformance with the CAN-SPAM Act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act). This sets out the requirements for those who send commercial email including penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam.

Your program must include a good Email List Management process.  This may well start with one of the high-quality lists of opt-in addresses, which are available for rent. Most of the better ones are not cheap but they can be very targeted, and have already been cleaned of bad addresses.

One source of these is the List Company with one of the largest databases including over 14 million US businesses and 300 million US consumers.  Their data is more accurate than other commercially available marketing data and is continuously updated with NCOA software (National Change of Address), CASS Certification, and other standard accuracy processes.  They go so far as to guarantee the deliverability and contact rate of the data in writing.

They have a variety of lists such as consumer lists, business lists, telemarketing lists, mortgage mailing lists, and other specialty response lists.  All of these can be highly targeted by appropriate marketing and socio-economic factors.  It is not surprising that many top companies have come to rely on their compilations.

By continually working with and managing these lists and sending out email messages from IPs that have a good reputation in Junk Email terms, companies should see their messages getting through to prospects and a good return from their email marketing efforts.

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Business Bookstore

We are pleased to announce that we have now added a Business Bookstore to this website. It includes books on business with a special emphasis on marketing and selling.

You can reach this on any web post or page of this blog via the tab on the navigation bar at the top of the page. We hope you will find the contents useful and informative.

If there are other sections that you believe would be appropriate in such a Business Bookstore, then please add your suggestions in the comments.

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SMM Newsletters Take A New Format

SMM has been producing newsletters since 2000 in a similar format. Clearly a change is way overdue. The relative search engine visibility of web pages versus blog posts means there is no contest. The online versions of the newsletter must be featured in a blog rather than merely on website pages. Even though the SMM newsletters have had an RSS newsfeed since 2003, they are still much less visible and require more maintenance than an equivalent series of blog posts.

A number of our readers do prefer to receive the newsletter by E-mail and that service will continue. That is why you may note the box at the top of the right sidebar by which you can subscribe to the new format SMM newsletters. The E-mail monthly newsletters will be issued at the end of every month and will feature the 10 to 12 most interesting SMM blog posts appearing during the month. The same information will appear in an online version in this blog.

There are a variety of ways such an E-mail subscription list can be handled. SMM has done all this in-house and uses a freely available software, Pimex MailExpress. As the readership is now approaching the 1000 mark, another solution will be needed.

Icontact.com

Our research is not complete, but the e-mail marketing service from icontact.com would seem to be a strong contender. Their system for bulk email marketing has very attractive economics and it handles all the readers subscriptions issues. There is a video that gives an excellent rundown of their email marketing solution. Since a 15 day free trial of iContact is available, that is the very best way to check whether their solution works for you.

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