August 28, 2008
Liz published this at 1:03 pm
by Scott McIntyre
Last week, I discussed ways in which you might help to involve the offline customer in your blog community and, in particular, make it a little easier for them to participate in your comments section. It was very interesting to learn of the different ways you are already talking with non-bloggers.
Without doubt, one of the most exciting and unique features of a blog is the opportunity it provides for a dialogue to take place between the blogger and the reader- and, indeed, the chance it gives for conversations to take place between your readers themselves. By fostering a community around your blog you are also helping to create a sense of loyalty towards your online offering. Whether you are providing information or an alternative form of product or service, customer loyalty is the most powerful factor in long-term success. One-off visits are fine, but return trips are even better!
So, how do you begin to build a positive, long-term relationship between yourself and the offline customer- one which satisfies both of you? What do you do to provide value to the non-blogger? I’d be very interested to hear your ideas in the comments section below.
Today, I would like to look at how you can develop an ongoing dialogue between yourself and the offline customer, one that has advantages for you both.
Building Relationships With Non-Bloggers
Before you work to attract the offline customer to your online offering, it’s worth remembering that the new visitor will make instant decisions when they arrive. Will they stay around awhile or navigate away from your pages? Of course, it is fantastic when they find what they are looking for with you. The following three questions are worth considering as you aim for a benefit-packed relationship with the non-blogger:
- What does the non-blogger want?
This is, perhaps, the most basic- and critically important- factor to address. Successfully targeting your offline audience and delivering exactly what the non-blogger wants or needs is the first step to building any relationship. Each visitor to your blog has his or her own individual needs. For offline customers, these needs could be slightly different to those of your readers who are already familiar with blogs. It can be extremely useful to carry out some form of market research to work out what is of value to your potential non-blogging reader. Even if you do not have a profit generating website, it still helps to know that there is some level of demand out there for what you can supply. Every blogger wants an audience. It is even more vital to know what your target audience wants if your aim is to generate a profit.
- Can you meet the non-blogger’s needs?
In today’s information overloaded society, the offline customer is bombarded with choices regarding where they can get the information they want- both via traditional media like newspapers and magazines, and through new media like blogs and online knowledge banks. There are also multiple places for them to access the products and services that they demand. Is what you offer what the non-blogger is searching for? Put yourself in the position of a non-blogger coming to your site for the first time. What might you have that they want? If the format of your information does not match their requirements, then you can either adapt so that it is more suitable or else you might decide that targeting the offline audience will not provide an attractive return on investment. Your existing blog business model will dictate whether you embark upon this strategy.
- How do you assess whether you’re meeting the non-blogger’s needs?
To find out whether the offline customer is satisfied with your information, product or service, you can simply ask them. I know some of you gain feedback from your audience by having a ‘suggestion box’ on your blog. Another basic way of judging whether you are keeping your offline customer happy is to simply keep a watchful eye on what they are saying in your comments section. Of course, we previously discussed the fact that non-bloggers are somewhat reluctant to actively participate in the conversation by way of comments sections. But, why not consider emailing the ones who do to gain their feedback? If they’re already moved to be involved in your blog community, they will likely be enthusiastic about sharing their opinions with you. I know that I was very pleased when Liz contacted me to hear my perspective as an avid blog reader without a blog.
The three basic questions above can help you to focus on the process of building mutually beneficial relationships with offline customers. By thinking of the specific answers in relation to your own blog, you can take action to delight the non-blogger right from the start… and keep them coming back for more!
If you’re a blogger, leave a comment to let me know what you do to deliver benefits to non-bloggers? What other things might you consider as you aim to satisfy the non-blogging customer’s needs?
If you’re a non-blogger, tell them what they can do to give you value from their blog.
Week 1: Connecting with the Offline Customer: A Non-Blogger’s Perspective
Week 2: Targeting the Offline Customer: Do You Blog for Non-Bloggers?
Week 3: Reaching the Offline Customer: Do You Promote Your Blog Offline?
Week 4: Attracting the Offline Customer: Why Do You Promote Your Blog Offline?
Week 5: Top 10 Social Media Tips for Connecting With Non-Blogging Customers
Week 6: Welcoming the Offline Customer: Does Your Blog Create A Good Impression?
Week 7: Engaging the Offline Customer: Do You Talk With Non-Bloggers?