Reaching Customers in the Offline World
As I put together the SOBCon materials for Models and Masterminds course, I’m thinking about the folks we call visitors and whether they’re really customers.
When I first started my writing blog, I had one reader, a friend who likes to read. Then I joined a “click traffic group” and as long as I clicked other blogs I got a related number of pageviews. Those clickers became the first visitors to my blog. I’m fairly sure few actually read anything.
At day 21, a comment appeared. Shortly after that a few folks started coming back. I had regular readers. Then I had 10 subscribers. I even knew who some of them were. When page views reached 1000/day and comments were plenty and regular, I put up some ads. I thought I’d make some holiday money.
I was confused.
I hadn’t really been looking at who was visiting my blog.
Traffic, Readers, Colleagues — Are They Customers?
When you look at the people who visit your blog, what do they do and how long do they stay?
- Traffic – If they come in swarms following a link or bookmark and leave in a few seconds flat, it’s traffic. If someone stumbles a page and thousands come only to go away, isn’t that the same as people visiting a store because they were downtown to watch a parade? Traffic is noise unless convert it to readers or customers.
- Readers – If each visitor reads 1.5 pages or more, you’re building a community of readers. If an audience is your goal, you’ll well on your way. If selling is what you’re about, you’ll need to convert readers into customers. Readers ignore ad that sit in the sidebar. To sell to readers, talk about what they want. Be helpful in solving their problems with products and services that naturally draw from the content you discuss.
- Colleagues – Being helpful and solving problems can convert readers into customers. But look closely at your audience. Are they potential customers? If you run a “trade” blog — one that discusses the ideas, trends, and people in your industry — your discussions might be with an audience of colleagues not potential customers. Colleagues are unlikely to buy your products and services, at least not long enough for your business to thrive.
We can build a thriving blog that knocks everyone’s socks off, but it can be an investment of love and time that has no customers.
In a world where mostly bloggers read blogs, it’s a good habit to watch our audience. Unless we’re selling specifically to bloggers, our businesses will grow faster if we connect to customers outside the blogosphere.
How would you help a new blogging business connect to customers in the offline world?