I was just talking with a client about blogs.
The client loves the idea of reaching out to his core audience of supporters, but fears the one thing that gets all of us.
Consistency is the key to success in anything you try. From raising kids, training dogs, pursuing a great marriage or running a marketing campaign you have to have input and effort on a regular basis over a long period of time before you see results.
I don't know the official numbers, but it would be safe to say that at least half of the marketing efforts I see from small businesses die due to the lack of energy.
You know how it goes. The owner returns from a conference or reads an article about the importance of Facebook or the web and they drop everything for a week or so to get their digital house in order.
The content is focused and on target and effective. For a week.
Then, like Novocaine and gravity, the same things that drew their attention before the conference or article start to have their effect.
Things like, you know, running the business.
It doesn't take long before the well-meaning blog, website, Facebook page or podcast begins languishing in the Boneyard of Great Ideas That Won't Ever Happen and a great opportunity is wasted.
The difference between the owners or executives who have a lively, popular online presence and those who do not comes down to a few things:
They Know Their Audience - I am learning about the value of identifying your key customer. Who consumes your product? This is deeper than just saying 'a 35-64 female who makes $50,000 or more per year'. This is saying 'my key customer is a 42 year old active woman with a well-paying job, two kids, a mortgage and a flair for fashion.' It can go even further than that. Having this level of detail can help you determine what your customers are interested in. Think like your key customer and write or post with them in mind.
The Way They Look at Things - Almost everything that happens can be turned into information for your core audience. This blog could have been about the movies I saw over the weekend or the trip I took with my daughter. I tell people that a blog is a place where you can write the things you find yourself telling your clients most often. That's how I decided on today's blog entry.
Commitment From the Start - It is possible for an old dog to learn some online tricks, but it is much easier to start em young. If you are just starting your business, make blogging, Facebook, your website and other digital communication part of your routine. Build your audience consistently with these tools and don't ever quit. If you are a long time business owner who has decided this must be part of your branding going forward - good on ya. The same message goes to you. Don't ever stop! I would even argue that average content over a long period of time is far more effective than a month of great stuff and then nothing.
If You Need Help, Ask! - One of the best things about the Internet Era is the amount of information that is at our fingertips - for free! You can Google any topic (including this one) and find a long list of people who have a long list of tips and tricks to get you started. You may also be pleasantly surprised by the number of people in your own community who would help you with various aspects of your business. Reach out and learn from them. They might be looking to learn something from you, too.
The benefit of a consistent digital presence far outweighs the cost. Your customers want to know more about you and your product. They like your take on things and want to know what you know. Share it with them.
Good luck with your digital presence. I would be happy to proofread or edit your stuff, too. Just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.