Blogging for Business
Blogging, like any other marketing vehicle, works best for those who have thought through their business goals and determined what it is, exactly, that they are trying to accomplish. Bloggers are likely looking for a lot of public recognition; a big following. But is that what you want for your business? Do you want people to say, “Oh yeah—I know Joe the Printer, you guys are everywhere,” or is your printshop perfectly satisfied with a more low key existence? Maybe you’re more interested in a steady stream of loyal customers who spend enough money to keep you in the black and that’s it—no public fanfare necessary.
If you decide a little fame would be good for your business goals, take a look at those 24 hours again. Do you have time to spend on a blog? Then consider your skill. Are you a writer? Do you keep a personal journal and jot every chance you get? Then you definitely have what it takes to be a blogger. But if English was your least favorite subject in school and you’d rather do just about anything other than write, you may want to consider a better use of your time. Keep that in mind for every business venture you undergo, if you don’t have the right mix of budget, talent, and time to do it right, you may want to head down another route. There are so many great marketing options to choose from, why not pick the ones you’re passionate about?
Here a Salesman, There a Salesman
Knowing your business and yourself is key when those salespeople come knocking at your door. If you have a solid understanding of your business goals and marketing strategies that will benefit it, it will be a lot easier to decide if what those salespeople are selling is truly worth its weight in marketing gold.
Again it’s time to listen to the expert in you. If a print ad salesman shows you that every printer within a 50 mile radius is advertising with them, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. In fact, would going “outside of the box” be beneficial? Would it help you stand out from the crowd of competitors? Or maybe that print ad does make sense and this salesperson is the perfect opportunity to negotiate a great deal.
What about the search engine expert who’s been sending you emails? Is what he’s selling truly going to get you the results you seek? Will you see a return on the investment you make with him? Ensuring expert status in this field is tricky, so be sure to do your homework. Make sure they can prove success with others in the printing industry. That should be the very first question you ask anyone trying to sell you this service, “What specifically do you know about print buyers?”
Now let’s consider that email marketing provider touting its excellent return on investment. A very true statement indeed and an amazing follow-up tool for other marketing efforts, but we must remember our business before buying into one sole marketing tactic. If you quit sending samples of your printing to your customers, what message is that sending about your faith in your product? What if you sent a few printed marketing pieces followed by some excellent email promotions? Would that leave a better impression?
The Clock is Ticking
The 24 hours in this day are ticking away as you read this. How are you going to spend the rest of them? I would hope, after reading this article, you’re ready to take a step back and really explore your business. Stop and listen to that inner voice that got you this far in the first place, and only then take note of the trends and “what the experts are saying.” You’ll be amazed how confident you’ll become in your marketing choices once you stop and take a listen to that expert in you.
Tawnya Starr is a former successful print shop owner who is now president of FireSpring’s PrinterPresence. She has dedicated her career to educating the printing industry on proven website and marketing strategies. In 2005, she received the NAQP Industry Award of Distinction for her service as a consultant and educator to the industry. Contact her at Tawnya.Starr@Firespring.com.