Such an important question, don’t you think? Yet how many of us fail to ask ourselves this question and give it a serious, comprehensive answer? Don’t shortchange yourself. This is something to take seriously. Not every business blog works, and not every idea is successful. Importantly, there are always reasons for failure of success!
Most people who read this site are interested in blog tips, social media for business and generally taking your business to the next level using these tools. Rock on. But is your business blog viable to begin with? Because if it’s not, no amount of blog marketing (or any marketing for that matter) will make it work.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What am I selling?
Psst…the answer is not “widgets”. That’s the product. You know…the steak. You sell the sizzle, not the steak. This is Sales 101 of course, but amazingly most business owners are not truly in touch with what they’re ACTUALLY SELLING. What engages your customers? What gets them to act? Why do they buy from you? What emotionally causes them to tell their friends about you? What is your sizzle? What makes you different? If you can’t answer this clearly and succinctly, you don’t know what you’re selling, and that is dangerous.
Do people want what I’m selling?
If you take the principle of “selling sizzle” you can quickly realize that there are many potential reasons people buy from you other than the actual product (or service) you’re selling. People buy for emotional reasons, not practical ones. Are you struggling to make your sales goals? In other words, are you failing to make the money you know you deserve from your business? Then you are either not selling something people want, or you are not IN TOUCH with why people actually buy from you? Do people buy from you because you’re conveniently located? Because you have a great smile? Because you have the best price? Because they truly believe you can help them with their particular problem more than anyone else can? What is it that’s actually causing the sale? Make sure your marketing is in alignment with that, and you will get beautiful results.
There is a restaurant (I won’t mention the name of the franchise) in my town that is the dirtiest restaurant in maybe the whole city. The service is horrible to an almost comical level. Yet they are the most profitable restaurant in the entire chain. Why? They have a beautifully convenient location. They are horrible in almost every way, except location. When it comes to location, they are invincible. We could discuss the ethical ramifications of this of course, but my point is that they know what they’re selling. They’re not selling a sanitary or enjoyable dining experience, and they make no attempt to do so. They are selling poor quality food at a high price to people who don’t want to drive a few minutes out of their way. Clearly, their are a lot of people who want this, because they rake in the cash, and they don’t challenge their business model. They are selling convenience. What are you selling? And…do people want what you’re selling?
Am I Hoping or Executing?
When it comes to marketing, a lot of business owners simply throw a bunch of stuff out there and hope something sticks. There’s something wrong with this approach of course. First, it’s expensive. Second, when something works, the scatter shot approach isn’t very good at indicating to you what works and what doesn’t. So you have no choice but to continue doing everything, for fear of losing whatever IS working. This is horribly inefficient.
Are you blogging? Why? What is your plan? What…specifically…do you hope to achieve from your blogging efforts? A blog is a fantastic communication tool, a way of creating a powerful community, a way of testing ideas, selling products and services, even creating new income streams that were never possible for your business before. But if you don’t approach it deliberately, you’re simply putting up a blog and hoping it works.
Instead of putting all the effort into blogging and marketing your business and blindly hoping for the best, do the research up front. Do it now. Talk to your people. Talk to your customers. Determine what you’re really selling, the most effective way to engage your audience on an emotional and effective level, and decide how you want to use your blog as a way of reaching people in a helpful and powerful way.
A business blog is not magic, it’s a powerful tool. Like a surgeon’s 10 blade. With deliberate, careful and trained use, it can create results that are amazingly helpful and even life-changing. But the same tool when used recklessly can do a lot of damage. It’s not the tool that produces any magic. The tool is simply a mechanism for producing a result. The magic comes from you. Do the ground work. You know…the boring stuff! It will pay you huge dividends.