Yesterday, I had a wonderful visit followed by lunch with a great friend and fellow writer. (Truly, I have some nerve putting myself in the same writing category with her.)
We met almost two years ago, but we met “in person” for the first time yesterday. Amanda Cleary Eastep, aka Word Ninja, is a member of myMarketing Cafe and one of the most gifted writers I’ve ever met. I also follow her blog, and she’s taught me many valuable lessons including how a small business can benefit from offline activities. Meeting her in person yesterday was as joyous as finishing a delicious book and having the rare opportunity to meet the author.
It was just really cool!
My time with Amanda, reminded me of the importance of offline engagement, especially for businesses that provide a service, or a blend of services and products. One of the most productive marketing and lead generation tools for my business is the Cup of Jo blog. But while I’ve shared before the 27 powerful reasons to use a blog for business growth, it’s important to remember that the blog is simply the gateway. There’s still work to be done offline.
If you follow a strong strategy to boost blog traffic, almost immediately a blog will begin to generate qualified leads and engagement. But add to your “to-do” list the important follow-up steps. Below is the simple lead nurturing process I recommend.
Blog Commenters: When someone comments on a blog post…THEY ARE INTERESTED IN YOUR CONTENT! Respond to the comment, of course, but spark an offline connection. Blog commenting systems require commenters to add their email and name when commenting. Reach out to the new contact and thank them for commenting and joining your community. Offer to connect with them on your professional social circles like LinkedIn. Once connected, begin regular dialogue, comment on their updates, and establish a natural professional relationship. When the time feels right, ask them if you can schedule an offline introductory call so that you learn more about their business.
Blog Subscribers: Even more than commenters, subscribers really like your content. When someone is kind enough to subscribe to you blog, visit their website. Comment on their posts. Become followers of their social channels. Engage with them on their social channels. This demonstrates the value of their new connection with you. Just like above, reach out and connect, and ask them if you can schedule an offline introductory call, so that you learn more about their business.
Introductory Call: This is a tender but critical point in the professional relationship. Don’t blow it! For this important, game-changing step, I trust my friend and Strategic Business Coach Jackie Nagel and what I’ve learned from her when it comes to making the introductory call.
- Don’t miss the call. When you are lucky enough to connect with a blog fan, make sure you make that call!
- Don’t be late for the call. Lateness, unless it’s due to an emergency, is a sign of poor time management, and sheer unprofessionalism. Be on time and ready to go.
- Do your homework in preparation for the call. Review the contact’s website to learn more about them. Conduct a simple google search to learn more about them, and visit their social media profiles. Use this information to prepare a list of ways you believe you might be able to support their business.
- Make the call about them. If you initiate the call, then you need to make the call about them. Don’t be in a “what’s in it for me” mindset.
- Listen! Listen to what your contact shares. As they share about themselves, think about ways you can help them.
- Share about the ideas you came up with during your research. Get their feedback. This demonstrates your genuine interest.
- Going forward from the call, treat your new contact as a close professional contact and send along leads and educational material that would be helpful for them.
- Decide whether or not to make an ASK. If you truly listen, the dialogue between you and your contact will dictate your next step.
Does a blend of online and offline activity sound like the direction your business should go? Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of A Guide To Successful Business Blogging. For the price of a fancy cup of coffee, you can completely change your business. True story!