March 6, 2005
Blogs and RSS are a cost-effective customer acquisition tool - soon to be an indispensable marketing strategy. But where do they fit into the marketing mix? I've listed below the more popular online lead generation techniques employed by marketers today. We'll examine each and provide tips on how a Blog or RSS strategy can compliment what you are doing today.
Blogs allow you to establish yourself as an expert just as white papers have. However, blogs allow for an ongoing conversation. They can be updated more frequently allowing you to contribute more information and further your position as a resource in your particular market. This frequency of updating draws people back. Furthermore, blogs are viral, allowing your content to spread quickly. People by from people, not some faceless emotionless piece of paper. The one thing blogs and white papers do have in common is they both require time.
Take-away is blogs are conversations and allow for a deeper interaction with customers. You can acheive far great results from a customer aquisition/retention standpoint with a blog strategy.
Often blogs are referred to as Better Listing On Google. The frequency of updates, trackbacks, pings, comments, blogrolls and RSS all add to the search engine juice. Additionally, RSS alone is great for link building. Paul Chaney explains how to deploy a Blog to compliment your search strategy. Stephan Spencer goes into greater detail how you can use RSS to improve your organic search results.
Take-away is blogs help with organic search. To achieve higher results with search engines, incorporate keywords/phrases in your posts on a frequent basis.
RSS is stealing banner ad impressions. The hunting and gathering you once did to look for new content at a website is nonexistent if you are consuming RSS feeds. Content updates are delivered directly to your news aggregator. You scan the headlines and go directly to the full post at the site. Or, if the publisher is sending full content feeds, you never leave your news aggregator. It could also be argued those impressions at the website will become more valuable because someone coming from an RSS feed has a strong affinity to the content and if the ads around the content are relevant, it could help with conversion rates.
So what do you do as a marketer? Start testing ads in RSS feeds. Content is being pushed out to the news aggregators. Go where the content is.
There are just too many hurdles to sending content via email today - SPAM, Can-SPAM act, ISP filters, consumer distrust with the channel, over-loaded inboxes, rising costs, blacklists! Not to mention the steps to be concerned with prior to the email leaving your server. Start educating and converting your newsletter subscribers to RSS and fast. Add an RSS feed to your site and place the icon right next to your newsletter subscription box, now! RSS is a direct link between you and your customers - just create your content and that's it. However, today, RSS is not a good one-to-one communication tool. Email is still king there. Don't run out and kill your email strategy but prepare for the future with RSS. For more information on email vs. RSS, Alex Barnett discusses how RSS fits into the marketing mix.
Take-away is sending content via email is increasingly getting more time consuming and costly. RSS is not mainstream yet however pepare for the future.
Blogs and RSS are reshaping the communication industry. They serve a dual role in Public Relations. First, they are a great tool to communicate to your customers and the press. It gives your company the power to take control of communicating your message or even responding to the press. Secondly, use RSS to monitor the conversations on other blogs. People are talking about your company. Make sure they know you are listening. It could help you keep existing customers or win new ones.
Steve Rubel, uber PR blogger, explains blogs like this, "Corporate Web sites are for business, blogs are for human beings."