Last week I cleared my calendar to spend three days at a business growth intensive conference called 12 Months to 6 Figures by one of my favorite business coaches, Tommi Wolfe.
I’ve been going to Tommi’s conferences and events for about three years now. Why do I keep going? For the inspiration. For the clarity. For the networking.
This time was no different. I enjoyed myself immensely, especially the ability to sit in a room with a couple hundred like-minded individuals and just focus on my business for three days. But it was clear from the get-go on day two that Tommi was feeling more comfortable in her skin now, as a very well established business coach, and she was willing to give out some advice that might have seemed a tad controversial to some in the audience.
Like the advice that for businesses just getting started, internet marketing isn’t where they should be focusing their businesses.
My friend who was attending with me kept glancing at me kind of sideways when Tommi was up on stage telling everyone that for most of them in the audience, blogging, email marketing, and social media weren’t where they should be spending their time. I think my friend was wondering if I was going to be worried or offended by those statements.
But the truth is, I agree with her.
Tommi handed out a worksheet that listed the top 15 or so broad categories of marketing, and she asked us to rank the ones that were most effective for us.
Want to know what my most effective marketing strategies are for actually signing new clients?
- Word of mouth
- Strategic partnerships
Of these, only one is really internet-based: I have gotten a lot of leads from Facebook communities I’m a part of.
Notice where blogging is on that list? Yeah, it’s pretty far down. In fact, even as a pro-blogger, I can count on two hands the number of leads I’ve gotten directly from my website (where they googled and found me organically), and on one hand the number of clients.
What’s up with that?!? Does that mean I’m a bad blogger? Does it mean that my website sucks or that my blog isn’t doing it’s job?
Not at all.
Know your blog’s true mission.
Here’s the thing: In our internet-savvy world, people have heard over and over again that they must do content marketing, that they must have a blog, that they must be all over social media.
But for most people, that’s not where their leads are going to come from. Not initially, anyway.
If you’re in an early stage of your business, still working on getting your first few clients, still struggling to get your name out there, still defining who you really are and what you really do…
Blogging is not going to drive a ton of clients to you.
Blogging is one of the widest circles of your influence. It’s like standing around at a networking function and talking to whoever can hear you. A few people might stop to listen. A few might be interested in what you say. But you’re not going to reach the whole room that way.
When you look at your circles of influence, or your sales funnel, or whatever metaphor you want to use here, blogging very rarely leads to a direct sale.
Scary thought, right?
But think about it: Usually what happens is that someone finds you or your blog, they read a few posts, maybe they go away and come back, then they opt-in to your email list and read some of your posts that you send in your newsletter, and then maybe they sign up for a webinar or a free chat with you, and then — FINALLY — maybe they become a customer.
But blogging rarely leads directly to a sale.
Now, don’t get me wrong; there are some business models where blogging does lead more directly to a sale. If you sell a product, or if you do a lot of affiliate marketing with lower price-point items, then yes, sometimes you will have a blog post with a literal buy now button that leads to a sale.
But most of my clients and readers are selling higher-end products and those products are going to have a longer sales cycle. That’s just facts, Jack.
So why bother blogging?
Should you give up blogging, then? The answer is probably not.
Tommi had a wonderful way of putting it that you are laying the foundation for when you grow by getting yourself a website and a blog early in the stages of your business. Because hopefully you intend to grow to a place where you will be attracting many, many leads into your circles of influence through your blog.
The point of blogging, then, is that you are providing a service for your customers. You’re giving them incredible value. And you’re doing it for free.
It’s the new economy sales model, and it works. It’s about proving, right from a new lead’s first or second interaction with you, that you are serious about providing incredible value in your field.
But this is where many bloggers get it wrong.
What’s your blog mission?
I see so many, many people who want to blog for the wrong reasons:
- They want to blog to increase SEO and get ranked better by Google
- They want to blog to improve their sales.
- They want to blog to get more leads.
- They want to blog to make money.
None of those reasons is inherently wrong exactly, but none should be the primary reason you blog. Blogging can and will increase your SEO, get you ranked better by Google and drive leads, sales, and customers.
But if you blog specifically for those reasons, you won’t be pleased with the results.
Because we all know what happens to people who try to game the system with SEO, right? Sure, you can optimize a blog post for a keyword (and you should), but when you are writing specifically to try to rank, you’re missing the point.
And we’ve all seen blogs that seem to be all “buy, buy, buy!” or “sell, sell, sell!” a hundred percent of the time. How many of those blogs do you regularly read?
Your blog’s primary mission must be to provide value for your reader.
That’s the only mission statement your blog needs.
If you consistently, honestly, and authentically provide incredible value for your readers, your blog will naturally and organically help you rank well and drive sales. It just happens. (That’s the magic part!)
But when you start with the wrong mission in mind, many times you won’t ever reach your goals at all.
What’s your blog’s mission? This is one of the only times I’m going to tell you that there’s only one right answer here:
My blog’s mission is to consistently, honestly, and authentically provide incredible value for my readers.
Love it? Hate it? Agree with me or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.