Corporate Blogging Survey 2005
 
BACKBONE CORPORATE BLOGGING SURVEY 2005
 
 

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August 22, 2005

Sales From Blogging

Here’s one post on the corporate blogging survey I’ve been meaning to post on for a while, Betsy Richter of OneByOneMedia wrote

“You'll notice that survey respondents report that they've had low impact on sales as a result of blogging - while they do claim increased site visibility due to search engine ranking and inbound traffic. I'd argue that it's nearly impossible to effectively and directly measure the impact of any marketing initiative on sales, unless there's a measurable hoop (coupon, discount offer, special URL that can be tracked, etc.) that is the only way into the special offer (especially if you have a separate sales force with competing interests.) That's why I'd argue that you shouldn't list "increase sales" as the proof point about your blog's effectiveness over time.?

Betsy’s right....

....sales was not a big pull for many of the corporate bloggers we interviewed, though I would say that for some individual bloggers, Macromedia in particular, companies have experienced some additional sales. I think that blogging is still relatively new 2-3 years and it will take some time to help with direct sales. However, the effects of blogging and search engine marketing is very positive, so long as you don’t spam, and start your conversation with other bloggers within the context of what they want to discuss, a business blogger does have the opportunity to get more links and hence higher SEO rankings, which means more opportunities for sales. Which is un-measurable as a direct result from blog links.

Posted by johncass at August 22, 2005 10:39 PM

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Comments

John,
Good observations -- although we'd love to be able to tell our clients that a blog will increase their sales, as in nearly all public relations campaigns, unfortunately the ROI isn't as clear-cut as that.

Posted by: Laurie Mayers at August 23, 2005 10:23 AM

Thanks Laurie, I think we do have more tools than we once did to measure public relations, or even blogger relations than we once did. An example would be to see a spike in direct traffic, if you recently had an article published. If you can offer a coupon or some other sort of offer with your PR efforts that's a great way to measure, but you are right there are still a lot of gaps in measurement.

Having worked in search marketing for a while, I am always aware that I will not always be able to measure everything accurately, but I definitely have better numbers than marketeers once did have for print advertising. I also think that the discipline of measurement from Internet marketing is helping marketing people to measure traditional forms of marketing. One, as people now have to report and make the comparisons and two, people understand the strategy as a way of producing the best results.

A caveat however, is that sometimes your efforts will produce overall results but will not be totally measurable. I think that's why we see the dramatic differences between paid search and organic search. It's a lot easier to put a budget towards paid search, there is at some level a guaranteed level of results, and while with organic search a company is dependant upon search engines for their rankings. To me that’s interesting as the strategy of lots of good relevant content, votes in terms of links and an accessible search engine spider site may take more planning and effort than paid ads, but the results and ROI can be higher. If developing lots of good content on your industry may be something that your competitors don’t follow as a strategy, you can beat the competition by building the best website in your industry. Oh, blogs, forums and wiki’s and other social networking websites now have a big part to play in that process.

Posted by: John Cass at August 24, 2005 12:10 PM

John,

I have heard anecdotally from clients that blogging helped them in sales relationships. That is, when they walk into an initial meeting the person on the other side of the table may have read the blog (usually thanks to a name search). If that happened, then some of the early ice breaking and relationship building is already done.

Also, the blog can help continue and extend the relationship with prospects, even if they are not now ready to become a customer.

Is that something that has a hard ROI tied to it? Probably not, but it does help in the overall sales process. I wonder if more data would let us argue that it shortens the sales cycle.

Posted by: Chuck Tanowitz at August 26, 2005 11:19 AM

Chuck,

You raise a very good point, one of the corporate blogging survey readers recently emailed to ask me that very question.

Thinking about this issue again, many of our clients come to Backbone Media looking for higher search engine rankings to generate more traffic and potential sales. We help to provide the results.

One of the original reasons that I was interested in researching blogging was to discover its effects on search engine rankings. I definitely understand the benefits for higher rankings can be generated from blogs. To me however, what is interesting are the consequences in terms of speeding up the process of relationship building between a customer and vendor.

I have a case study on Indium from my presentation on blogging at the business blog summit that illustrates how through blogging Indium has garnered many more sales opportunities. There’s the pdf but I will also get around to writing a blog post.

John

Posted by: John Cass at August 26, 2005 2:37 PM

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