This is fun. See, most of what I do in my day job involves working with well-established companies and web sites, and either trying to fix what’s wrong or to improve what could be working better. And that’s fun, too. But I have a lab rat to play with at the moment, and it’s a new marketing tool for a small business I’m familiar with:
My wife has just launched her Tri-Cities (WA) real estate blog.
(That, in fact, will be the first and only inbound link it has. Pardon the thick anchor text, please.)
I’m going to be testing all kinds of things to increase traffic, increase links, and increase feed subscriber totals to her blog. This will be quite a challenge because the market for people interested in reading about homes and real estate in our neck of the woods will be very, very small.
Today, however, I decided to start with the incredibly addictive MyBlogLog. And, in the hopes that this will help the next small business launching a blog and wondering how and where to start marketing, I’m going to post a recap of what we did today. Because she’s already getting traffic.
The percent of MyBlogLog users who might want to buy or sell a house in our neck of the woods has to be incredibly small, so we’re not going to measure success by new listings or home sales.
By joining MyBlogLog, you’re really marketing yourself mainly to other bloggers. So, for our purposes, the goals would be to gain exposure amongst other real estate bloggers — for MyBlogLog to facilitate the development of relationships and (hopefully) friendships with real estate bloggers & agents elsewhere in the state. That could potentially lead to referrals as those agents come in contact with clients who are looking to buy a home in our area, i.e., “I know an agent in Tri-Cities, let me get in touch with her for you….”
Small Business Blog Marketing, Day One
1. Create an account at MyBlogLog. We actually created Cari’s MBL account a few days ago, but you’re okay as long as you do it before you start linking out to other blogs and going after traffic. Go through the whole process with filling out your profile. And then setup your blog’s community page, too.
2. Put the MBL “Recent Readers” widget on your blog. You have to do this before you start trying to build traffic, because you want MyBlogLog to help you acquire traffic.
3. On your blog, add “blogroll” links to relevant sites. As any blogger will tell you, building a blogroll can be very effective marketing. Why? Because just about all bloggers keep track of who links to them.
One of the links we put in Cari’s blogroll is to the Bloodhound Blog, which has become one of her favorite real estate blogs in the couple weeks since she’s started using Bloglines.
Sure enough, within hours, someone from Bloodhound Blog had seen the new inbound link, and checked out Cari’s blog. (They’re “Odysseus” in the image below.)
What does that mean? Two words: Instant credibility. It’s like when you see Danny Sullivan’s icon (or Stuntdubl, or Graywolf, Bill S., etc.) in the “Recent Readers” of this blog. And someone from Zillow.com also visited, adding even more credibility. That’s a nice start.
4. Use MyBlogLog for all its worth. Just putting the widget on your site and creating a community isn’t nearly enough. You have to start making friends (adding contacts) and joining communities. When I joined MySpace last year, this is the step I didn’t do, and I’m sure it’s why MySpace never did anything for this blog.
Since Bloodhound Blog was the first visitor from MBL, we joined and investigated their community first. The immediate benefit is more exposure. As soon as you join a community, there you are, front and center on their community page.
That means more clicks to Cari’s profile from future visitors to their community page, and hopefully those people looking at Cari’s profile will eventually make their way to her blog.
Ultimately, Cari joined 10 MBL communities today — that’s 10 pages where her profile is front and center as a “new member.” She also added a total of 16 contacts — most of whom are other real estate bloggers she recognizes and respects from her blog reading. With that many communities and contacts, her profile page looks a lot busier and more complete, which I expect will help — there’s nothing worse then looking at someone’s profile and seeing they have no contacts and they haven’t joined any communities. That screams “dead end.”
At the moment, almost 50 views of Cari’s MBL profile page. Fewer than half of those clicked through to her blog, but that’s okay. Small steps. It’s just good to see the blog getting some traffic of any kind at the moment — nice to see some new MBL icons showing up on the widget. (see image at right) As always, when it comes to small business marketing — whether it’s a blog or a web site — there’s much more left to do.
[tags]mybloglog, real estate blogging, small business blogging, blogs[/tags]