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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Information, free

My Google Analytics software tells me that several people have visited this blog to find the free Vocus, Inc. paper on achieving blog publicity. I speculate that readers of this blog received the same promotional email that I did, then, instead of filling in the form and giving their information to a Vocus sales rep, googled the topic, found that I had posted it on my blog, and visited this site to get the information they were seeking, without going anywhere near Vocus's data capturing login.

This is not a problem for me, or (I think) Vocus. I'm sure that most qualified responses to the offer completed the information requested -- after all if you really don't want to be 'seen' by Vocus you are either a competitor or a tire kicker -- hardly someone to waste the time of one of their sales representatives.

Of course, there is still the issue of communications, commitment, and the like. How much energy should you invest in reaching potential clients who don't respond to you or don't want to be identified? Are e-letters and 'white papers' worthwhile? I will say 'yes' -- especially since they allow you to unobtrusively engage the clients with your business and connect to what you are offering.

My own newsletter, for example, provides an easy-to-manage connection. If you request to be on the newsletter list, you'll receive the bi-weekly communication plus occasional additional emails. If you wish to opt out, it is easy to cancel. The reach of this newsletter is far more effective and far less expensive than any other form of communication.

Obviously, you are not going to sell big-ticket AEC services through direct response newsletters and even blogs! These are simply a component of the marketing process; the real achievement, ultimately comes from the quality of your work, and the interpersonal relationships you achieve with your clients, colleagues and suppliers. The marketing 'buzz' you achieve through any promotional initiative simply reinforces and supports the softer, but much more important direct contact and relationships you build in running your business or professional practice.

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