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Saturday, April 19, 2008

The answers under our nose

Why so many visitors from St. Louis? This blog posting provides the key clues.

Here are several important observations gleaned yesterday.
  • The total number of visitors to this blog reached a record high of 272.

  • More than 80 visitors showed up from St. Louis, MO -- the most I've seen from any one place

  • I sent my email inviting participation in the "source of business" poll to an extended list of 3,240 names. Of these, so far 482 (or 16.2 per cent) opened the email, and 107 (or 22.7 per cent of that number) clicked through to the survey. I know who these individuals are. Right now, I have 72 survey responses. I don't know who individually answered which survey question.

  • I earned the grand sum of $2.72 in direct revenue from the blog. Six people signed up for my newsletter (through two channels) and three requested to 'unsubscribe'. No one complained of spam, despite the large mailing including to many names not on my regular email list.
What do these observations tell me?
  • If you invite people to do business with you, say by advertising or "e-blasts" you may attract plenty of response, but if you are looking for a quick buck, you had better rethink your strategy.

  • People care about themselves and their friends, and if you reach them at their level, they will respond. I can trace the incredible number of visitors from St. Louis to a couple of postings yesterday, when I reported on local marketing initiatives which I thought relevant to everyone reading the blog. They are most likely especially important to the people working at the relevant companies.

  • These responses don't necessarily translate (again) to immediate business. I can't trace any meaningful revenue or even identifiable leads from all the St. Louis visitors, yet.
I conclude that yesterday I achieved modest marketing success. We received a net gain of three leads (and didn't offend or turn anyone off to the point of earning a spam complaint) and some useful visibility. But none of the many visitors entered into a dialogue with me, and I can't track any leads likely to lead to measurable short-to-medium term business development opportunities. I spent, say, about an hour on the project and enjoyed it, so it didn't hurt. I didn't need to invest any money beyond modest flat monthly Internet service fees.

The underlying point of this posting is that blogging, email marketing, and Internet strategies can generate your business a wealth of information and insights -- and amazingly detailed statistics and data. Just don't confuse the noise with results. Remember the poll -- if you are one of the majority of 68 per cent, you find most of your new business from existing clients and word-of-mouth recommendation. Where should you spend most of your marketing energies?

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