Advertise Or Re-Design?This series is intended to help you answer the burning question – “Is it time for a new web site?” If you haven’t read the earlier posts, I’ll include them here – but you can jump in right here.

This week, I’m going to talk about how to identify your perfect market by blogging. How does one go about doing that? First, let me stipulate up front that this approach will take 6 months to a year. If you don’t have that kind of time, read the Week 2 post. You can accelerate the curve to 90 days if you can spend some money on advertising. If you can’t do either and need the money now, it’s time to get a job.

That out of the way, let me address a couple of basics about blogging.

  1. If you don’t understand the point of a blog, start reading blogs. I refuse to explain the point of blogging to anyone who doesn’t read blogs. If you set aside 30 minutes per week to read blogs, you’ll either start to get the point or decide that blogging is clearly not for you. Get an RSS reader. If you run out of stuff to read before 30 minutes are up, go out and find some more blogs. There are plenty.
  2. Blogs aren’t just for writers. You can create a video blog or a photo blog. Check out Max Chandler’s visual blog as a good example of original content. Whatever medium you choose, a blog must authentically express who you are.
  3. Blogs aren’t for advertising. I can’t stress this enough – partly because you’re going to find a lot of blog posts with titles like “5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a [insert name of profession here].” Just because you see someone else doing it doesn’t make it a good idea. Blogs are terrible for advertising.

What exactly are we doing here, and how is this going to help you sell more plumbing supplies? For the next six months, it isn’t. In fact, it might never. What you’re looking to do is begin mastering the art of attracting like-minded individuals by expressing your passion. Create a blog filled with the ideas that inspire you the  most. Sooner or later, those ideas will inspire someone else. How will you know when this happens? The easier you make it for people to respond to you, the sooner you’ll get a response. One technique that I’ve tried before is something I call “the Easter Egg” technique. I wrote a newsletter for a client where we buried a line that quietly mentioned an opportunity for a free dessert for the first person who mentioned the newsletter in the store. There are plenty of other ways – the key is to be creative.

Sooner or later, someone will begin to respond. It might come in the form of an offline response – such as “I saw your blog post the other day…” Write down where the responses are coming from, and pay attention to what seems to be attracting a response.

This may seem to be straying a bit from our original topic 3 weeks ago, but I promise you that it’s not. This will help you to figure out who your market is – if in a slow and roundabout way. You might find yourself attracting the wrong kind of people for your business. If that happens, consider that you might be in the wrong business altogether.

Next week, I’ll be wrapping up the series with a discussion of information products. Hint: if you blog and stick with it, selling information products will be a natural fit.

Advertise Or Re-Design?

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