Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hot Button 6/15 - Belonging

If you've got any special events going on or coming up, don't forget to post the on the news board bulletin up top!

Continuing with the 15 hot buttons (from Marketing Straight to the Heart by: Barry Feig) to supercharge your blog's growth is button #6: Need For Belonging.

"When James Taylor wrote 'You've Got a Friend' an anthem of a sort in the 1970's, he didn't know he was writing a marketing essay.

Many people play sports for the camaraderie of the sport and the desire to belong.  Recently several groups of adult consumers were asked if they would rather be on a winning team of gung ho personalities who went their separate ways after the game, or a losing team that got together after the game for good times.  Most of the people chose the latter.

Americans are among the joiningest people in the world.  Proof is probably in your wallet.  How many clubs do you belong to? (for me, let's see: Preferred clubs for Albertson's, Fred Meyer, Shopko, Staples, Rite Aid, Best Buy, Big Lots, Joann's, Hancock Fabrics, Subway and probably, that's crazy).  How many associations?...

We want to be among people who are like ourselves.  Developing an affinity group is an effective way to market your product (or blog).  If you have a group, you have a targetable audience."

Nothing could be more true about the blogging world.  Just visiting a blog and commenting is like hanging out with people like yourself and joining the visitors club.  We all love to be with people like ourselves.  For you crafty bloggers, who are your biggest fans?  Other crafters like you!  Same with couponers, parenting advisers, and any blogger focusing on a niche.  Your biggest fans are people who have the same interests.  How can you grow your blog through creating a community?  How can you help your readers feel like they're involved with your blog and your other readers?

One of the biggest and fastest growing "clubs" are weekly link-up parties.  You will find tons of them all over the web.  It's really fun to join one or make one for yourself.  The blogger gets to see what their readers are up to, and readers get to meet other visitors and make new friends.  Its the weekly club meeting.  They can be very powerful tools for your growth.  It gives infrequent visitors motivation to visit at least once a week, and lets your frequent visitors have a chance to strut their stuff and share their own thoughts.  When participants post about the party on their blog, it drives new traffic to your site.  Joining parties will do the same thing by giving other blogger's readers a chance to find your site.

Another way to help your readers feel like they belong to something is through your e-mail newsletter.  (Which all of you should have set up your sign-up form on your blog by this point...  If not, read my post here about why this is very important to start as soon as possible!  Don't procrastinate like I did originally!)  Make sure they know that joining your newsletter is going to give them special information or opportunities that they otherwise may not receive by just being a casual blog reader.  Big companies totally use this method to grow their businesses.  Why is it, we wonder, that everything we sign up for requires us to add our e-mail address?  Why companies offer deals, coupons, and insider information as incentives to join their newsletter?  Because they know the best way to reach out to customers (readers) is through their e-mail.  Their audience may not visit their site to shop all the time, but its a safe bet they'll check their e-mail.  This maximizes the chance for reader participation by giving them multiple invitations and announcements.  This is going to be one of your biggest helps in growing your blog, business, or anything else.

There are lots of ways to create a feeling of belonging on your blog.  Think creatively and I bet you'll be able to come up with something unique for your readers.  Focus on a main interest you all share, or an activity.  Then build around it.  What would make this even better?...  You could come up with a weekly challenge and give readers a chance to share their experiences.  Maybe make a community of sharing of some sort.  There are tons of ideas out there.  Add a feeling of belonging to your blog and your readership loyalty will grow even stronger.

2 bloggy friends commented:

Melissa said...

Good tips. I thought to wait on a linky party but maybe I should do it sooner...

Sarah said...

Linky parties are lots of fun. Starting sooner can be a good idea, because then you can start spreading the word and growing your blog.

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