Company: L&G Business Solutions
Contact: Lewis Green, Chief Communications Officer and Founder
Location: Avon, Conn.
Industry: Marketing and Consulting, B2B
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 2
Marketing executive and author Lewis Green wanted to re-establish his company, L&G Business Solutions, in January 2004 after moving across the country to Connecticut. With no professional network to tap, he figured the best way to promote his marketing and consulting business would be a blog.
When Green first began the blog in 2005, he had a formidable goal of attracting customers for his fledgling business, but no plan to back it up. Not surprisingly, he generated little traffic and few business leads.
Instead of giving up, however, he took the time to study social media, then implemented a detailed strategy for attracting and maintaining a solid readership base. As a result, Green turned his inexpensive blog into a major source of lead generation, triggering a 40% increase in his client base.
Lewis Green and his wife decided to relaunch their marketing company in 2004 after a new job he took didn't work out. Having recently relocated to the East Coast from Washington state, they had few business contacts in New England, so they knew they would have to get creative if they wanted to quickly generate brand recognition and build a new client base.
Green launched a company blog in April 2005 without a formal plan. He felt confident as a writer—after all, he was the author of five books, including his latest business title, Lead With Your Heart: Sell Happiness & You and Your Business Will Flourish. What he didn't realize, however, was that he would need to market the blog in order to generate any traffic.
"I was used to a world where you publish and people read what you write. So I built the blog and figured 'if you build it, they will come,'" recalled Green. "Well, they didn't come."
After six months of negligible results, Green took the blog down. Still, he saw major media groups and some of his competitors showing interest in social media and successfully launching blogs of their own. So rather than scrap the idea entirely, Green set out to learn where he went wrong and try again—this time with a veritable strategy, not just a goal.
BizSolutionsPlus, the company's re-engineered blog, launched in July 2006. Its new strategy focused on building relationships of trust, credibility. and respect instead of promoting products and services or building a direct mail database.
Green pinpointed the readers with whom he wanted to exchange ideas: current and potential clients, entrepreneurs, other marketers, and bloggers. He set out to cement relationships with those groups by...
- Writing about shared interests, such as best practices, and ideas for creating good business through a strong display of values
- Soliciting reader feedback in as many ways as possible, often ending posts with questions phrased to provoke thought and conversation
- Responding to every reader comment directly by email or telephone, and adding remarks to the blog's comment record
- Following web traffic patterns in order to identify the most popular topics, then tailoring future posts to readers' interests, as determined through tracking, blog comments, and other feedback
To generate readership and drive traffic to the BizSolutionsPlus blog, Green used the following:
- Blog directories: Green engages the power of social networking by listing or otherwise promoting the blog on Facebook, PlaxoPulse, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, and BlogCatalog, among others.
- Amazon.com: As an author with a book for sale on Amazon.com, Green is allowed to include his blog on the page promoting his book.
- Linking to other blogs: By sharing links and comments, Green aligns himself with other blogs he deems interesting. Dubbed "link love," such a strategy can improve a blog's Google rankings, which are in part based on how many links a blog has. Nonetheless, Green is careful to select only frequently published, well-written blogs.
- Commenting on other blogs: Green also posts comments on other blogs, which allows him to gain visibility with those blogs' authors as well as their readers.
- Guest blogging: Green has been invited to write guest posts for a variety of blogs, including Dell's ReGeneration blog and MarketingProfs' Daily Fix. With the same respect given his own readers, Green tries to respond to every comment received. He also shares the links to these posts on his own blog.
- Offline marketing: The blog's Web address is listed on all L&G Business Solutions marketing materials, and Green often provides that address to potential clients instead of his company Web site's. Furthermore, he mentions the blog every time he is interviewed about his book.
The new BizSolutionsPlus blog has become L&G Business Solutions' most productive—and least expensive—marketing tool.
In the first two months of 2008, about half of Green's clients found him through the blog, he estimated.
Just as compelling are his revenue results in 2007: "I track and measure everything, and that includes how potential clients find me. Last year, clients who found me through my blog represented 40 percent of my business," said Green.
The blog now averages 125 pageviews from around 100 readers per day and continues to rank among the AdAge Power 150.
"When I didn't have a plan for the blog, nothing happened," said Green. "Then I took the time to learn about social media and experience it by becoming a reader. I put together a plan around those I perceived as the ideal readers; and when I wrote for those readers instead of myself, my blog took off."
- Think of your fellow bloggers as partners, not competition. Share ideas, swap links, contribute to each other's blogs, post comments—whatever you can do to build a positive presence and make yourself heard. By doing so, you might establish some great contacts—and possible referrals—in addition to increasing your readership.
- Encourage feedback and listen to the resulting comments. To ensure that you are consistently meeting your customers' needs, it is important to listen, learn and evolve. "In listening to my readers, my subject matter becomes more focused, and the services we offer improved," said Green. He constantly solicits customer opinion by asking specific questions in his posts, prompting conversations among his readers.