Blog Posts Versus Email -- Which is Better for Marketing?
By Judy Murdoch












There's been an interesting discussion
going on in a class I'm co-facilitating
about the best way to reach customers
and prospective customers:

> Should you post your articles on a blog?

> Should you email those articles to people who have subscribed to your list?

> Or something else?

The Death of Opt-in Email?

Up until fairly recently, when you wanted to keep in touch with customers and
prospects, you used email to send periodic messages to people who opted-in to
receive your mailings.

For example, since 2005 I've been emailing my Contagious Marketing Ezine on a
monthly basis (more recently bi-monthly).

Over the past few years, blogging has generated a lot of excitement as the best, coolest
way to market your products and services online and the word is that "email is history."

Arguments in favor of Email's impending demise include:

> Email is less and less successful when it comes to reaching peoples' in-boxes.
People are so sick of spam, they're using aggressive settings to get rid of anything that
has the faintest whiff of being an unwanted sales pitch. More often your email is
languishing in a junk mail folder ... or even going straight to the trash.

> People are reluctant to share any personal information including their email
address.
You don't need to share any information when you are visiting a blog to access
free articles, services, and so on.

> People don't have time to read articles. Blog posts are shorter and better fit our
limited attention spans.

> Blogs and social media applications like Twitter and Facebook allow people to
interact. Email is only one way.

The "impending death of email" makes many small business owners nervous: should
they invest any time or effort into growing an opt-in subscriber list? Or should they

Opt-in Email: Not Dead Yet , Baby

Although blogs and social media have opened up some very cool ways of connecting
businesses to a communities which include but are not limited to their customers, I
believe opt-in email still has a place in your small business' marketing strategy.

> An opt-in is a higher form of commitment. When we give something, even
something very small like our email address and permission for someone to send us
stuff on a regular basis, we are making a small but significant commitment. It is an
action that tells the business owner that we are interested in what they are offering.

> Because of the implied commitment, an opt-in allows more latitude for offering
products and services you are selling.
People are a lot more sensitive about blogs
posts and social media that push sales pitches their way.

Personally, I have no problem reading an offer emailed to me if I opted into the list. But
if someone I follow on Twitter, for instance, sends me a direct message asking me to
"check out" some program they're selling, I stop following them.

# Opt-in email allows you to control who gets what and when.

Most opt-in email management services like Aweber, Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc
allow you to create different groups to whom you can customize offers and information.

# Some people just aren't open to getting information through blogs. I'm horribly
embarrassed to admit this publicly but I rarely, if ever, read my RSS feeds. I use blogs
quite a bit, especially when I'm doing research and want to find out what others have to
say on a topic but as way to keep in touch with a business, nope, I still prefer getting
articles emailed to my inbox.

My Recommendation: a Hybrid Solution Rather than dumping one or the other, I use
and recommend you consider using a "hybrid solution which allows you to take
advantage of both technologies so that you can benefit from the unique benefits each
offers.

Here's what I do which, so far, has worked for me and adds minimal work:

1. I write my articles as blog posts directly within my blog.

2. Once my post is finished and edited, I copy and past the post as a message in
aweber. Aweber is the service I use to email my articles to everyone subscribing to my
Contagious Marketing ezine.

3. I use the application, Ping.fm to send a new post to my Facebook, Linked In and
Twitter accounts which announces the new article and provides a link for anyone
wanting to read it.

And voila! People who prefer to get my article emailed to their inbox get the article.
People who prefer to subscribe to my blog get the article via RSS feed and people who
follow me on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn get a link to the article post on my blog.

It isn't a perfect system: I include offers to buy products and services in my email
articles. I don't currently sell much on my blog.

And I'm still getting a sense of what kinds of offers work using Twitter and Facebook.

But it allows me to reach people who prefer opt-in email and people who prefer
subscribing to blog posts and allows me to benefit from including offers as well as
encouraging the two-way conversation that blogs facilitate.

Bottom Line

If you're a small business owner trying to sort through how best to communicate
regularly with customers and other communities, I encourage you to use both opt-in
email AND blogging.

Both methods offer unique advantages and you can adapt a system like mine which
allows you to send your messages through both without spending much extra time.

About The Author: Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective
marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected
strategic alliances. Download a free copy of the workbook, "
Where Does it Hurt? Marketing
Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!" You can contact Judy at
303-475-2015 or judy@judymurdoch.com.

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