7 Tips for Running a Successful Blog Campaign
The one thing that I have found since starting the kids belts business is that advertising is expensive and it’s very hard to track the ROI (Return on Investment). I used to do Google Adwords. Really it was a waste of money. We weren’t getting any more sales than without it. The difference came in running blog campaigns.
Did you know that only 27% of searchers will even click on a Pay Per Click ad? The others look at organic searches and don’t pay any attention to the ads. I know. I’m one of them. So then you have to look at how many of that 27% actually translate into sales. Do the math. What are your keywords? How many people are searching for those keywords? What is 27% of that number? Of that number, how many will buy? (Hint: don’t think optimistically. Be realistic.) Word of mouth is still some of the best advertising out there. Blog campaigns work, at least they have for me and Dapper Snappers.
- Go Where They Go I’m sure there are sites similar, but I have always used Tomoson to run my blog campaigns. I really like it because, well, it’s free. But on top of that it’s a place that brings bloggers and promoters together. You don’t have to spend hours searching out bloggers. You can set up your campaign and the bloggers come to you. Tomoson will even do the initial vetting for you based on your criteria. You then have the opportunity to approve or deny the bloggers who have applied. Once approved, you send them the product.
- DON’T PAY You should never have to pay for a review. There are tons (literally tons) of bloggers out there who will review your product just for receiving a sample and maybe offering to give them a prize so they can offer a contest for their readers. I remember the first review I ever had done for Dapper Snappers was with 5 Minutes for Mom. That review cost me $50 and while it was a good review, Dapper Snappers was in its infancy and $50 was hard to come by for us. When I told other mompreneurs about it, they all looked at me like I was crazy for paying for a review. But hey, at the time there were no instruction manuals (still aren’t I guess, that’s why we share our stories!)
- Research Once you have set up a campaign in Tomoson (or whichever site you choose) be sure to research the bloggers who have applied. While it is nice that you have a deluge of bloggers wanting to review your product, some of them may not be a natural fit. We have 3 main criteria that we look at before we research them further; 500,000 Alexia Rating or lower, 500 Facebook Fans, 1,000 Twitter Followers (we even look at the ratio of how many followers they have versus the amount of people they follow). Yes, we look at numbers (gasp!). While we don’t expect immediate sales from blog reviews, we do want viewers (helps with brand awareness) and SEO boosts. There was a recent blog post that asked “Are Corporations Killing Mom Bloggers?” The blog states that when corporations rule out the smaller bloggers because of numbers that they are missing out. While that might be true to a certain extent, as a blogger and a corporation, we not only want SEO with link backs, but we want readers as well. We just want the best for our company.
Once they have met those criteria, we have then take a closer look at their blog. Are they well spoken? Do they use actual photos of the product in use or the stock photos that were provided? In past reviews, did they write more than 3 lines about the product? Is your product a good fit for their site? Do their readers fit your demographics? All of those questions will lead you to how a review of your product will look on their site.
- Give the “Key” Word Everyone with a website has certain “key” words that people use to find their product. For example our big one is “kids belts.” To utilize this group of key words, we need them hyper-linked back to our site. Choose words that fit your product and focus on pushing those words to your site (even in your own blog). If your product is baby socks, then use something as generic as “baby socks” as your key words because chances are, that’s how people will find you on a search engine. When you set up the criteria for your blog campaign in Tomoson, require them to use at least one set of key words in their review.
- Follow Up This is a big one. Just because a blogger has agreed to review your product does not mean that they will hop right to it (some will, mind you, but some won’t). They are people too! Life sometimes gets in the way and some of them may need a gentle reminder. And if their review is lacking, by all means tell them so they can fix it. Make sure they’ve stuck to their end of the bargain.
- Go for the Gold (Customer Service) Make sure that you are timely in not only sending out the samples to them, but if you have offered a prize for a contest, be sure to get that out quickly as well. Remember, this person is reviewing for a living. You especially want to handle them and their readers with kid gloves. (Customer service should be key regardless, but you know what I mean!)
- Be Prepared (to NOT be reviewed) I know that sounds crazy. They applied to review or even contacted you to review your product. You sent them the sample and then…. well, nothing. No replies to emails, no returned phone calls. They just fall off the edge of the earth and you “gifted” them your product. Don’t get discouraged. It happens to the best of us. We have been left hanging by a local newspaper (Orlando Sentinel Moms at Work), Daily Candy, and Chesapeake Family. You will also get double dippers. A Blogger who reviewed your product in the past and then they hit you up and want to review them again. We have had more than a few of those, proceed with caution.
There you have it, my tips for running a blog campaign. It may seem a little tedious, but in my opinion, it has the best return on investment. It doesn’t cost much (cost of product and shipping) and it gets your name out there. I read somewhere (I can’t remember where, of course) that it takes the consumer an average of 17 times hearing/reading/seeing a name brand to build enough trust in the brand to purchase it. What can it hurt to get bloggers to help you out with that?