Blogging

It’s Time To Start Treating Your Blog Readers Like Customers

I remember in 2003-2004 having to hear from hundreds of people every month about “how blogs aren’t supposed to make money” and “your ideas are crap because bloggers can’t make money”. Allow me to say to those people now… I told you so. :p

So here we are, finally at the point where you can make money with your blog. It DOES work. This is great for us bloggers who have toiled away and taken our lumps over the years, but it also creates an entirely new dynamic for us as well, especially the new breed of bloggers who aren’t sellers.

See, to be a pro blogger, you need to start thinking like a seller. You’ve instantly become a publisher. It is now your job to provide not only what your readers want to read, but to also make money. Making money with your blog does not happen simply by writing good content, it’s way more complex than that.

The problem with this is that most bloggers aren’t sellers. They’ve never had a sales job. They don’t realize the things you need to think about and do when dealing with a customer, as opposed to a reader.

And if you don’t think your readers aren’t your customers… they are. They are the consumers of your content, the ones who allow you to put up your blogads and the ones who click on your Adsense ads.

So shouldn’t you be worried about customer retention just like everyone else? What are you doing to retain those readers and keep them? It’s time most bloggers started to think about these questions if they plan on keeping their blogging business going long-term.

Author: jimk

15 thoughts on “It’s Time To Start Treating Your Blog Readers Like Customers

  1. customer = people willing to spend money
    Not willing to spend money = ?

    As I said a while ago in the newsletter discussion: turning first time visitors into customers means ‘address qualifying’ …

    That’s the way to go/think … As always just my 2c …


  2. Here’s what’s going to happen. One day all the adsense quick hit bloggers are going to get an announcement that Google is going to to only accept publishers that generate $1,000 or more a month, or something like that. That’s just a fake example to illustrate that it’s not a sure thing, it can change, it can go away.

    Jim, the “longtail phenomenon” says that the tail’s where the richesse is. There are already ad networks that cater to high-traffic sites. Google is wise enough to know that they’ll make more money from 100,000 bloggers making $100/m (=$10,000,000/m) than from 1,000 bloggers making $1,000/m (=$1,000,000/m). Of course, if they have both, that’s good for them, too. On the other hand, if they could show 10,000 bloggers how to make $1,000/m ….

  3. I get your point. Sorry I didn’t elaborate more. Sometimes I blog just about thoughts, without giving away the “meat”. I guess it’s to help provoke ideas in your head about certain subjects, or maybe it’s just a subject I feel that you should be thinking about.

    Next time I’ll post some “meat”. :0

  4. You should be reading Jim’s BlogKits and ReveNews if you want to learn more, and I blog about the topic just about every day as well.

    You’re asking a lot of Jim’s guest article! It’s just an introduction to an important topic that requires quite a bit of further study on your part.

  5. There’s really not much meat to this post. It’s like the speeches high-school coaches give to teams during half-time. They sound good but where’s the strategy? How am I going to read this post and then turn around and use it for my own blog?

    How do I treat them like customers? What does it even mean to treat a reader as a customer — as opposed to what?

    Some of these posts need to be fleshed out so they’re more than just simply firing up the troops while throwing a lot of rhetorical questions in the mix.

  6. >>>theres also a whole conversation on blogs ACTUALLY being shops…

    That’s exactly it, Nick. Blogs are just dynamic, content-driven websites, and websites are the storefronts of the 21st century business — whether product or service oriented. Things are quickly coming around, once people realize the skills they learn making $12 a month with AdSense could make them six figures in a real business.

  7. strangers > friends > customers

    Strangers – come to your site not knowing who/what you are. It’s your job to persuade them. Capture an email, give them a reason to come back.

    Friends – strangers turn to friends when they come back and start commenting. It’s your job to make them feel at home. Engage in the conversation.

    Customers – are fans of your blog. They will spread the word, write posts about you, link to you.

  8. Customers, clients, same thing. They both subscribe to what you’re selling them, whether it’s content or a product or whatever.

    I agree though, we’re all arguing the same thing almost. How boring when that happens.

    I DO think, however, that you cannot turn a prospective customer (reader) into a client/customer until you retain them, and in blog-speak, that means getting their contact information so you can follow up with them down the line.

  9. the whole blog, web 2.0 phenomena is the idea of treating customers like people, or even like friends.

    Actually I think your wrong aswell, or indeed that neither are correct heh…

    The thing is, treating readers as customers is right, but you have to treat your think of your customers as clients also.

    Ie, your both right, its just language for the same thing.

    Theres also a whole conversation on blogs ACTUALLY being shops to be had aswell, but maybe that’s a whole new thread…

  10. John, I was speaking metaphorically (readers are customers). I never said you should write your blog for a customer, or try to sell them things. I’m saying you need to work on methods of keeping your reader long term. Whether it’s an email list signup or whatever, it needs to be done.

    I don’t think I was clear enough in my explanation. I think we both agree on the same points.

  11. Jim,

    I agree with you that bloggers who want to retain readers and profit from their efforts need to think about how to entice, inspire loyalty, close sales, etc.

    But I don’t think I’d phrase it the way you did, “treat readers like customers.” A big part of what has inspired the whole blog, web 2.0 phenomena is the idea of treating customers like people, or even like friends. For instance, I’m trying to stop thinking of my readers as “traffic” and more as individuals or readers. Because when I write on my blog about the amount of traffic I get (if I do) I suddenly sound as though I don’t really care about the individual readers who’vve taken the time to actually make purchases or leave comments or drop me an email.

    I think the goal is more akin to seduction. You should know who your readers are, or find out, know what motivates and interests them most about your work/writing/product etc and then engage them not in endless cluetrain conversation, but in specific, personal, seductive conversion.

    I still think that Seth’s line about turning strangers into friends and friends into customers is the way to go.

  12. You’re right Brian. But I learned a long time ago that any business model that is dependant on a search engine is a long-term business model that is going to fail. They are simply too unpredictable and volatile to base a long-term business around.

    Here’s what’s going to happen. One day all the adsense quick hit bloggers are going to get an announcement that Google is going to to only accept publishers that generate $1,000 or more a month, or something like that. That’s just a fake example to illustrate that it’s not a sure thing, it can change, it can go away.

  13. but until people sour on AdSense business models, it may be a lost cause. It’s difficult to focus on reader retention while hoping to cause as many quick click-outs as possible at the same time.

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