I’m in a unique position compared to most Internet marketers who have recently completed product launches. I was possibly one of the first to do a “Product Launch Formula” style launch with the advantage of an established blog, with an RSS readership as large as my email list. Most well known Internet Marketers have blogs, but they are not in the same position as Entrepreneurs-Journey – usually their email list is their main marketing tool. My blog is almost a business in itself, while for other marketers their blog is just another marketing tool, and one they don’t devote much time too (although that’s changing, John Reese is blogging frequently lately, as just one example).
Most “traditional” Internet marketing product launches use a blog, but they are usually created just for the launch process and serve as a proofing tool, focusing on the power of user comments to demonstrate social proof. Once the launch is complete the blog is often abandoned, or at least never becomes a force in the blogosphere. There may still be readers, but the blog is far from a destination point online.
My blog has been around for two and half years. I used it as a social proofing tool and as “proof of concept” for the launch of Blog Mastermind. You can’t exactly expect people to sign up to a mentoring program unless you have actually done what you are teaching people how to do, so I had to have a blog that makes good money in order to be a credible professional blogging trainer. There’s a good point for all would-be coaches and mentors out there – it helps if you have done what you are planning on helping people to do.
What was unique about my recent experience launching Blog Mastermind is that my RSS readership was as large as my email list. I had roughly 4,000 RSS readers when I entered pre-launch mode about two months ago, and my email list at the time was just over 4,000 as well. After releasing the Blog Profits Blueprint I have closer to 8,000 readers on my email list now, so it did surpass my RSS readership, but still makes for an interesting observation to compare the differences between marketing through a blog (primarily RSS since most of my audience access is through RSS) and through an email list, the tried and tested communication tool for marketing online.
One the most exceptional observations I made while launching Blog Mastermind is how much more effective using a launch process, with joint venture partners, is for email list building. It took me over a year to build my blog traffic tips email list to 4,000 subscribers, pretty much just using this blog and a small AdWords campaign to market it. The email newsletter has about 5-20 new sign-ups per day, which I think is not too bad and I know there is some solid word of mouth happening because the newsletter has great tips, so people pass it on.
The “launch” of Blog Mastermind, which essentially was made up of building buzz first for the Blog Profits Blueprint, and then for the release of the mentoring program, took about two months in total. As I type this, the launch process has brought in about 4,000 new email subscribers. It took two months using a launch process to build a list that matches the size of the list that took about 1.5 years to build using my blog.
What’s really impressive is that my list Blog Profits Blueprint “launch list” is still growing at a rate of about 100 new subscribers per day, at least five times the growth rate of my traffic tips email list. This is testament to the power of Mike Filsaime’s Butterfly Marketing concept, which is the system I’m using to distribute the Blog Profits Blueprint, combined with the Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula process, and of course the quality of the Blog Profits Blueprint helps too.
Conducting a launch process, especially when it leverages a great free resource like the Blog Profits Blueprint, or say the videos for the Stompernet launch or the Internet Business Manifesto for the Strategic Profits (Rich Schefren) launch, combined with the right joint venture partners is a MUCH more powerful way to build an email list and spread your reach far and wide.
While I’m sure my own existing traffic to my blog, my RSS readership and my email list would have made a significant contribution to the success of Blog Mastermind, if it wasn’t for the help and credibility enhancing recommendation of both Brian Clark and Darren Rowse, and the army of over 200 affiliates helping out too, there’s no way things would have gone as well as they did.
The point here is that if you are in a hurry, making a big splash with a powerful free resource and the right partners is a much quicker way to build a business online. It’s by no means easy and it only worked for me because of the two years prior I had spent building my credibility, improving my blogging skills and fostering relationships with other bloggers, so perhaps if you look at the bigger picture it’s not really quick at all, but the point is still worth making.
I think the answer to this question is a resounding NO. RSS is a fantastic compliment to email marketing, and as I have talked about before, combining a popular blog (and an RSS readership) with email list building and marketing, is almost all you need to have success online.
A blog is a powerful relationship builder and is fantastic for your credibility, which is something a lot of people who market online have trouble establishing. This in turn makes it difficult to convince people to trust you and thus buy from you. In today’s email saturated world, a good blog can be the difference between a sale and a person walking away, branding you as yet another marketer pushing sales pitch after sales pitch.
Yes you can build relationships with just email, but a blog AND email is a powerful one-two punch, with all the right marketing concepts – social proof, credibility, reciprocity, incentive, proof of concept, etc. Best of all, a blog helps you make friends and friends can become evangelists for what you do, and as many of the most popular bloggers know well, once you have evangelists, you don’t really need to do marketing, just let your readers spread the word for you.
I’d never actually tried to sell my own product either on my blog or through email marketing, so when it came time to finally open the doors on Blog Mastermind I was looking forward to the experience, if a bit nervous about whether there were actually people who would want to join my program.
I know many Internet marketers have talked about the experience of going through a product launch. I listened to a lot of them tell their stories through Jeff’s Product Launch Formula home study course, which includes plenty of audio interviews with people who have launched a product online. When they talk about that moment when they click “send” to notify their email list about the release of their product, and the subsequent “rush” of sales coming through, I could only imagine how amazing it must be.
In my case I released Blog Mastermind two hours later than expected and it was almost midnight by the time I had done everything so I collapsed in exhaustion after sending that email out, staying awake just for the first 20 people signing up. Not exactly a rush!
I did however wake up the next day to see many more sign-ups and of course as I talked about previously, during the first 24 hours there were exactly 100 students who had joined. At the end of the launch week we had just hit the 300th member, which was way beyond my expectations for the first week – I thought 250 would be a good goal to aim for by the end of 2007 (I’ve since changed my goals 🙂 ).
What was clear during this whole process was that email response is a lot more immediate than blogs/RSS response. People read email differently to the way they read blogs. Blogs are often read during leisure time and pro-actively, not reactively – people choose to go read their RSS feeds or visit a blog when they want to. Email on the other hand is “always on”, which means that after you send an email a good chunk of people will see it and respond within half an hour of sending because they are “forced” to read it since it pops up in their face.
While a post on say Problogger.net might bring in more people than an email overall, people respond to a blog post much slower than an email and read blogs differently. When I broadcast to my email list I noticed an immediate response, while there wasn’t an immediate rush of people after Darren blogged about Blog Mastermind opening. Although Darren’s ongoing contribution was and will continue to be critical (thanks again Darren!), it’s not the same as if Darren had an email list of 25,000 people that he sent an email to, instead of an RSS readership of that amount.
Blogs are too different from email to make a fair comparison. The way people read email is different, what people expect from a blog is different and
how people respond to marketing messages distributed through these two mediums, is different as well. The question of one method replacing another really doesn’t apply, since they compliment each other rather than compete (it’s like asking if airplane travel would replace train transportation – one certainly had an effect on the other, but the outcome is change, not replacement).
As long as we continue to consume email the way we currently do – like addicts constantly clicking the “send and receive” button for our next fix, email will remain the primary tool to reach people when marketing online. Blogs and RSS are a much different style of communication and a slower tool, but as I said earlier, are exceptionally effective at relationship building and I expect will become increasingly important as more and more people become jaded to any sales message sent through email. Successful marketers must learn how to leverage both tools concurrently, one will not replace the other.
Email and Blog Marketer