No, your blog isn’t a tangible thing. It’s not something a potential customer of yours can go pick up at the store. But if you’ve monetized your blog, tangibility doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is you’re selling something and that means you need to approach everything around it as a business, including your strategy for marketing. Many companies ascribe to the four P’s that make up a solid marketing mix. These P’s include: product, price, place, and promotion. Defined in the 1960s by famed marketer E. Jerome McCarthy, the marketing mix has since been a mainstay in the way marketing departments and firms approach company and product promotion.
So, I’m going to spend some time talking about what each of these P’s are and then give you a solid understanding of how they apply to managing and monetizing a blog. Hopefully, you’ll find these definitions and overall framing helpful as you approach your blog outreach in 2014.
In a good marketing mix, the product is an item or service that meets a specific consumer demand. That demand can be on-going or temporary. This is why it’s so important for companies to do research into the life cycle of a product. Once that’s established, new products from the same company can be released to expand its reach, each of which start the product life cycle over again. FYI: The product life cycle includes the product development phase.
In relation to managing a blog, your product is whatever you’re selling. Maybe that’s an informational download. Perhaps you sell a subscription to an email-based newsletter. What you’re selling on or through your blog is where your focus lies and is what should capture the majority of your marketing attention. And just like the tangible products of the world, your blog products have a life cycle as well, which may even be shorter due to how quickly things change online. There’s a new trend popping up every day. New information is made available. If you’ve focused on the information product route, you will need to make updates a major part of your product plan.
Setting the right price for a product spells the difference between success and failure. A product priced too low means a company will need to move more units to turn a profit. If it fails to do that, the company could bottom out, even with a successful product. A price point that’s too low could also shift a company’s image from a good value to “cheap.” Price a product too high and you also stand to not sell enough units or alienate a potential customer base. Are you starting to see why it’s called the marketing mix, now? It’s like a recipe. Add the right product into your marketing plan. Let simmer with delicious ideas. Add a dash of the perfect price…
When setting the price for your blog product, you need to keep a few things in mind. You will need to do research and it will be worth every second of your time. I promise. Determining the right price requires you know:
- How much it costs you to create this product (materials, time spent, etc)
- What customers perceive the products value to be
- How much your competitors charge.
- What the reference value for the product is.
- What the differential value is (how much consumers value what you offer in comparison to what your competitors offer).
Even if you’re not even selling anything on your blog, you can still use these pricing guidelines to approach how you market yourself. Just replace “price” with whatever currency you’re using such as time, social shares, etc.
For many people, the idea of “promotion” dominates their entire view of what marketing is. These folks shout from the rooftops about their awesome products and wonder why no one is paying attention. As you know by now, promotion is just one of the aspects that goes into a successful marketing mix. Once you have your killer product developed and it’s set at the right price, you need to let people know about it. But you need to do it in such a way that promotes consumer engagement. One-sided marketing strategies don’t work as well as they used to (think billboards, cold calling, and “Order Now!” infomercials). HubSpot calls this type of marketing outbound, and while it still definitely has a place, you need to incorporate inbound marketing into your mix as well.
Inbound marketing emphasizes what you can do for your customers outside of what you’re selling. As a blogger, it’s essential you place your focus here. Nowadays, presenting yourself as a thought leader is vital to your online success. You can demonstrate this on your blog and how you promote it via social media. Write informational, engaging, and entertaining posts on a regular basis. Share industry-related information on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Actively demonstrate why people should buy your product.
The last element of the marketing mix is “Place” which actually refers to where your product will be available. As a blogger, this one is pretty easy: your blog is likely where you’ll be distributing your product(s). But how you make them available is a matter of debate. Will you offer a login subscription service? An email newsletter? A downloadable PDF? An ebook distributed through Amazon? You actually do have quite a few options and choosing the right one for your situation is essential to your product’s success. Again, doing research into what your competitors do and what nets them the most success is invaluable.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to building a successful online business. But with the right marketing mix, you can be sure to see it soar.
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