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When is selling acceptable?

Offcourse there is a fine line between creating awareness for a certain service or product and hard sell. I have not really figured out what I find appropriate myself.

When you post something on your blog it is out there for everyone to read. In principle anyone can comment on what I write, express their opinion and I suppose flog their wares. One could even debate that – when I am publishing the message, I may need some help regarding the topic I am writing about.

That is where the crucial point is to my opinion. I am not inquiring to get advice – I am only elaborating about something on my own blog. Maybe it is the nature of the game. After all when I am watching a film on TV I am not asking for dozens of ad breaks and yet I get them presented on a platter, over and over again. It doesn’t stop me from watching the film. Although I hate the ads and will very likely utilise the breaks to get a drink or have a toilet stop.

Another one is going to the cinema where you are the target of its sponsors. The other day I discovered that you even get bombarded with messages enticing you to come to the cinema – while you are already sitting there waiting to watch a film. Now that is what I call wasting resources! What about promoting refreshments after the program has started? Do they really want people to get up, go and buy popcorn and disturb fellow film lovers?  I don’t get that!

Advertising and blogging

For some they go together and for many others it may raise their hairs. The general consensus seems to be that bloggers need to take care not to alienate followers by suddenly adding ads to their blogs. It is recommended starting with advertising if that is what you have in mind. You can debate this and as the blogger you could have the attitude – you lose some, you gain some! After all when your blog is popular, it would be silly not to benefit from sponsors and AdSense.

I am planning to use various types of advertising on my blog in the making ‘EasyDone Gourmet & Style’. I am not making a secret of that as my aim is to make it a source of income. But as the type of person I am, I want to make sure that the blog looks attractive even with ads. That is one of the reasons that I start a blog with my own domain and hosting. You have more control over what the end product looks like.

At the time being I am consulting a techie to build my blog and a designer to make it look nice because I can’t do that myself. It is an investment as one has to do when starting a business. I find it very important that I have input where the ads are being placed and even what they look like. I certainly don’t want flashing ads and pop-up boxes which are hard to close. My blog is partly about style and that includes the advertising. It all needs to be attractive – it’s the whole package!

The preparation process may take a bit more time than I intended to but when the blog finally looks the way I want it, it will be out there. And I will have a beautiful, stylish office to go every day!

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Don’t TARGET my Blog!

Looking at my latest blog posts I realise I have not written much about blogging itself but more about related topics. Things that you may come across when you are blogging but maybe not have anticipated before starting.

I have mentioned negative comments and spam. This is something that will happen to you when you have a blog. Online presence makes you vulnerable and gives others the opportunity to target you – positive or negative. By now I have seen that some people are excellent marketers and grab every opportunity to plant links and get rid of their wares – without asking by the way.

Fortunately such comments end up in spam and I love WordPress for that. I can screen rubbish like that before I allow it on my blog. This is important as we, bloggers, spend time and effort on the content and appearance of our posts. The last thing I need is a comment that looks more like a mathematical equation than a piece of text.

Selling or being a pain….

You know what – you hard–sell-core out there….. If you would read up on the psychology behind marketing and selling, you would understand this. You would write a comment, ideally a nice one to get your foot in the door, create the necessary rapport and then cleverly introduce why you are there in the first place. Most of the time you may get my attention and I may even be enticed to follow your link to see what you have on offer.

I am aware that being online puts you in a position of being a constant target. Everybody who has something to sell sees in social media a great outlet but be aware! A friend of mine on Face Book published an outcry of frustration on his status the other day.  He was so annoyed with the amount of friends trying to flog something that he threatened to un-befriend them straight away as soon as the next sales ad would appear.

Being lured in!

To be honest Face book is a great marketing tool. I recently saw a Webinar about Face book marketing and it was mind-boggling. It is more user-friendly though to create a Face book business page in the case you like to sell or promote a product. I have signed up or liked a number of blogs and they turn out to be a daily (or more) stream of advertising for whatever.

One group I joined is creating so much stuff that twice per day I received at least 5-10 emails. The unfortunate thing is that the ads are not even appealing and I can’t figure out what this particular lady is actually promoting.  It did overwhelm me, it cluttered up my news feed and as a result I have removed the link!

I don’t consider it  fair to use a news feed that allows people to express their ‘daily stuff’ for hard sell. Neither is my blog an opportunity for others to market products or services. The name social media in itself says what it is for. It is an opportunity for people to connect, react and interact.

The issue here is where to draw the line. When does offering help and giving advice become ‘marketing? Brain food for another post I suppose…..