Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Merchant Blogging

A few months ago we released the ability for our merchants to blog. Ok, I am the first to admit that when this idea came up, I said it was nuts. For me, the guys at Ben’s BBQ in Fairhope, Al are never going to figure out how to blog.

(No shot at Bubba at who owns Ben’s, he is a very smart man who prints money in addition to making some of the best BBQ in the south)

Well, I was wrong. 30% of our merchants are blogging. I don’t think they think of it as the traditional internet crowd’s definition of blogging. Merchants see it as communicating with the local consumers they want to talk to. When you look at it this way, it is a natural behavior. If you look at the most successful local merchants you will find their core skill set is communicating and connecting with local consumers. It is what they do. They communicate, they listen and they bring value to their consumers. The idea that they are going to use a modern idea like blogging is not so surprising when you look at how close it is to a core skill they already have: communicating. In fact if you look at the local merchants who write “real estate corners” or “how to landscape tips” for their local paper, this is really the same thing.

The interesting thing is that blogging drives more traffic and visibility, more of a customer connection and more of a powerful impression for local merchants. The merchants who have done it are seeing an immediate response and then blogging even more. So my suggestion for all our new merchants is to try it. Try it for 5 minutes every 2 days for 3 weeks and you will see a result.

How about this, if you don’t; I will buy you a 6 pack (Budweiser or Pepsi). Shoot me a note with what you tried and how it did not work and I will have it delivered.

Take a look at some of the chatter going around in a couple neighborhoods (Scotts Valley CA, Fairhope AL, Boulder CO)

Now on a side note, I want to know how California could possibly need 2001 Starbucks, I bet that is more Starbucks than we have elementary schools. They are everywhere. There are 2 of them in just Scotts Valley alone. Maybe we could all use a few more local shops like the Coffee Cat and few less Starbucks.

For more on blogging visit my in depth podcast on blogging benefits.


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