Let me provide you with a personal case study that shows the power of blogs. Moose Tracks, one of the ice cream flavors produced by my employer, Denali Flavors, is a top-seller and very popular with consumers who've tasted it. Yet there's still a large percentage of the population that's never heard of the product. As such, one of Denali's business objectives is to generate awareness of Moose Tracks, an awareness that would lead to trial. Once tried, our experience has shown that the product's taste will drive repeat business.
The company decided to accomplish this objective by creating a series of blogs aimed at different consumer groups. The blogs would link to the Moose Tracks websiteand be designed to funnel visitors to the site. This way, awareness of the product would happen naturally. In addition, the advertising and promotion costs would be low compared to a traditional media effort.
Denali developed the following four blogs to address various consumer interests:
- Moosetopia. This is the fun "entertainment" blog written by the Moose Tracks moose. This blog reinforces the fun nature of the product, and every post is an awareness-generating effort for the brand because of the author. (He doesn't even need to talk about the product!)
- Free Money Finance. This blog deals with personal finance with a tagline of "free and simple advice on money and finance designed to maximize your net worth." As Denali's top-rated blog because of the popularity of the subject matter, this site is "sponsored by" Moose Tracks ice cream, a graphic of which is positioned prominently in the top right-hand corner of the blog.
- Team Moose Tracks. This blog details the efforts of Denali's cycling team to raise money for an orphanage in Latvia. It contains biking tips as well as details on the fundraising. This blog serves several purposes: It gains brand exposure for Moose Tracks and links back to the main site; it reflects positively on the company's--and the brand's--efforts to help a charity; and it's raising a significant sum of money to help the orphanage (more than $47,000 as of August).
- Denali Flavors. Denali's most recent blog, this one offers an inside glimpse at what goes on in the company. In the future, this site will serve to get comments and feedback directly from consumers on a wide range of topics.
As each site was developed, it was promoted using guerrilla marketing tactics, such as by posting comments on other blogs with links back to the Denali blog, trading links with other sites, asking other sites for referrals, and writing articles for other sites that would include a link back to the blog. All these tactics drove traffic to the blogs which, in turn, drove traffic to the Moose Tracks' site.
Since Denali's main objective is to drive people to the Moose Tracks' website, we measure the impact of the blogs by the effects on the main site. To date, the blogs have helped Denali achieve the following results:
- Site visits are up 25.7 percent.
- Hits to the site are up 21 percent.
- Total time on the site is up 23.4 percent.
These initial results are very positive, and the costs to get these results has been very low: Other than our blogger's time, the company has spent less than $700 on these four blogs.