Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

How To Use Blogs For Direct Marketing

Will bloggers ever be able to make a living from blogging?

This is a question that is almost as old as blogging itself and the Blogosphere's self-elected elite continues to debate whether blogging 'should' or 'could' provide long-term sustainable revenues for their owners' efforts.

Photo credit: Joe Earley

In a refreshingly rational and (dare it be said) real example from the front lines, an experienced direct marketing (DM) professional reports in an article in DM News how blogging can provide a "virtually infinite ROI" as part of a DM strategy.

Susan F. Heywood is the founder of, as well as the author of, a "Mostly Daily Marketing Blog" and has been involved in online commerce for the past decade.



"A blog, when used strategically, not only can directly generate revenue, it can be an effective way to communicate with prospects and customers and offer a call to action.

New math. As a classic direct marketer and successful Web marketer, I understand that it's difficult to assign the same metrics to blogs as for traditional direct marketing tactics. One main reason is that, in a classic DM campaign, we would send a given number of messages to our target audience at a given cost. Then we easily could figure out the response rate needed to create profit from the exercise based on the cost of goods sold and the cost of sending the catalog, letter or e-mail.

Blogging differs in that it doesn't require upfront expenses (except the time to create the content, which is something that can be managed by a dedicated staff person or by an entrepreneur). It also differs by having no set number of messages sent, meaning there is no limit regarding how many people can see the message, virtually no time limit on the content and no direct cost attributable to each person who has seen it.

The benefit of these differences is that the blog and its contents can continue to drive traffic from search engines, from terms that are relevant to the content on that page. Since each blog post stands alone as its own page, marketers can merchandise relevant products and services on those pages, and there is never any direct cost."

Susan Heywood goes on to say how, since starting her blog in June 2003, she has been able to attribute product sales, consulting work and greatly increased search engine visibility to blogging, as well as additional direct revenue streams from Google AdSense and affiliate programs.

She has hard facts to prove this, by using the following metrics:

  • AdSense revenues

  • Affiliate revenues

  • Direct product sales (special product code for items linked from her blog)

  • Indirect consulting revenue (measured by comparing IP addresses of companies visiting the blog to those contacting her)

  • Page requests and site traffic patterns

RSS feeds play a crucial part in her strategy.

"RSS gives customers control. As many consumers and businesses feel their e-mail boxes are out of control, even messages that customers subscribed to may be ignored.

It used to be that readers needed to remember to visit a blog regularly to get content. Now, RSS aggregators, like the new functionality at and in the new open-source browser Firefox, let users create their own page of blog snippets in one place. New blog technologies also have made it easier for readers to comment on blog posts and interact with the blogger.

What medium is more powerful than one that the reader chose to monitor daily, but which requires no extra effort to view from a single portal page? As opposed to sending thousands of e-mails and wondering whether they get through, we can post to the blog and the folks who added us to their feed pages will see our message and can interact with us through the blog."

In summary, Susan Heywood states that:

"Strategically integrating relevant content, including a call to action that makes sense contextually, and adding an RSS feed can make your blog an effective part of your DM programs, generating virtually infinite ROI."

Reference: DM News [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2012-08-02 07:51:10

Stanley Rao

Good tips and a nice topic choose. was very informative and a helpful one

2010-10-11 03:24:20

Kate Olsen

Very nice topic and some quick tips what should be keep in mind while using blog for direct marketing. I would say "integration" is a word. A well written useful content with the call to action can help you increase your ROI.

2009-04-20 02:42:49

Ramnika Rathi

If you are a new comer and just planning to start out on direct mail marketing, you need to do a lot of research work so you can know at least on a conceptual level what direct mail marketing is all about.

If you are starting up a new business, then marketing and advertising can seem almost like a foreign concept to you. It is never easy to find a marketing technique for your service or product that your business is trying to sell as what works for one business will not necessarily work for another.

Though, today in the market there are many options available such as flyers, newspaper advertisements, infomercials, and many other forms of advertising that are extremely expensive and might not be right for your business. However, one type of marketing that has proven results is direct mail marketing.

2008-11-14 22:09:40


This is a great article, useful for people who want to do serious business.

2005-12-02 08:00:15


Great stuff - not many know how to use blogs to do direct marketing.

2004-12-09 04:48:07

Susan F. Heywood

Thanks so much for your kind words about my article in DM News. This debate has been an interesting exercise in attempting to envision ways marketers and other communicators can continue to use new technologies to engage customers who are interested in what we have to say.

Best regards,

posted by on Tuesday, December 7 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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