Blogging represents an opportunity cost for companies, consuming resources that could be employed elsewhere. The question examined in this section is whether the bloggers consider that the investment in time and money is justified by the results obtained. First, however, it is necessary to determine how the effectiveness should be measured. One commonly used measurement tool used in marketing is ROI (return on investment). The Financial Management (IM Pandey, pg.51) describes Return on Investment to measure the profitability of an investment in an accounting year in comparison to the investment. However, the term ROI is often used more loosely to signify the benefits which accrue in relation to the resources employed. As stated in the literature review, there is an ongoing debate as to whether business blogs provide an acceptable ROI, or any ROI at all. Although Project Guru had not carried out a quantitative analysis to determine the ROI of their blogging activity, they were able to identify specific opportunities which had come about as a result of blogging.
The freedom to voice one’s opinion has been cited as the top reason for success of Blogs. Says Mr. Jena, Project Guru: ‘The most satisfactory aspect is the fact that it has helped me keep my customer satisfied. And I believe a company can only continue in the long run in you keep the target happy with the product from the start. We do get a negative post every once in a while, and we act immediately. The purpose of the blog is to give our company a human voice. When you write something on a website, it can sound pretty generic because it’s non-personal. We try to make all of our messages extremely personal in order to develop relationships with customers and prospective customers. The blog makes that easy.’
For small companies with limited resources, a blog can provide a solution to the problem of establishing a marketing presence. ‘We have hardly spent any money. We bought the software, hired a contract designer once or twice for a couple of hundred bucks worth of work but it’s really minimal. I think that one of the best parts about blogging is the low barrier to entry. It’s very inexpensive, very accessible’, says Vruti.
SEO and relationship building were the two benefits most frequently mentioned by interviewees. For Vruti the two go hand in hand: ‘So far I’ve been measuring the effectiveness in terms of search engine rankings and also I measure effectiveness by the kind of publicity you can get for yourself. I measure the success by the kind of visitors I get because of my blog posts. It’s a brand building exercise, it’s not just in terms of sales and profits and stuff like that. Blogging is more about building relationships. I think blogging has also helped me to do that, so that’s also how I measure the effectiveness.’ Adds Mr. Jena: “We do get a negative post every once in a while, and we act immediately. The purpose of the blog is to give our company a human voice. When you write something on a website, it can sound pretty generic because it’s non-personal. We try to make all of our messages extremely personal in order to develop relationships with customers and prospective customers. The blog makes that easy.”
Anuja linked his blog to improved performance in terms of both lead generation and search engine results: ’Obviously, you’ve got more people looking, you’ve got better targeted key words and not only am I getting more enquiries, I’m getting a better quality of enquiry. As opposed to people who are sending you an e-mail, sending a quote off to maybe five or six people, you can just put it up as a blog. I’m now actually getting fewer e-mail enquiries and far more telephone enquiries which are transferring more into a larger network of friends worldwide. I’d say the blog bolsters the web site, but it’s starting to bring in traffic in its own right.’