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Run Your Blog Like You Would Run A Store

This post was most recently updated on August 6th, 2016

Run your blog like you would run a storeYou really should “Run Your Blog Like You Would Run A Store.”

As someone who been both a blogger and a brick and mortar shop owner, I can tell you that the concept is the same.

First, you “set up shop.”

Like a shop owner has to go looking for retail space and then setting it up for business, you have to find the right blogging platform, get some hosting and get ready to do business.

Now, you can’t open the doors to your store until you’ve stocked the shelves with things your customers will want.

In the same way, you need to build your blogging business around valuable content that will encourage people to visit your site often.

As the stock in your store starts to get low, you need to replenish it.

Bloggers must keep a fresh, steady supply of good content flowing to their readers.

Now, if you always thought it might be fun to run a store, shop, boutique or some similar brick and mortar business, I’ll tell you this.

It’s not fun if you don’t attract customers.

Even when you do everything right, there comes a time when things just don’t go so well, not matter what you do.

No matter how great the quality of your “products on the shelf” are, if you don’t market them wisely, nobody will ever get to see them… much less buy them.

The same goes for your blog.

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No matter how great your content and information is, if you don’t get out there and meet people, invite them back to your site, and then build on your relationship with them… the content you work so hard to produce becomes irrelevant.

Do you run your blog like you would run a store?

It’s something you should think about.

Let me give you a visual case study to help you out, here.

Now… Picture This:

You always wanted to be a store owner.

A real store in the offline world.

One in which you could sell the products you always wanted to, whether it’s boutique fashions, exercise equipment or survival supplies.

For a long time, you’ve dreamed about it, wishing you could quit your job and work at it.

You wouldn’t even care if you had to work into the wee hours of the night, because you’d be doing something you really enjoy.

Plus, you’d be serving people, and that motivates you even more.

Then one day, you see a commercial “For Sale” sign.

“Hmm…Should I invest in this little place?” you ask yourself.

Something deep inside says “go for it.”

So you take out your savings, borrow some extra money and finally purchase or rent the shop.

Now the shop needs some repairs, so you get supplies and fix it up.

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You carefully select the colors to be painted on the walls.

Next, you purchase some groovy lighting so your products will display nicely.

Shelves and display counters situated just right.

Meanwhile, you’ve ordered inventory.

Boxes get delivered day in and day out, as you stash them in a back room until you’re done decorating.

The big day finally comes for you to actually stock those shelves and put things on display.

You do it so carefully.

Maybe you’re being a bit of a perfectionist, now, but you can’t help yourself.

You just want your customer to walk in and be “wowed” when they see such an impressive arrangement and decor.

You know what they say about great cooking… it’s 99% presentation.

Finishing touches… you decorate the window so people feel welcome to come in.

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There is an array of pricing too because some just want to wander around and buy something low end, while others will go straight to the highest priced item.

They whip out their credit card, not even thinking about the cost.

They just want to buy something that makes them feel special… something that will help them along whatever journey they are on.

Now you know you’re in business.

You even get to make deposits 🙂

Sweet.

Things are going just the way you planned.

But then something happens.

Something that never entered your mind.

Winter comes.

As the snow piles up, the foot traffic slows to a halt.

You have to cut your days and hours, just to save on heating costs.

Your very first winter and it’s a miserable one.

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It’s really having a devastating effect on your income.

So what do you do?

Just give up?

Go back to the day job?

Blame the weather or the realtor or the customers?

No, you’re going to make this happen.

You knew that things wouldn’t always go smooth.

You prepared for this.

From the minute you first opened your doors to the public, you started collecting names and contact information from everyone that came in.

Sure, you had to offered people some special discounts or promotions in exchange for that information, but you knew it would be a valuable asset, so you did it.

Meanwhile, you always talked to people when they visited your little shop, and engaged with them beyond just serving them at the counter.

A big part of building your business was always building relationships.

You valued your customers, and you did everything you could to have them value you, too.

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So then, one snowy day when the streets were empty, you knew exactly what to do.

You gathered up all the contact information you had stockpiled from your sign-ins, and you invited them to a party at your shop.

You cleverly created it around some kind of winter theme…like “light in the winter.”

You dig into your pocket to invest in the well known specialties of a local caterer and offer a champagne brunch to chase away the winter blues.

You position your inventory where people can’t ignore it, and you offer them a percentage off… just to help them chase the winter blues.

Voila… folks came out of the woodwork to attend your fun function, and you made more than enough money to offset the cost of your party.

Not only that, but people has so much fun, they asked if you could do it again during another cold, dark winter eve.

You really should “Run Your Blog Like You Would Run A Store.”

That’s the moral of the story.

You invest the time and money to make it work.

Buy your hosting, fix up the design to be inviting to visitors, stock it full of great and valuable content.

Build an email list!

You know winter will come.

Now in the blogging world, the “cold dark winter” can come many times, regardless of the time of year.

So boys and girls what can you do to have that “party” go on that everyone loves to attend?

What can you do to offer people something at a good price they are going to buy?

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You cannot focus on your blog all the time and depend only on that.

You need to think of the winter.

You need to always build your email list and engage with people there often.

Build relationships with your readers on your blog, on your email list and in social media.

When the time is right, you can invite them to your “party.”

“Hmmm… What’s the party?” you may be thinking.

The party can be a webinar, or just a contest or a request for people’s opinion.

Maybe you’d like them to answer a few questions that will help you better understand their needs, their challenges and their pain points.

This is all valuable information for you to stockpile to help you market and sell your products and services on your blog.

Be careful here.

You’re trying to build relationships, not trick people into buying something they don’t want or need.

If you only think of your blog as a cash register, you are going to have a lot more cold dark winter days than sunny bright ones.

However, if you see your blog as an opportunity to help people solve their problems, and you can earn some profits and commission for doing so, then my dear friends, you will start to see the big picture.

You will be running your blog like you would run a store.

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Putting sincere effort into your blog is like looking at an impressionistic painting.

When you get too close to it, you really can’t make out what the painting is.

But if you step back, you can see the whole picture.

The big picture in running a store is to understand it’s not about “selling”, it’s really all about marketing.

The same goes for your blog.

Have a clear marketing plan in place right from day one.

Good marketing, whether you’re running a blog or running a store… involves having a marketing strategy in place.

You can start with these foundation blocks…

  • knowing your niche
  • having an opt-in set up to capture contact info
  • having a great sales funnel in place
  • engaging with your followers both on and off your blog (social media means being social, means “engage”)

When you have your marketing strategy in order, running your store, or running your blog will be far more profitable.

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Now picture this.

You go out and take a nice walk.

As you see some small businesses along the way, you go inside and browse around.

Ask yourself if you’re using some of the same marketing strategies you see store and shop owners employing.

Consider whether or not you actually “Run Your Blog Like You Would Run A Store.”

I’d love to hear what’s going through your head during this little walk around town.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and kindly share this article on your favorite social media sites.

See you soon,

-Donna

 

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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62 Responses to Run Your Blog Like You Would Run A Store

  1. Donna Merrill
    Twitter:
    June 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    Hi Fritz,

    Welcome to my blog. Indeed, building a list is the best thing you can do with your blog. Offer something useful and free or at a small price point. Whatever you decide make the people on your list the ‘special’ folks in your business.

    You sure need to have a relationship with your customers. It is so important.

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Steps To Selecting A Blogging NicheMy Profile

  2. Fritz
    Twitter:
    May 30, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I really needed to read this. I would say what I need to work on is establishing “the usuals” or long time customers to my store. I have been neglecting my email list on my blog for a long time, but I keep hearing how you need to start building your list.

    I’m going to start trying to build a relationship with my customers. I truly thank you for giving me a new perspective and a new direction. This is the best post I have read in a long time. You outdid yourself.

    Thanks for this article Donna,

    Fritz

  3. Edward Thorpe
    Twitter:
    May 29, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Very creative post with an interesting juxtaposition of a store front operation and a blog. Also, thought how you made a strong case for building a customer/prospect list, was effective and inventive.

    You probably walk into a offline business and unconsciously critique their marketing efforts, too. Sometimes it’s difficult ‘not’ to made suggestions, isn’t it?

    Entertaining post from a darn good writer and savvy business person. Thanks, Edward
    Edward Thorpe recently posted..How To Keep Your Brain HealthyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 1, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      Hi Ed,

      Glad you liked the blog post. Having been on two sides of the fence, yes…I do walk into offline businesses and unconsciously critique their marketing efforts. I do it gently, and can feel my way through if someone wants to ignore me or maybe interested.

      Those that have been interested, I’ve worked with. Others…well I see they go out of business after the vacation season here.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Steps To Selecting A Blogging NicheMy Profile

  4. Joy Healey
    Twitter:
    May 26, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Late here for the best of reasons 🙂 Just back from a two-week Internet-free holiday.

    Now on with the “catch up” 🙁

    You really hit home with this post, because my early years in business were helping out in my parents’ sea-front shop. Most of the hard work was done by my Dad, but it was a family business and we all mucked in.

    In the summer he worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and we all LOVED it. We were selling buckets, spades, balls, toys, sweets for the shows across the road – anything that the seaside visitors would buy.

    In the winter he only worked 12 hours a day – selling newspapers, sweets and cigarettes. But “work” needed no commuting as we lived above the shop, so that’s probably a fairly typical working day I guess? Not sure because I’ve been self-employed, working from home, far longer than I’ve been employed.

    Our real BAD “winter” came when the supermarkets started selling newspapers and cigarettes, taking away most of the regular customers – so Mum and Dad opened a different type of shop (jewellry), and many of their loyal customers followed them there.

    Oh dear – not much about blogging in my ramblings – but I think I worked in your summer and winter theme, plus the “contact list” LOL. And I enjoyed imagining dressing out my blog as a shop.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted..How Time Management Can Improve Your IncomeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Joy,

      Thanks for the wonderful share. You sure learned so much from your parent’s shop. How much fun one can have owning their own business. Then, when that ‘winter’ set in, they chose not to give up, but rather sell jewelry.

      Of course all the connections they made over the years came to them when they switched gears. That’s the heart of business. Sometimes we do have to switch gears.

      Thanks so much for sharing this.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Steps To Selecting A Blogging NicheMy Profile

  5. Pranay Khatri May 25, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    Hello Donna,
    This is my first time to land on your blog, really you explained each and every point very clearly. You’re right! running a successful blog isn’t so easy because it need full proof strategy like we can’t run a store without proper strategy because opening a blog or store is not enough, more important is to run them.

    I totally agree with your points mentioned above, 3 years ago I also ended up one of my blog because I wasn’t regular though.

    Being ready for winter situation is always bulletproof strategy as when you are not getting enough visitor to your blog/store you can invite them to buy stuff. Considering your point I am also starting building email list wisely. So I can earn in winters too 😛

    Thanks Donna for such a cool post, now will check your blog regularly as I am really enjoying while reading your posts 🙂

    Regards,
    Pranay
    Pranay Khatri recently posted..9 Reasons to Choose a Blogger as Your Life PartnerMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 26, 2016 at 11:51 am #

      Hi Pranay and welcome to my blog.

      Great to know you liked this post. Yes, when things slow down it is time to use all you can to build your list.

      When you are building it, remember that these are the people who took their time to put their name and email into your opt-in. They have made a mini commitment. So, thinking that way, you can start a more closer relationship with them.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..10 Ways To Make Your Blog SocialMy Profile

  6. Chery Schmidt
    Twitter:
    May 24, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    Hello Donna, What a great post, I do agree you should always be building relationships with your customers whether you have a bricks and mortar business or an online one!

    Loved your brick and mortar analogy by the way, Oh so important,,,

    Great Share
    Thanks
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..What The Guru’s Didn’t Tell You About Online SuccessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 26, 2016 at 11:39 am #

      Hey Chery,

      Glad you liked the brick and mortar analogy. I like to use that one because many people can relate to it..see it clear in their mind.

      Yes…we have to be building relationships constantly, plus I find it fun to do and I’m sure you do too.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..10 Ways To Make Your Blog SocialMy Profile

  7. Mitch Mitchell
    Twitter:
    May 23, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

    You know, I could have sworn I commented on this post because I kept it live for almost a week on my browser. What a goofball! lol

    This is great stuff, and something I need to think more about. I did a webinar about 6 years ago and haven’t done one since, even though I’ve wanted to. I went the YouTube video route instead, but of course any money I make off that is literally pennies shared by Google; like they need it. lol I need to do more of that kind of recruiting, since I’m pretty good in other places.

    Thanks for the reminder and the boost.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Not Making Money Blogging? It Might Not Be Your FaultMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 26, 2016 at 11:37 am #

      Hey Mitch,

      You are not a goofball…but I like that term..didn’t hear it for a long time he he he.

      I’m glad I could give you a boost. You have many talents when it comes to marketing. I know darn well you will drum up something with this idea.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..10 Ways To Make Your Blog SocialMy Profile

  8. Brent Jones
    Twitter:
    May 23, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    What an awesome analogy, Donna! You’re right on the money.

    I also thought of the flip side of this… how poorly run blogs are a lot like poorly run stores.

    Ever gone in a store and had no one bother to greet you?

    Kinda like leaving a blog comment just to have the author ignore it and never reply.

    The examples go on and on, but the most important underlying lesson I think is that how we position ourselves in the online world shouldn’t be so different from how we position ourselves in the offline world.

    It all comes down to being professional and putting our customers first.

    Great topic!

    Brent
    Brent Jones recently posted..Charge What You’re Worth with Brennan DunnMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 1, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

      Hi Brent,

      Indeed, we have to position ourselves online like we would offline. The example of going into a store is true. We want someone to greet us, but on the other hand we don’t want them pushing to buy this or that. It is a delicate balance.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Steps To Selecting A Blogging NicheMy Profile

  9. Lillian De Jesus
    Twitter:
    May 22, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Thank you so much for sharing this synopsis! Brick and mortar and online businesses do run similarly.

    Relationships do matter most for both types of businesses.

    Take care,
    Lillian

  10. Peter Beckenham
    Twitter:
    May 22, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Apologies for my delay in getting to your place but I must tell you this is one heck of a post.

    We actually did run a brick and mortar type business a few years back and to be honest we never even considered the concept of “list building”

    In hindsight I wish so much we had as it would have been invaluable to another online business we created a little later.

    The ‘dark days of winter” can so easily be mitigated if we simply as you recommend, focus all our energy on providing as much value as we can in our posts that will hopefully grab the attention of our target marfket and build our online blogging community – my email list!

    Just recently the experiences I had with the “push respnse” appraoch to list building has proved to be quite exciting. Sure we don’t get email details but we can still build relationships with these folks, just like we do with our email subscribers.

    And relationships to me is what it’s all about.

    Many thanks as always for sharing your expertise ad experience Donna – awesome information and ideas that you provide in such a way its easy ti implement.

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village marketer

    Peter
    Peter Beckenham recently posted..15 Smart Ways to Promote Blog PostsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 1, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

      Hi Peter,

      No apologies necessary. We all have to do what we have to do and here I am late lol.

      You have experienced offline and online businesses so you know how they are so similar. When I had my offline business I did have a ‘sign in” book that had a header something like ‘If you want to be on my mailing list, you will receive discounts and much more.” You bet they signed in.

      Same applies here…we have to give perks to those on our list. Then engage with them because that’s where the real fun begins.

      Thanks again!

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Steps To Selecting A Blogging NicheMy Profile

  11. Shamsudeen Adeshokan
    Twitter:
    May 22, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I see no difference in running a brick and morta shop and an online business website except for we can feel, touch, see and smell the former, while the later is just a complete visual experience.

    But even with this, the administration present no much differences. Everything applies to both business world, from the creative aspect to the executions.

    I have a wife who is very creative in her hair dressing and makeup biz, and this is really helping her grow well in the business both financially, skills and experience.

    And here in the online world, I know of so many bloggers that their ability to generates ideas quickly and create something awesome out of nowhere is the sole driver that’s keeping their blog alive, popular and healthy.

    One of such creative blogger is Enstine Muki. He is very creative and this helping him sustain the blog.

    Just the way your offline shop needs an address name and a place of location, so also your blog needs to have its URL (office address name) and a hosting place (office location) on the Internet to sit, so when people call your online office name, they could find its location from anywhere in the world.

    Hmmm?

    Thanks Donna, nice sharing.

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

      Hi Shamsudeen,

      I too see no difference between offline and online businesses. But many people see them as two different entities. This is why I wrote this article. It was inspired by a client of mine with an offline business who couldn’t understand the the two could be the same.

      Ahh you mention Enstine…he is amazing.

      Yes..working with the world is more fun than working with a small community.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Steps To Selecting A Blogging NicheMy Profile

  12. Neena
    Twitter:
    May 21, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I love the analogy that you make. If you want to make money with your blog you do need to run it like a store – I have learned this the hard way over the years.

    You can’t just show up when you feel like it – you need to build relationships with your customers, people that can help support you.

    There is always much to do and learn but the first step is taking both your business and yourself seriously.

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi Neena,

      I love using that analogy Neena because I have been on both sides of the fence. And I do find that when working with clients that if they could imagine an offline business, it becomes more clear to them what they are doing online.

      Indeed, there is always things to learn and it is never ending but as you mention, that first step is to take yourself seriously.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  13. Ben
    Twitter:
    May 21, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

    Hi Donna. You could do well in the guided visualization field. I could definitely see everything as you described it.

    I worked with someone a couple years ago who thought they were going to open a store front. I think it was going to be four different businesses during the year that I worked with them (on other things) and is probably still sitting empty, if they haven’t pulled out of the space completely. No matter what you’re doing you have to have a plan and you have to have the willpower to stick to it and make it happen.

    Personally, I can’t see myself ever running a brick-and-mortar storefront. I started my online business because I didn’t want to be tied down, and I still don’t. I do get your analogy though. There are many things that are similar, like having a plan to handle the up and down cycles that your business will have. Engaging with people to build a loyal customer base is definitely a great starting point.

    I really enjoyed this on Donna. Thanks for sharing it.
    Ben recently posted..Do You Really Need a Multivitamin?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

      Hi Ben,

      I used to do many guided visualizations a few years ago. Maybe that’s why you can see things the way I described it.

      I don’t blame you for not wanting to venture that brick and mortar business. Once you start online, you don’t want to leave. It is a time saver and we work whenever we want. Living this life style does free us up to a more healthier way of living. But that’s my bias lol.

      Indeed, we need a plan…then we have to implement it each and every day.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  14. Mandy Allen
    Twitter:
    May 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    I am a shop owner offline, I have 3 shops. I run my online business just as I run my offline businesses, and vice versa. There are things I learn in both worlds and I implement them in both worlds. It’s a really good policy to run your online business like you would run an offline shop. Great post!

    Enjoy the journey!

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 22, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

      Hi Mandy,

      Wow you have 3 shops? How exciting!!! When we have online and offline businesses we do learn so much from both of them. Then we can apply so many things to each of them. It does amaze me.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  15. Muhammad Tabish
    Twitter:
    May 20, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Hello Donna Sis,
    This is Great, motivating stuff. There’s lost more detail involved, Well done Keep Sharing have a Nice Day Good Morning 🙂
    Regard:
    Muhammad Tabish recently posted..What is MLM Software India? And what should you know about it?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 22, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

      Hi Muhammad,

      I do try to motivate others lol. Indeed, there is so much detail involved in this process. But first one has to have the mindset to get started.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  16. Stephanie Faris
    Twitter:
    May 19, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    Great tips! Unlike stores, though, readers often won’t find you unless you go out and visit their “stores” first!
    Stephanie Faris recently posted..My Home Is Just a Little Smarter Than YoursMy Profile

  17. Sue Dunlevie
    Twitter:
    May 19, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    Such a great post, Donna. I so agree – the foundational “bricks” are the key to success. With them, you can build your blog.

    Thanks,
    Sue

  18. Atish Ranjan May 19, 2016 at 6:25 am #

    Hello Donna,

    Interesting topic! Running a blog like you run a store is an amazing topic to write on, and I am glad you did.

    As like on store we upload products, change pricing when required and do a lot of stuff, we do write articles, repurpose old posts, and other things.

    Articles are for the blog just as the products are for Store.

    Strategies might be different, but running both are similar which you have discussed in the articles.

    Hope you are enjoying the week, Donna.
    Atish Ranjan recently posted..Why and How Should You Repurpose Your Old Blog Posts?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

      Hi Atish,

      Glad you found this analogy interesting. Our blogs are like a offline store. Stocking up things would be our content and opt ins.

      Indeed, strategies are quite different, but if we have that mindset, it is easier to stay in the game.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  19. James McAllister
    Twitter:
    May 19, 2016 at 4:54 am #

    Once again Donna, another post to really make you think. Love it.

    I’ve never ran a B&M shop (and perhaps never will) but I can see how a lot of it is the same. So many of the business concepts are universally applicable and many people do not realize that.

    Your point about collecting information is a good one, and unfortunately is rarely done it seems. There was a flower shop very close to where I live in that opened up shop a few months ago. I introduced myself as a marketer – nice lady. No doubt a good shopping experience for the few that stopped in. However, it was unfortunately just a few – not only did she not have a real system in place to attract new customers, she hardly worked with those who did stop by. The real estate it’s on is up for sale right now and it appears to be out of business, which is too bad. I’m sure she could have really benefited from something like this to get her over the hurdle of gaining initial traction.

    Anyway on my next walk I think I’m going to stop into a few of the smaller stores and speak with the shopkeepers. There certainly are a lot of them here, and it should be a fun experiment!

    Thanks Donna!
    James McAllister recently posted..Define What You Truly Want From BloggingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi James,

      By all means…start your experiment. I have picked up lots of clients by setting up a Facebook page, a blog, or website…..Even Foursquare he he he can you believe that?

      We can see the entire aspect and if the store owner doesn’t we see that too. I ask them Are you on Facebook? No…Why not? Too much work. HA! I talk for a while, tell them everyone is on their smart phones yada yada and bingo…cash in hand and I’m sitting right behind their computer.

      It’s all about being friendly and looking out for their best interest as you well know. You know the ins and outs and I’m sure they will be happy to work with you. If not, leave your card or contact number and they will connect.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  20. Stella Chiu
    Twitter:
    May 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi, Donna

    Love the comparison between running a store and the blog. This post also demonstrated the power of your story telling ability.

    There are similarity between both type of businesses. Attentions must be made in store front (or blog design), customer service, and marketing. All these efforts are for the increasing the numbers of customer we served.

    What a good suggestion to throw a “party” for downtime or winter season. I am learning how to do it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Will Share!
    Stella Chiu recently posted..No Health/Wellness Program can be Completed without FastingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

      Hi Stella,

      I do enjoy telling stories sometimes. We all learn differently and I try to communicate with all kinds of folks.

      There is a similarity of both business models, but when it comes down to it, we have to always be consistent….just show up every day and do something to move forward. That’s the simple form lol.

      Oh yes…a party will always work!

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  21. Ikechi
    Twitter:
    May 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    Hi Donna

    In my home, I have stores all around me so when I saw your analogy of running a blog like a store, I could relate to it so well.

    You are so right. Running a store isn’t just about opening it to customers and waiting for them to make a purchase. A Store owner needs a market strategy. It is no wonder why some stores end up closing after few months in business.

    For a blog, bloggers know that running a blog is a routine that can’t be taken for granted. You listed awesome ideas that can make a blog so successful.

    Thanks for sharing. Take care

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

      Hi Ikechi,

      Indeed, store owners cannot depend on passers by…rather they need to do something to get them in. Yes…the main cause of people going out of business.

      The same applies online. Bloggers need to know that running a blog is a huge part of their business plan and need to treat it that way.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  22. Kim Willis
    Twitter:
    May 17, 2016 at 5:22 am #

    Wow Donna

    This post illustrates once again the power and potency of a story.

    (It reminds me of one you did last year about the ‘blog graveyard’)

    I’ve never owned a shop (too much like hard work!) but using the shop example as a metaphor makes it very clear about the core things we need do to transform a mere blog into a business that works.

    Using the Winter analogy to drive home the point about collecting names is pure gold. Although I’m not wanting to put a dampener on it, the sad truth is that most shops do not collect contact data from their customers. More long, cold Winters for them, eh?

    To me, the core message of your post is that as business owners we can’t rest on our laurels. We must always be pro-active, always pushing forward – because we never know when the cold winds will start to blow again.

    Sure we want growth but we also want a little bit of insurance too. Collecting names, cultivating an email list, reinvesting profits, and always building relationships, are some of the best ways to insulate ourselves from inevitable downturns.

    Finally, stepping back from that impressionistic painting so we can see the ‘big picture’ is great advice.

    A few metaphors in today’s post – and they all hit the spot.

    Loved it Donna – I’ll be sharing this one

    Kim
    Kim Willis recently posted..Scaredy Cat ‘Make Money’ Bloggers and the Lateral Thinking ImperativeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

      Hi Kim,

      Being on both sides of the fence, having had an offline business for many years …. yes very hard work lol. You have to be there no matter what otherwise you loose not only customers but your credibility. It is the same thing online.

      We need to be collecting names no matter what kind of business we are in. Incentives always work with that. Offline I had a sign in book and would snail mail them post cards with some kind of deal. It worked great.

      Online, we have our opt in where we give our email peeps some kind of deal also. The same applies either way. People like a deal or something to make them feel part of your business.

      We all have to bear in mind that “rainy day” because that is the reality of business.

      Indeed, the metaphor of the impressionistic painting works well whenever I am relating to others.

      Great seeing you here and hope all is well on your end of the planet.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  23. Manidipa Bhaumik
    Twitter:
    May 17, 2016 at 4:00 am #

    Hey Donna,

    What a great comparison here. Though blogging has better potential to provide the financial support from our comfort zone, but many people tend to not provide the due effort it is intended to get (or like they would have given in case of a physical shop). They take it lightly and expect that the blog will earn them to the maximum extend.

    As you have explained, we can not expect return & growth until unless everything is in place. Thanks for the examples & thoughts and also the tips to get equipped for the winter blues 🙂 Take care.
    Manidipa Bhaumik recently posted..SEO PowerSuite Discount 60% Summer Sale 2016 [Review]My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

      Hi Manidpa,

      Maybe it is because I had an offline business and have an online one that kind of trained me to “be there” consistently that I have this foresight. When I had to show up no matter what kind of weather, no matter if I was tired or not, it is a big difference than doing business online. I can decide when and where I want to work. But have that “work ethic” to be consistent. Not to jump around and stay focused.

      I just hope that whoever reads this and has the above problem can see online business in this way.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  24. Harleena Singh
    Twitter:
    May 17, 2016 at 2:45 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Wonderful post, yet again 🙂

    I loved the comparison you made, which is so very true! Running our blog is so similar to running a store or a business offline.

    Nothing comes easy, and there has to be a plan and strategy in place if you want to make something out of your business/ store/ or blog. Working consistently to develop it, and all the things you mentioned are SO essential. The little examples you gave, had me nodding in agreement – amazing how you come up with the apt ones, and I guess you do notice the stores you visit because they give us so many clues as to how we can run our blogs too.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..How to Handle Aggressive Kids PositivelyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

      Hi Harleena,

      Glad you enjoyed this post! No matter what business we own, online, or offline, we do have to have a strategy and business plan in place. This applies to everyone that runs a business. It does take consistency to develop it and I have to say constant training.

      Oh yes, I notice stores, signs and just about everything when I’m out and about. I love to shop, but never pay retail lol. I love the “deal” So much so, that I was just shopping for an iron bench to go under one of the trees in front of my property. I seen one at an upscale antique store…it was a reproduction. Crazy price!

      So I started to shop online and love those pixels they put because they follow me and I can get a good price. But low and behold as we were passing by a store today, I remembered I had purchased a table and chairs there a few weeks back. Well, the matching bench was there. And I got a deal. I wanted the floor model because it would take too much time to put this thing together.

      I talked to the manager and got 20% off! Woo Hoo….

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  25. Akaahan Terungwa
    Twitter:
    May 17, 2016 at 2:26 am #

    Hi Donna,

    The title of this article got me 🙂

    As someone who had run a brick and mortar business before coming online, I perfectly understand the requirement of business. I also understand that the two models are essentially the same in requirement and basic needs/demands.

    However, the online world demands much more effort than a physical store…however, the joys and pleasures are also a ton more than any offline store can boost of.

    For instance, when I had an offline business, I had ‘business hours’…not so with my new online buisness…every hour of the day qualifies as a business hour online. The only joy and pride is that one can easily work from anywhere and make money even if one decides to take a whole week off or sleep and snore like a king!

    That’s the slight difference there…but, essentially, the models are one and the same.

    Do enjoy the day, Donna – and don’t forget to make it great!

    Always,
    Akaahan Terungwa
    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted..How To Lower/Improve Your Alexa Rank: Tips & Tricks You Never KnewMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      Hi Akaahan,

      Indeed, when we have an offline business, we have “hours” to be there. This means we are committed to be there and can do nothing else. When I was at my online business, I did start my journey online. Then I would get irritated when someone came in to purchase something.

      Needless to say, when I decided to leave and do everything online and by phone, I felt like my life was that of total freedom.

      I can work anytime I want. I don’t have to leave home. So much so, right now I’m working from my yard in a hammock under two blooming trees. There is a cool Summer wind blowing and I’m totally relaxed. Live doesn’t get better than that!

      Plus…If we decide to spend time with friends or family we can, and catch up later.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  26. Mark
    Twitter:
    May 16, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

    Entertaining and educational as usual Donna!LOL!

    And we both know all too well, that rainy winter
    day will come!

    And probably more than we care to admit! I love your
    advice and extremely graphic analogy!

    The more effective marketing we learn to do, the less blatant selling
    we will be forced to try and do!

    Such excellent advice as usual Coach! And definitely worth following
    as closely and as often we can!
    Mark recently posted..So How Do These Ultimate Insider Type Entrepreneurs Get Free Advertising Over And Over Again?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 20, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

      Hi Mark,

      I like to do a story form once in a while lol. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

      Indeed, there will always be that “rainy day” in our lives and we do need to be prepared.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  27. Sue Bride
    Twitter:
    May 16, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

    With my blog it sometimes feels as if I’m running a store in a high street lined with only shops selling exactly the same thing, including large discount chains and popular department stores. 🙂

    I so enjoyed reading this post because of the bricks and mortar store analogy. It brought out your tips in such a unique way, and emphasized their importance too.
    Sue Bride recently posted..Save Time with Desygner Image Editing AppMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 17, 2016 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Sue,

      Sometimes it does feel like that. But what we all need to keep in mind is that we ourselves are unique. If you and I and the huge department store sold the same red shoes, they all would be different….they each would have a different price point, be displayed in different ways, and be sold to the person that liked us best.

      Mine could be tossed on the rack hidden among so many others, while yours could be displayed with a high price dress and bag. See the difference?

      Whenever I feel that way I do think of that analogy.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  28. Jennifer Giacoppo
    Twitter:
    May 16, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    Dear Donna,
    that is such a cool post. I often see businesses go out of business around where I live because I see that people think that business is about just setting up and letting it happen. Or if I build it they will come. But actually your energy never stops. So why should we? We should always be offering something in the form of value or solutions in order to attract people.

    I believe that people buy from people who they feel a connection to or they make them feel good without any strings attached.

    I love the online journey because there are a lot of things you can share with people that you would not do in a bricks and mortar store. You wouldn’t write essays(blog) or vlog(share videos in your shop). In some ways it is a dichotomy. This internet thing may appear cold or impersonal, but really it is the opposite and it is the way in which we present it.

    I would agree with you on creating an opt-in, sales funnel and then keeping your customers or clients informed as this is key to becoming profitable. I myself am in the process of doing all of that and it is so fun.
    Love your work Donna-Lashings of love Jennifer

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 17, 2016 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Jennifer,

      Indeed, if you just observe the businesses around you offline, you can see them come and go. They have the wrong mindset….chasing money.

      When I had an offline shop, it was small. As my business grew all the other shop owners told me to get a bigger space. I didn’t listen because it was all I needed. Growth would have made me go out of business. BTW It still exists, but someone else runs it now. I did hand it over to my friend and have a little pice of it. The overhead is low and the money goes in the pocket.

      Online business is the same. People tell me to get “bigger” – what the heck does that mean? Just keep growing…create that optin, make your own product, learn as much as you can about marketing every day and stay on top of it. Your sales funnel doesn’t cost a thing, but your time. Create a good one and never stop tweaking it.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  29. Bren Pace
    Twitter:
    May 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Can I have strippers at my party?

    LOL Great post, Donna. Before I even read this, Dana already mentioned to me what a fabulous post it was and that it was time to get our party on!

    I have to agree with the “burn out” Dana talks about. I think I felt it with MGP and really after Ggl slapped me bum. The creative side of me knew I needed a challenge, an outlet to be ME, and to continue building that community I so love.

    I always value your advice, Donna and will be stepping up my A-game. Thanks for the kick in the bum!

    Have a great week ahead!

    B
    Bren Pace recently posted..Monday Musings #2 – Pushin’ Through the FogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 17, 2016 at 11:40 am #

      Hi Bren,

      Of course you can have strippers at your party lol. Just let me know what outfits you prefer.

      The way I see it, what you have gone through with MGP and all the rest of the stuff….it is a reflection of you. You have grown in leaps and bounds my friend. Both personally and blogging. As we grow, it reflects on what we do.

      If you look at my first blog posts, you would see that I was into helping others by self help stuff. Then as I grew…it morphed and now I’m leaning more to the marketing side of blogging for business. But still with a bit of fun.

      I’m loving your new sit and all you are doing with your community that I am gladly part of. I need to be a girl and you have created a space for that. Thank you my friend.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  30. Dana
    Twitter:
    May 16, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    Loved this Donna.

    I can say I feel I’ve created a pleasant “storefront” with plenty of new content and ideas for people, but I haven’t thrown that party you speak of.

    I just read Marquita’s comment and the two examples she mentioned were golden.

    I think a lot of bloggers have been feeling burnt out lately, so it may be time to be creative and have some fun with it.

    I know this will get my wheels spinning. I love writing, but there has to be something else. Some way to invite some guests over and hang out.

    Thanks for the insightful perspective.
    Dana recently posted..“I’m Stuck In A Rut – Now What?”My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 17, 2016 at 11:36 am #

      Hi Dana,

      You sure have created a great ‘storefront’ my friend. You always are up on new content and great ideas for your peeps.

      Oh I loved Marquita’s examples too. We need to know that when things get us down in business, we have to get creative.

      Yes I see some of my Blogging buddies getting burnt out and even giving up lately. They have been around for a while, or they just went to different directions. But having some fun with our blogs from time to time is an awesome way not only for us but for our readers too.

      Glad your wheels are spinning!

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  31. Enstine Muki
    Twitter:
    May 16, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    I never run a brick and mortar shop before but it doesn’t require deep thinking to understand your message in this post.

    One of the things brick and mortar shop owners have to deal with is competition. For the most part, they have almost the same products from the same suppliers but the difference is with prices and incentives.

    Some offline shops here have what they call ‘fidelity cards’. These help track customer activities and qualifies them for a special bonus or gift. Shops that do this often pull customers from their competitors.

    Same thing should happen in blogging especially for bloggers who sell their services or products. We should be able to offer additional services and make our clients feel more special.

    Ask yourself ‘what do they get from my competitors? Can I offer more than they get elsewhere for the same price?’

    Excellent business post Donna. Reading through has been exciting.
    Enstine Muki recently posted..TeslaThemes Vs MyThemeShop ~ Best Premium WP Themes!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 17, 2016 at 11:33 am #

      Hi Enstine,

      Glad you enjoyed reading through this article.

      We have something similar to your ‘fidelity cards’ here too. The store cards will give us a percentage off when we purchase a certain amount, or we get a bonus coupon in the mail of $10 and up, depending on what we spend. Kind of fun to do.

      There always will be competition on and off line. But what all of us need to keep in mind if we are business owners is our “bonuses’ to our loyal customers. Also we have to understand we are unique and some people will swear by us and some won’t.

      Yes, I do ask my self what people get from my competitors. And I do work hard to give them more.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Getting To The Next LevelMy Profile

  32. Marquita Herald
    Twitter:
    May 16, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Well, considering the way my day started off your “winter” analogy is spot on Donna! I couldn’t agree more with your point about running our websites like a business, especially when it comes to planning, staying on top of trends, and the value of a good party. 🙂

    I also think part of being in business is learning to be adaptable because no matter how well we plan, there will always be some things pop up that are out of our control. Like the time I was working for a hotel back in the days when the only major airline flying to Maui from the mainland was United – and they suddenly went on strike – leaving us with no new arrivals, no departing flights and about 200 (grumpy) stranded guests. We threw them a party and a bunch of us stayed at the hotel working round the clock helping them make alternate arrangements to get home. Then there was the time the whole coast was evacuated because of a tsunami alert and we had to move 300 terrified guests to a vacant building on the hill overlooking the resort. We threw them a “tsunami” party and taught them how to dance the hula. We all get blindsided from time to time, but with a bit of humor, flexibility and sense of adventure, it is possible to turn these events around.
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Today, Let Us Make Time to PlayMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 17, 2016 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Marquita,

      Yikes…starting your day off like that is challenging. You need a super party after that one lol.

      I love the share you have given here – Thanks so much for adding great value to this post. I love the way you threw a “tsunami” party. What else can one do? You had to please them some how and I’m sure they had a blast. Can’t fight mother nature, so why not make a party out of it.

      I remember having “snow day’ parties when I was younger. In N.Y. the city was crippled if there was a blizzard. No trains running and we had to do everything on foot. So we had parties.

      It is all about keeping a sense of humor and getting through whatever comes our way.

      -Donna

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