One of the nicer things that’s been happening of late is that I can now count certain people at Butler Sheetmetal Ltd as regular Tinbasher readers. (If we’re being honest, they’re probably the only regular readers. But such is life.)

Only the other day, both Deborah and John were having a gander and showed a particular post having a dig at Craig to Matt and he commented about it being all well and good but how the hell did the post in question manage to sell any planters or draw an enquiry.

Now this is as valid a question you can ask of any marketing effort within any business. It’s the age old ROI chestnut, which often gets slapped down by certain parts of the blogging fraternity for being too metrics focused.

However, I don’t think it’s too much for a boss to ask how much a blog costs his company and how much it can bring in.

Now I look at a blog as part of a team. In respect to The Tinbasher, it’s only part of team web presence; it’s your engine room – the midfield general/playmaker that runs box to box, pops up to score the odd goal and still shields the back four – part Maradonna, part Beckenbauer. It manages to support the other two web sites we have as well as attracting people in its own right. It’s part SEO tool that’s managed to promote the main Butler Sheetmetal site to such a degree that it now ranks #6 out of 17,000,000 on Google for the term “sheet metal”. And not a single bought link in sight nor some tedious or fluffed up linking campaign in sight either.

Now I know the purists don’t like all that SEO talk as it’s only one step away from sploggageddon and it still doesn’t answer the question as to how it sells any planters. On this score, I have to say that in relation to the SEO thing then if somebody is looking for a company selling stainless steel planters or to do some sheet metal fabrication work then they’ll find us ranking #1 and #4 respectively for those terms amongst others.

The next thing somebody might do once they’ve decided to click on your site that’s been pushed into position by the blog or a blog post that you’ve written about your own services or products is to investigate further if they choose. And that’s the whole point – it’s the choice of the person doing the clicking. From this point in you have to be quite zen about it all. If you fit the bill then splendid and if not then also splendid. Let’s just pretend that in this day and age the punter is very much like the modern woman – they know what they want and they know how to get it. (We could take this further by claiming they’ll screw you something rotten if you don’t treat them right, but I don’t want to sound too pussy-whipped.)

And then, if you take all the glorious mentions we’ve got from all branches of the media then you realise we’re onto something. Especially when you consider that Butler Sheetmetal hasn’t got where it is today by throwing ridiculous amounts of cash at anything. That isn’t to say the boys are a pair of tightwads, it’s just that they have a budget and it’s not remotely on a par with that of General Motors.

We’re what Hugh Macleod decribes as a Global Microbrand. (And there’s us thinking we’re more local contraband.)

I’m not saying that other methods might not be more effective, but they would cost more initially. I don’t see this as either/or but as an integrated team effort like I said before. There’s still plenty to try and improve upon – yes, this has been far from perfect irrespective of what you might’ve heard elsewhere.

But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not about shifting the maximum amount of units and squeezing the living daylights out of a punter but about matching needs and supplying enough information to satisfy them by being honest and open about your business and products or services.

Then again, you may disagree.