The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

27 July 2009 1,820 views 9 Comments

Have you ever been in a convenience store?

The Power of Convenience

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image credit: emples

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Do you ever notice how a convenience store (my favorite is Kwik Trip here in Wisconsin) strategically place their best products throughout the store?

Or have you ever noticed how a convenience store will have their own brands of popular items…also prominently displayed…sometimes discounted heavily?

I was recently in Kwik Trip waiting for the person in front of me to check out when it dawned on me that Kwik Trip is a lot like a successful blog.

Yes I know, there is something wrong when I think about blogging while picking up bananas, milk and eggs at Kwik Trip at 8pm on Sunday evening. (I needed breakfast for Monday morning after my workout).

Anyway, Kwik Trip seems like a successful business. It’s busy whenever I go there no matter the time or the day and they seem to keep building stores despite economic conditions.

So I’m guessing Kwik Trip and other convenience stores are doing something right and there are a few things you can do with your blog (or hunting business) that are successful for Kwik Trip.

Let’s take a look…

Upsell/Cross Sell

Kwik Trip

Every time I go into Kwik Trip the cashier asks me if I would like anything else like donuts (for $1.99), a cookie ($0.99), a hot dog ($0.99), etc. After awhile it gets annoying, but I realize it’s harmless. There is nothing wrong when I simply say “no, thank you”.

What’s interesting though is that occasionally I do find the upsell offer intriguing and will make the additional purchase.

While I don’t make the additional purchase often, there are those occasional times when I find value in buying the product. I’m thankful the cashier asked. While the continuous questioning can get old each time I’m in the store, I still occasionally buy the upsell items.

And this adds up as other customers occasionally buy as well.

It’s also likely that Kwik Trip is taking the approach that by offering me a cookie for $0.99 is a great deal if I buy because the cookie is probably cheap to buy plus if the cookie is delicious I might find more trust in Kwik Trip and purchase more sweets and goodies in the future. (I’m generally not a sweet eater, but this is an easy example for this post).

Blogging

One of the great things about writing great content for a blog is that you grab people’s attention. When you have people’s attention you have the opportunity to offer complementary products, services, content, etc. that will add even more value to their lives.

If you are smart and mindful of what your audience values you have the chance (if not the obligation) to offer more value to your audience on your blog or Website.

One of the most basic examples goes back to the cashier offering me a cookie while I’m paying for my fresh gallon of milk.

When I blog, one of my favorite things to do is to put 10 lines of copy at the end of each post with 9 links.

If you’ve read posts here at Hunting Business Marketing before you may have noticed the Related posts… and Subscribe to Hunting Business Marketing at the end of each post.

My hope is that you’ll find posts on this site valuable and the links to other resources at the bottom will serve as complements that add even more value to your life.

While I realize that you’re not going to click on the links each time you read a post on this site because I know your time is valuable, I’m simply hoping that on occasion you’ll check out the links to other posts and maybe find a new source of information or an old post that you may not have seen before.

Upselling and Cross-selling are great ways to add value to your audience.

Can you think of any other examples of how you can use your blog or Website to upsell and cross-sell products, services, or content to your hunting audience?

Products and Brands

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image credit: klynslis

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Kwik Trip

Another interesting thing I see at Kwik Trip (and likely other convenience stores) is the fact that they look for popular items in their stores and begin producing their own competing products under their own brands.

A recent example at the local Kwik Trip is their brand Kwik-ade.

This drink is in competition with other popular national brands such as Powerade, Gatorade, and other sporting drinks.

When Kwik-ade first came out Kwik Trip offered them for an initial deal of something like 2 for $1.50 or something much lower than the popular competition.

As a result of the great deal (and my trust of the Kwik Trip brand) I bought a couple and they tasted alright. I mean how much different are sports drinks?

As of now there are about 4 flavors of Kwik-ade while there are many flavors of Powerade, but the point is that if I’m in the mood for a lemon-lime sports drink I might go with the cheaper Kwik-ade rather than one of the other larger brands.

There are more examples of this in each convenience store and it’s interesting because the products they seem to choose to produce themselves (milk, coffee, bread, sports drinks) are often the popular, more essential items.

The stores are obviously finding efficiencies in the production of these items and creating alternatives themselves to gain trust with the consumer while adding value for the customer and creating a better business.

Blogging

One thing that is popular in the blogging world is the sharing and rehashing of blog post formats.

There are so many quality bloggers today that it’s important for new and existing bloggers in various niches to read other quality blogs and find formats that connect and add value to audiences.

I like reading a variety of blogs on business, marketing, Web marketing, PR, buzz, current events, etc. and one of the things I look for on each blog is a popular posts section. I try to find common types of posts that are popular with various audiences.

I like to write posts that most importantly add value to readers, but that are also written in a format that is friendly, unique and impactful.

By reading sites like The Future Buzz, Copyblogger, Pro Blogger, etc., I notice that popular posts are often written with very unique thoughts or takes on very simple concepts. For example:

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration at Copyblogger

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65 Bite-Sized Web Marketing Tips at The Future Buzz

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Don’t Let Your Blog Become Like My Sock Drawer at Pro Blogger

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It takes creative headlines and content to capture the attention of readers (new and existing). I’ve used this technique a few times on this site:

The Jon Bon Jovi Guide to Making it Big on the Web

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The Best Country Songs You’ve Never Heard – A Lesson in Marketing

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The Michael Jackson Guide to Success

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There are many other examples of quality content formats on sites, but he point is that it’s beneficial to use the influence of other popular blogs and put my own twist (Hunting Business Marketing) on them so it fits your appetite for information and value.

I figure that I may as well use formats that connect with audiences to write content that connects with my reader.

While the quality and uniqueness of the content is important, it’s really the voice behind the content that connects with readers.

If you look at what others are having success with concerning connecting with their audiences it will spark ideas for your own connecting efforts.

Your voice will fill in the remaining need for uniqueness.

Do you see any other ways to take advantage of learning efficiencies or successes from others that blog or have business Websites that you can use to add value for your audience?

Simple Convenience

One last thing I’d like to mention about convenience stores and blogging is simple convenience.

I go to the Kwik Trip a couple times each week because their store is located close to my work and home. They have the bare essentials I need to get through the week like gas, milk, eggs, bananas, and the occasional case of beer.

I also find that I go to blogs that are convenient to read and absorb information.

While it’s easy to access the content on just about all blogs today with RSS or email subscription, it’s still important that blogs use formats that offer convenience when I’m trying to absorb information.

I like content that I can scan or take in a brief description of the overall content with lots more valuable content to absorb with further reading or viewing time should I so choose.

Don’t forget about convenience when creating your Website or blog.

Summary

When it comes to adding value to the lives of customers, convenience stores like Kwik Trip are successful and they have a loyal audience of customers to prove it.

Convenience stores use value adding opportunities to benefit their customers with upselling and cross-selling options for services, products, and content.

The stores watch the success of other companies and adapt popular formats, products, and layouts as inspiration for their own products, services and content while also adding their own unique brand or voice…all with serving their audience as the number one goal.

Stores like Kwik Trip also remain focused on their number one business advantage, which is convenience.

Use the lessons of convenience stores when creating your own blog or Website and connect with your audience in a way that benefits them on a level that leads to greater connection and more business.

Do you have any other examples of how convenience stores mirror bloggers?

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9 Comments »
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  • Albert A Rasch
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    said:

    Dayne,
    Interesting analogies, and of course, eminently practical. It really is a matter of finding different approaches that capture the consumer’s eye and draw them to your content.

    By any chance have you read this, http://onlinemarketerblog.com/2009/07/book-review-why-small-business-owners-must-read-scott-foxs-e-riches-2-0/

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    and if so what’s your opinion on it?

    Albert

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Thanks Albert.

    I haven’t seen this book before. I like the review this blogger did. I like his comment on the cover design of the book (I agree). :-)

    I also like that he points out that “Scott is an advocate of action”.

    I agree with that 100%.

    This book sounds like it might be worth a read for many bloggers and hunting business owners looking to take their business to the next level by utilizing the Web.

    And I think the price is very reasonable.

    I don’t know if I’ll get around to reading this book in particular, but it’ll definitely be on my mind.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • Sarah
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    said:

    Really great post Dayne. I don’t know how you can turn everyday adventures into incredibly relevant posts. You are very creative Dayne and an excellent writer. How are Kwik Trip cookies anyway?

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Thanks Sarah. The cookies aren’t too bad. :-)

  • T. Michael Riddle
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    said:

    Ditto! to what Sarah said Dayne,
    You seem to be the “August Rush” of the blogging world!

    I am constantly reminding my sales team to reaffirm in the potential clients mind all of our: Features and Benefit’s.
    This means that if someone calls about a simple, single day Wild Boar hunt that they can gently push the client towards an upgrade, which holds more of those Features and Benefit’s.

    90% of the time that single day hunt inquiry turns into a booked 2 day hunt, usually for a second or third animal as well.

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Thanks T. Michael.

    I’m going to have to watch that movie now. :-)

    It’s great to hear that adding value to clients works just as well in the outfitting business. I had a hunch.

    Thanks for commenting. You’re a valuable resource for the other readers here.

  • Stuart
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    said:

    Dayne,

    Great analogy. People demand quick and convenient information just like they demand quick tangible goods. While Wal-Mart is like the large elaborate white paper or book, Kwik Trip is like the bullet/main points. In many cases, the bullt/main points are really what people need. The necessities.

    Oh, and I think I have ventured at a Kwik Trip near your neck of the woods and had an awesome (sarcastic) time with the pumps there…coincidentally I was also buying a case of beer.

    Good stuff, Dayne.

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Great addition Stu.

    I agree 100% on your point that sometimes all we need are the main points.

    And I’ll never forget that Kwik Trip incident. ;-)

  • Company Blogging - Frequency of Posts, Daily, Weekly, Monthly
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    said:

    [...] The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging [...]