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    To Melanie:

    You’re right about engagement. My goal, when it comes to blogging, is to gain a following. This is it, I do not care about money or any of that. What I care about are followers. And, the only way to do that is to engage with other bloggers.

    Where was I going with this comment? Here it is:

    I agree with you in being engaged and I just wanted to let you know that I click the reply button – if the conversation needs to continue. Sometimes it takes me a while to reply, but I get it done.

    Also, click the reply button is fun if I’m in a debate!

    • Thanks for dropping in, Jonathan — great to meet you!

      I’m definitely a “reply” kind of gal. Like you say, “if the conversation needs to continue”.

      Love your blogging goal …

      ” … to gain a following.”

      Your head is screwed on straight … no question about it. As bloggers, our highest priority is to create a “loyal readership”. Otherwise, what’s the point?

      I get the feeling you enjoy getting involved in debates. Maybe you should consider a sideline career in politics. LOL 😉

  • Melanie,
    You’re right. I see those requests and think that I’ll respond later when I have time. But then I forget about it later. The best part about the web is the relationships with interesting people and you can’t get those without responding. So I’m going to try doing that more often. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Hey Ann — thanks so much for knocking on my door today!

      I’m with you …

      Sometimes I have the BEST of intentions of heading back to an email request or a plea on social media to give my feedback on something. Well, I have a hard enough time keeping up with daily emails and social media updates as it is!

      If I don’t respond to a call to action … immediately … chances are really good I won’t answer the call at all.

      I enjoyed filling out your survey. I thought the questions were awesome! And as someone who’s “past a half a hundred” in age, I could definitely relate to your survey. Thanks for including me. 🙂

      I’m glad my post has provided you with a gentle little reminder that we all need to be more mindful of wonderful opportunities to engage with one another and learn from each other, as well.

      Hope you’ll return again soon!

  • Melanie – since reading this article, I’ve been proactive about hitting the “reply” button. Obviously I don’t respond to each and every one, and I only respond when I have some feedback or relevant comment to make. But this new “engagement” approach has been fruitful for 2012 already.

    I received a newsletter in my in-box, and was impressed by how well it was designed, so I sent back a few words of appreciation and praise.

    I didn’t reply to the newsletter with any pre-set expectations (but I do always include the links to my different blogs), and I was thrilled to receive this response:

    “Your own sites are very interesting. If you would ever like us to publish any of your features please let me know and I will send through guidelines.”

    • Woo-Hoo! That’s wonderful news, Jay!

      Just by hitting the reply button …

      You’ve received an invitation to be featured.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. It proves engaging with others has rewards! 🙂

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  • I would like to Subscribe to your support group for over subscribers!

    You make a good point. It’s so easy to ignore the influx of updates and newsletters.

    I think the key is to change our role from passive recipients to active collaborators. Just because we’re the ones who are receiving the information from others, doesn’t mean that we can’t actively participate by responding.

    • Nice to meet you, Jay, and thanks for knocking on my door!

      Well, it’s looking like I’m not the only one who subscribes to TOO MANY newsletters. I am officially welcoming you in to the support group for over subscribers. LOL!

      This line in your commentary is INVALUABLE! …

      “I think the key is to change our role from passive recipients to active collaborators” Bravo!

      Will you please do me a favor and spread that message far and wide?

      Thank You! And I hope you’ll stop by again soon.

  • Hi Mel

    “No fun talking to yourself, right?!”
    Oh I don’t know. LOL

    “If you’re still alive and kickin’, please hit reply and let me know! I haven’t heard from you in a while.”

    I’m alive and kickin Mel and ready to runble!

    • LOL! Great news, Keith!

      Need someone to rumble with? 🙂

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  • Can I get a spot in the Oversubscribers Anonymous group?

    And I have to admit, I don’t hit reply nearly often enough, even when I want to make a comment. I should know better, because when someone replies to my ezine letting me know that they enjoyed it, it makes my day (week)!

    I am better at engaging in other venues… Thanks for the nudge!

    • We have a HUGE membership in the O.A. group, Daphne, and you’re definitely invited to join us! 😉

      Thanks for openly admitting you don’t hit the reply button nearly often enough. Truth is … we could all get a lot better at it.

      One of the many reasons I crafted this post is because I sent out an email request to my subscribers fairly recently asking them to hit the “reply” button — offered up a list of biz-related topics and asked them to let me know what they’d be interested in hearing more about.


      Although that didn’t really surprise me …

      It made me wonder if other small business owners were having the same experience when attempting to engage with their subscribers.

      Maybe this post will “nudge” people to hit the reply button and reap the benefits of doing so. 🙂

      • A few months ago, I did an email survey, where I asked my subscribers to reply and answer the questions. I was pleasantly surprised at the response. It was much higher than when I sent them a survey link. I think it also helped that I bribed them with a free report.

        • Great point, Daphne!

          Offering up a “freebie” in exchange for a “reply” is a savvy and darn good idea. 😉

  • What a joy to meet you, Zainab!

    I can feel the energy exuding from your words. 🙂

    You’re NOT alone — so no need to feel guilty about hiding behind the technology. The positive news is now you’re beyond that point, you’ve had a shift in your thinking, and you’ve come to realize the importance of engaging and making genuine connections online.

    I applaud you!

    I took a peek at your blog. It’s beautiful and it’s always great to cross paths with copywriting experts. I’ve had a love affair with words since the first grade. 😉

    You would probably really enjoy meeting my friend, Cathy Goodwin. Look her up on Twitter at @CathyGoodwin.

    Animoto is fabulous. And if you’re someone like me who doesn’t own any video equipment, you can still create some fun and interesting videos. You may want to scope out One True Media dot com, as well.

    Thanks for knocking on my door and please return again soon,

  • Hello, Melanie!

    This post was useful for me in that it highlighted the ‘hiding behind technology’ mentality. Guilty as charged! I’m realizing that relationship building and valuable content are key.

    As far as replying is concerned, I’m as much an over subscriber as you are.. and I tend to reply only to those people with whom I’ve formed an emotional connection with or who’ve struck a chord. Here again, is the importance of building relationships.

    Anyway, love your blog. Animoto is a favorite with both my daughter and I; and I got that from your survival kit. Thanks!

  • BRAVO Melanie! You hit the nail on the head… and as a matter of fact … this IS THE KEY to success! Way too many online marketers, entrepreneurs hide behind their brand thinking their brand will do all the work. Well not so!

    It IS about engaging, actually getting to know your audience and building those connections. WHY? because (you’ve heard me say this over and over again), this is what builds your credibility, builds your connections and thus gives you the opportunity to turn them into paying customers. It isn’t a difficult process, it is a process that takes work.

    So thank you Melanie for a wonderful reminder to hit that reply button and better yet, engage and connect!

    • Somehow I had a hunch you’d agree with me, Lynn. 🙂

      You really “get” engagement.

      Feel proud about that fact and give yourself a gigantic pat on the back.

      Sadly, lots of folks don’t get it. And what you’ve said is truer than true — people try hiding behind their brand, their blog, their social media profiles, and anything else they can hide behind — hoping technology will do the work of building a client or customer base for them.

      You and I can both predict with 100% accuracy, THAT approach WON’T work.

      You’ve heard it before (I’m sure a hundred times!) …

      “People do business with people.” They don’t do business with a business.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and now I’ve got to head over to your blog to glean “An Important Piece of LinkedIn Marketing Advice.” 🙂

  • No need to hit me upside the head twice! You are so right about engagement and conversation, Melanie! Without it, you are just talking with yourself. I can’t wait to read how to get the attention you deserve so the engagement can actually take place. Always lot your posts – and sorry I haven’t been around lately. Hugs!

    • Lis, there’s NEVER a need to apologize for an extended absence from my blog. We both lead exceptionally crazy busy lives! Enough said.

      Ooooh … you’ve given me some great blog fodder! Thank you.

      I believe a little follow-up post is in order here — “How to get the attention you deserve.” 🙂

      My head is already swirling with ideas!

      Stay tuned …

      Hugs back at ya,

  • Great points, Melanie! No, I don’t hit the reply button often enough for various reasons: not enough time, don’t know what to say without spending a lot of time making my comments pretty, etc.
    It makes it easy for me if it’s a short survey, or a Like, Share, ot tweet 🙂 I hear a lot of people out there are like that. And I’m thankful enough if I see that my blog reached more or less people – hopefully I’ve made a difference 🙂

    • Delighted to meet you, Delia, and thanks for your transparency!

      The most important thing I sense from you is your “awareness” that people are reaching out to engage with you.

      True … we don’t always have the time to respond to each and every request. No one has handed me a 30-hour day yet. 🙂

      I’m getting a hint you may possess one of my characteristics — conscientiousness. I never want to just throw out some frivolous, meaningless, “thin” commentary.

      I prefer to take my time to make sure I’m lending something with some substance behind it … maybe even some insight that’s truly valuable. Know what I mean?

      And, no! You’re not alone.

      One of the reasons I decided to blog on this topic is because I know most folks aren’t hitting the reply button. I’d really like to see that change. 😉

  • Hi Mel,

    An engaging topic, to be sure! 🙂

    Yes, sometimes I do hit “reply” or whatever the equivalent is for the venue. Tonight, I answered a survey just because the site owner “asked,” even though he said the survey would take 15 minutes. I thought, yikes! who’s got 15 minutes to answer a survey? So I did, and it only took 5 … but I did for 2 reasons: I had a long, long survey that I asked folk to answer back in the summer. So, reciprocity. And it didn’t hurt that he was offering a chance to win a Kindle Fire. LOL

    So, sometimes replying is, indeed, about being asked. And sometimes it’s for a prize.

    You’re a super-networker, Mel. I’d bet “hitting the reply button” is one of the secrets that won you the crown. 🙂

    • Howdy V,

      I’m jazzed to see you here!

      I absolutely love that you mentioned “reciprocity”. Networking is a doggone two-way street! And you know how the saying goes …

      “You wash my back and I’ll wash yours.” 🙂

      I’ll be honest …

      I’ll go ahead and fill out a survey I’m emailed even if I’m not really in the “mood” — for the simple reason I may ask others to do the same for me.

      You “get” what you “give” in life (and business), right?

      You are one of the most engaging fellow bloggers on the net — thank you for being YOU!

  • Hi Melanie,

    Great points! (Thus the reply!)

    Sometimes I think we forget it’s not about “push” marketing – blaring our message on a megaphone for all to hear – but much more “pull” marketing, or drawing in your audience to engage. It’s something I’ve struggled with while transitioning from a services-based business only to a mixed (online/offline) model. (You can see my link above.) I spent a good two years offline and being very “vanilla”. It didn’t fit. Getting online and putting my personality out there – as you have done – has made all the difference.

    Thanks for reminding us to engage with others who are doing the same things. You’re right, it’s more fun this way! 🙂


    • I really wish I had a prize for the first person who shows up to comment on my posts! 🙂

      Thanks so much for swinging by to share your insights, Elizabeth.

      I immediately get the sense you have discovered the joy and the value of “putting your personality out there”. (Applause! Applause!)

      And I also get the feeling you’re more than aware some small business owners are very intimidated, standoffish, shy, and apprehensive about engaging/connecting/networking/partnering with “others who are doing the same things” they are.

      You are very astute in your observations and I’m sure you’ve gained these wonderful insights through being in the trenches, attending the school of hard knocks for a session or two, and walking down the garden path (as they like to say in the UK!) 🙂

      Cheers back at ya and I’d love to see you back again some day soon!

    • P.S. I’m a gal who likes to keep things simple, Elizabeth. I love that you highlighted your thoughts on “push” and “pull”.

      Here’s how I keep things straight in my head and my (social media marketing) ducks lined up in a row:

      Advertising is a “push”

      Marketing is a “pull”.

      Thanks again for knocking on my door today!