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Internet marketing, prosumerism and paid bloggers.

6/10/15       
Mel

This was touched on on a recent thread--the idea that it's not as easy as having a good website + photographer and keyword search links. The internet has changed.

Try searching "online marketing styles"--you'll see a bunch of ideas that revolve around what I'm tempted to call indirect marketing. Things like paying bloggers to help you get to the top few results on a search, hyperlink manipulation, and online pro presence.

There's of course the direct marketing like e-letters, paid ads and email blasts...

Recently visited a friend who is a paid blogger. She isn't paid to directly promote product--mentioning it with hyperlink is enoughto a) attract traffic b) get further up the google search page.

There is also prosumerism--the idea of people nerding out online into topics before purchasing, or even searching for the sake of searching, and posting, tweeting, etc, good blog posts to their social media. Traffic is good so they say.

Just scratching the surface on this... anyone else looked into this sort of stuff? Any of you guys tried this sort of thing?

6/11/15       #2: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
David R Sochar Member

I know of a website developer in NYC that has about 20 'socials' on staff, part of a group of about 40 total. The socials are young people that spend their days posting good reviews, likes, etc, and making up entire personalities and hyperlinking on Facebook and other locations to maximize benefits and search results and minimize any negatives.

Since they use developers/coders in India, they tried the low cost way and used Indian sources for this job, but they could not keep up with the cultural evolution and language shifts that this 'cutting edge' of the culture represented, and were easily outed.

This is mostly for a large financial institution with hundreds of products in all sorts of markets, in North America and Europe. He hinted at more insidious activities, but I have no info on that.

I have no idea how any of that can be incorporated by the average wood shop. Maximizing word of mouth has always been the most successful marketing I have ever seen. Pretty old school.

6/11/15       #3: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Al Fortunato  Member

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

Yes Mel, I am tired of all the social media hype. I am on a few but don't have the time and don't want to spend the time required to constantly be posting something. I don't think it has any impact on my business, I get tire kickers. I can't afford a full time blogger, to make it work (if it even will). I'm with David, word of mouth is the best. I've tried all the other advertising methods, excluding TV/radio, which are too expensive and, again, I don't think they are suited to my business.

I think we should concentrate on the "old ways", word of mouth being the most important. So, a better question maybe, is how to increase word of mouth advertising?

6/11/15       #4: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
David Sochar

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

Okay ..... I've got it now. Mel is short for millennial, eh? That excruciatingly hard to define demographic that is the heir apparent to all that matters. And as the appointed/anointed one, you ask these questions whereby we try to fit our world of shavings, oil stones, plane techniques and spokeshave management into the world of digits and sites and all things future.

The trouble is that so much of what we do, who we are in fact, does not fit into those damned little boxes. It is a lot like the question "Have you stopped beating your spouse?" The question -or box- presumes the anticipated answer, and will not allow expansion or proper response.

We find ourselves boxed in, trying to justify a lifetime of passionate work within some damned digital reference point that at its best will miss the entire point of my career.

Damn millenials! It's all your fault Mel!

6/11/15       #5: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Jim Conklin  Member

Website: http://www.jhconklin.net

Hi Mel,

"the idea of people nerding out online into topics before purchasing, or even searching for the sake of searching"

So, for this to happen, you have to get the good content about those topics onto your site, and see that it is optimized to show up in search. So the good website is sort of a prerequisite.

Syndication to content curators and social media sites, groups, communities takes a dedicated campaign, IMO.

And it depends on where and how your target prospects get and share their information. I get zero from Facebook for example. My clients are on it, but for THEIR friends and family and not for bleating about service providers like me. It just doesn't happen.

But they Google like crazy when considering a project.

6/11/15       #6: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Kevin Jenness

Mel- see Pattern Recognition by your fellow Canadian resident William Gibson.

" The future is already here; it's just not evenly distributed"

6/14/15       #7: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

Mel is for sure for millenial!!! Wasn't before, but it sure is now! Guessing there isn't a whole lot of other kiddos in the biz section... All good, you folks have good patience :)

So this is what I'm thinking... Woodworking has a story to tell. People watch shows about tattoo artists, custom bike builders, dirty jobs, etc. And lets face it, woodworking is downright cool for a wide variety of people. Men and women, young and old, get immediately very interested when I tell them what I do. And a surprising amount of people tell me about the Wood Whisperer guy.

I don't think just showing product on social media is the way. I think writting up blog posts that get circulated on social media is where it's at. And to do that, for sure you need to know how to keep people interested.

About word of mouth... Internet offers word of mouth on steriods. Just not that way you think when on customer refers you to a friend.

As Jim points out-- there is a bit to this. Entire companies offer this service. But often the product is rather synthetic-- nothing beats a write up from a real person who is actually into it.

6/14/15       #8: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

Almost forgot-- Al, I'm always up to discuss anything! So old fashion business generation... I know a sales team in the electrical industry. They take contractors out to lunch and what not all day, everyday. Help them spec, plugging in their product, lightening their work load.

That's all I got on the subject :)

6/14/15       #9: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Al Fortunato  Member

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

I guess I'm just a little bitter as to where the internet has driven consumers. I "participate" on some other sites and am really tired of all the internet "experts" telling everyone how it should be done or arguing with a pro as the best way to do it. I've moved to offering advice off line if the poster is interested to avoid the "internet experts". Just recently I had a couple come into my shop to ask for my advice. It ended up them telling me how it should be done based on their internet "research". There is so much bad info out there, how does a consumer sort it out? Especially when they believe everything the read. After all, if it is on the internet, it is true, right?

6/14/15       #10: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

Oooo I could go on about that for ages... People keep saying how it's "the age of information". Maybe so--but is it the age of good information?

Silly example--but I cook a lot. And by a lot I mean, anything and everything under the sun, from French to Japanese to Balinese. Looking up recipes/techniques online actually requires a very good culinary background--crap from non-crap has got to be 10 to 1.

There is such a thing as people pumping out untested recipes for the sake of web content. And I can tell you--food just doesn't work that way. Like a lot of things really.

I've had a hobbyist turner try to lecture me about machinery. A hobbyist boat builder tell me the school I studied joinery in is "useless". The big disconnect is that there is a heck of a difference between pumping out product to pay your bills and nerding out in your garage. I have a garage shop--I use my jack plane all the time there. Don't even bring one at work.

That said tho--it doesn't matter. People are interested. From business to tools, there is an audience for sure. Guess it's a matter of noticing what people in your life are interested about hearing and formatting it in such a way that an outside user can understand?

6/14/15       #11: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Jim Conklin  Member

Website: http://www.jhconklin.net

I've recently begun exploring all that great internet expert advice as a source to blog counter expert advice - from an actual practitioner. Grab the topic, grab the keywords - refute or expand the content.

I'll never outrank the HGTV authors (for example). But I can out-detail them.

Here's my first foray into that - find the refutation in the first body sentence.

Average Cost to Reupholster?

6/15/15       #12: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Tom Goodman  Member

To Mr. Conklin: Great article, very informative.

6/15/15       #13: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
David R Sochar Member

I can see that internet - referrals (?) can be helpful, but I would not equate them to word of mouth. It is a matter of degrees. To stand in a room with wonderful woodwork and have your customer tell his business partner, neighbor, accountant, who did the work, and how to get in touch is far more valuable than anything found online. Anything online is removed by one or two or more layers of complicity, distrust, suspicion and justified reticence.

I have found that most of our work takes a pretty strong emotional (personal?, financial?, not quite the right term) commitment from the customer to order from us. We do everything we can to reinforce that decision - that commitment - starting well before the sale is closed.

While this internet thing may serve as an introduction, I think it almost an insult to think it can replace what I and those in my shop do in person, or even over the phone. After all, it is not only the knowledge and experience with wood we are selling, it is also our ability to handle a job, a customer, a business and marshal them all into a cohesive, successful package. That just doesn't happen with online exchanges. Doesn't need to for most things.

6/15/15       #14: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Al Fortunato  Member

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

@Jim Conklin: nice blog and great info for the consumer. Too often consumers don't have a clue as to what it takes. There is too much generic and bad info out there. The problem is most people believe it all. Hope you are successful in turning some of it around.

6/17/15       #15: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Larry

This is much like the people that want a "ball park price." Or one of my favorites, usually from a design build firm, a "budget price." No Plans, No specs, No materials. It's just for the interior finish of an "average" 20 X 30 corporate board room! It might even be different if they then designed to the given price range.

6/18/15       #16: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

David, I think you are touching at the heart of the issue. Web stuff will never replace what it's like to actually meet you in person, see your work, buy it, and be happy with it.

The point where web helps is at the shopping around stage. This comes back to the millennial thing... Our generation is flooded with choices. From shampoo brands to career paths.

It's probably why we look like a bunch of flakey bastards... if I think about my dad--he had no money for post secondary education, no options, wanted to leave his filthy town, so did the only thing he could--joined the RCMP.

Now look at me--student loaned a whack of post secondary education, accessed job choice galore, find myself trying to choose between going for a masters or woodworking or corporate.

Times are different. When I shop for something, I don't go to the one or two stores--I can shop used, online, ma and pa shop, megastore... I find myself digging about companies and product. I will go to a place because I see that the people who run it are really into/care/are interesting.

Jim's blog for example. I see a smart person who is really into what he does. If I were shopping reupholstering I'd love to meet this guy in person and pick his brain.

People will look you up. If they see work you did they will ask who did it, and most likely look you up. Seeing a piece of you, as in your thinking self, are where it's at, IMO.

Not saying it's the only way, but I can't see it hurting.

6/18/15       #17: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Al Fortunato  Member

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

You are right Mel, the web is a tool for shopping around. Along those same lines , it gives consumers a false sense of security regarding quality of the products. It happens all too often to me that someone will come into my shop or call and expect to get the same item they saw on some company's web site that imports Chinese junk for the same price, and are shocked when they find out how much true custom costs. It usually ends up that they think I am gouging them. Today's consumer doesn't have a clue, BECAUSE of the internet, and are not smart enough to know the difference. The internet has dumbed down the American consumer.

6/18/15       #18: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

That, or is there more dumb people shopping? A tool is only as good as it's user. i know that because of Chinese made junk, more people are buying more stuff.

There was a time where people didn't have enough stuff. Now everyone has so much stuff that storage has become an industry

Maybe 50 years ago the idiot that wonders why quality costs something wouldn't have even been in the position to shop?

6/18/15       #19: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Al Fortunato  Member

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

Yea Mel, there are more dumb people shopping, just walk through WalMart sometime.

But on the other hand the internet has made consumers "experts". I recently had a couple come into my shop with a newel post that THEY were staining and finishing. Their problem was that one side wasn't the same color as the other side, I couldn't tell the difference. I tried explaining why. Wood was a living thing once and there are many things that make the same species look different, that's the nature of the stuff. It didn't phase them, the internet said......... So, that's what they wanted. I could see where it was going and when the asked how much for me to do it, I said it would be T&M with a cap, and when the cap was reached I was done, completed or not. They immediately tried to cut it in half. I wouldn't budge and they left, thankfully.

Modern day consumers just don't get it. Their whole life revolves around the internet and junk-in-the-box stores.

Again, the internet has created instant experts that are dumb.

6/18/15       #20: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

I hear ya. I have a neuroscience background, yet people, even ones close to me, still insist on telling me all about the human brain.

"Did you know we only use 10% of it?" Actually, that would be a good thing. Neurocircuitry relies on efficiencies. If you only used 10% of your brain to do things you would rock at everything. When a task requires most of your brain, chances are you are new to it/suck at it.

But anyway, I'm admittedly digressing. What I'm thinking is that if that's the market out there, do I want to profit from it or get angry at it?

LOL probably a bit of both :)

6/19/15       #21: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Al Fortunato  Member

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

More of the profit from it than the get mad about it (I do get frustrated with it all). Since it will be your business you can throw away the coal and keep the diamonds. That's how I work. I have repeat customers that I would do anything for because I know they will ask me to do it and pay good. They don't tell me how and are happy when I get done. Trust is what it is all about. The internet experts don't' know how to build a business relationship with trust in it. For the lumps of coal (i.e. internet experts) I complete the job (if I mistakenly took it) in a professional manner, and then never again.

No matter what the current politically correct way of running a business is, in the end it is your business and you decide what jobs to take and who to work for. You can always be too busy or too expensive.

6/19/15       #22: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

"No matter what the current politically correct way of running a business is, in the end it is your business and you decide what jobs to take and who to work for."

100% agreed. There is no "right way" to run a business. As much as I like nerding out on new ideas and ideology, at the end of the day, if it works for you, you like it, keep doing it.

The single reason I'm barking up this tree is that I a) like the internet b) like writing c) like testing new grounds.

Nothing "better" or "worse" about that--just a step onto some sort of path.

6/20/15       #23: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Al Fortunato  Member

Website: http://www.alfortunato.com

I too like the internet and have learned to sort out the good from the bad. There is a lot of bad out there. Saw a video once where some guy was showing how to solve the problems of cracks between boards of a hardwood floor. All wrong. I wonder how many people fell for his advice?

6/20/15       #24: Internet marketing, prosumerism and ...
Mel

Lol--willing to bet quite a few!

I've taken a habit of reading comments sections. Most often if something is bogus it does get pointed out by at least someone.

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