If you’re a local electrician or general contractor, how great would it be to have a feature and a link on, say, the Home Depot web site? That’s kinda what happened to guitar teacher John Tuggle. Gibson Guitars found his video guitar lessons you YouTube, and added him to their web site. How’s that for a nice authority link?
John is the subject of my Small is Beautiful column today on Search Engine Land; it’s the second of my “small business online marketing success” interviews. As you’ll read at SEL, John has all kinds of marketing tactics in play — a blog, a podcast, YouTube, Skype, and more. We had so much to talk about that I had to cut out a bunch of our Q&A to keep the SEL column at a manageable length.
With that in mind, I’ll share some of the outtakes of the interview here on SBS. You should probably read the SEL column first for context.
Outtakes: John Tuggle interview
Matt: Are you a solo operation, or do you have help with all this content development?
John: At this point in time, I create all the videos, podcasts, blog entries and DVDs. It would be nice to have some help, but I really don’t know how at the moment. The podcasts are easy. I think of a few topics and go. I’m pretty good at doing things in one take, so there are not a lot of edits in the podcasts.
The videos would be easier if I had a cameraman, but I never know when I’m going to be ready to do them. I plan them out and then when I feel good about it I go for it and everything is almost always one take. I think I get that from being a session and live guitarist. So, it’s kinda hard to have someone help me with the content, because I don’t think anyone can look at it like I do. I can’t tell someone to write some cool slide guitar licks to put in the DVD, because it’s gotta be my ideas. I guess editing I could hire out at some point, but I really like editing audio and video, it’s one of the things I really love to do.
Tell me about how Gibson Guitars found you, and what it means for your instructing business.
Gibson contacted me via YouTube. They have a YouTube channel and they had been watching my slide guitar videos and thought they were really informational and interesting. This has been a great compliment to me. Gibson makes my favorite guitars, the Gibson SG, and the Hummingbird. Those two guitars are like family to me.
Gibson has put a total of five of my lessons that will permanently stay on their lessons pages. They even gave me the Lesson of the Day a couple weeks ago, where they put me and my guitar hero, Duane Allman, on the same page! This was an emotional moment for me. About 15 years ago I would play along to the Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East double CD every day, trying to cop his infamous guitar licks. One of my first guitar teachers told me to go buy Live at the Fillmore East and learn the whole thing. I don’t think he thought I would take it literally.
For years I learned every song on that album and practiced along to it. I can literally say that that album changed my life, and now in the three months I’ve spent putting this whole thing together, I get put on the same page as Duane Allman. I don’t think I’ve made the wrong decision to go into this business. This time everything has been planned and executed, and I sincerely believe in everything I do.
One other thing being on Gibson has given me is credibility. There are many Guitar Lesson sites on the Internet, but not many of them can boast about being on Gibson.com, the world’s largest guitar manufacturer. Just that fact alone will give me the desire to keep pushing forward to grow this business little by little. One customer at a time.
You’ve only been at this a couple months, correct? (i.e., with the new site, the blog, videos, Skype, etc.) What lessons have you learned so far?
I started blogging and promoting January 1, 2008. The site came out March 1, 2008. So, yes, I am brand new and still learning the ropes, but I have learned very much in that time period.
For starters, I learned that setting goals and writing them down works. There is so much to do that if you don’t have a list of what you need to get done today, you won’t get anything done at all.
It’s also OK to put something out that is not 100% perfect. I don’t mean that people should put bad stuff out, but if the information is good, and there is a problem where maybe the video doesn’t look quite as good as you want it, or there were some minor problems that don’t really affect the information and how it is presented, you can still get it out there. The information is key.
I find my perfectionist side has to be put to rest in all this. There is simply no way to have everything 100% perfect. My new motto is get it out there and if there are problems, fix it. If customers have problems, work with them and they will understand. If the customer is treated with respect and the problem is fixed in a timely manner, you have made a customer for life.
Do you think you’ll continue using all of the online marketing avenues you’re trying now, or do you see some being more beneficial than others?
Well, I think YouTube has been the best marketing venture so far. I also really like Digg, Slideshare, and Scribd. Those sites bring me the most traffic so far. Some of the other social bookmarking sites have been good but the traffic they bring seems to be really fickle — stay for a few seconds and leave. Stumbleupon seems to be that way to me. Lots of traffic and no conversions.
I need some time to analyze which traffic is converting the most and that is just going to take some more research. Aren’t they inventing the 36 hour day soon?
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Do you have a similar small business online marketing success story? If you’re using SEO, PPC, social media, local search, etc., to grow your business succesfully, and think your story can help other small business owners learn, too, I want to hear about it! Please contact me with as many details as possible.