July 27, 2018

I started doing online marketing in 2005, in the kindergarten days of all things digital. It was a great time because you could still ask bloggers to do reviews of products with no problem at all. In fact, I marketed a book online in 2007, and 50 bloggers accommodated me by reviewing the book on their blog and then putting the review up on Amazon as well. The book hit 6 or 7 Amazon bestseller lists over the course of 3 months and sold out its print run.

Those were the easy days. Back then I could even write code. Not well, but I could write code.

There was a commercialization that crept across the web after 2007, and things were forever changed. With that, the "great experts" appeared on the horizon. I call them the hype-doctors because I think they are mostly hype, but they came with all their experience and knowledge and began to market themselves to anyone who was looking to make money on the web. They gave away white papers, but they sold e-books and web conferences and their services and they convinced the general public that you could pretty easily make a buck on the web. All you needed was the magic wand of marketing and everything would be all right.

I hate hype. I hate insincerity. And they were full of it.

Recently, a friend called me and asked me how she could make money selling a product on her blog. She had attended a seminar of some sort put on by a woman who had become very successful online and was teaching others how to replicate her success. My friend hadn't done her research about either a product or her audience and she wanted my assistance in putting this together quickly. I was at a loss.

I think that when I told her the truth about how extremely difficult it was going to be start making money on the web with little to invest and no research on either product or audience, the message wasn't well received. I may have become a naysayer at that point. I felt bad about that, but there is no magic wand in marketing. It's a little of this, a lot of that, planning, research, trial and error, throwing your seeds to wind, using what tools you have, spending what you can and then tweaking it all as you discover what you did wrong. No magic bullet. Just work. And more work. Sometimes it works very well. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth.

And that is the joy of marketing.

The rest of it--the hype--well, I hate that stuff. It's disingenuous and leads people astray. It does make a lot of money for those who sell it, though.