Ruud Questions: Barry Welford

by Ruud Hein February 13th, 2009 

Barry Welford is one of those people I had a hard time placing at first. I came across him at Cre8asite Forums where we both moderate.

His distinguished looks gave him, to me, the air of someone who just yesterday plugged in a computer, the only reason for doing so being his attachment to his grandchildren whose photos he wishes to see online.

I soon realized he was right at his place though. Barry has not only a firm understanding of online technologies but through his willingness and capabilities to learn about new ones quickly and thoroughly he's also been able to stay at the forefront of online developments.

He has an uncanny ability to figure out what is worth his time and what isn't, following an efficient strategy somewhere between geek early-adopter and first influencer.

In short: I have a lot of respect for Barry and couldn't wait to learn more about his ideas.

Links in his answers are Barry's. Highlighting is mine.

You're an internet marketing consultant. That's quite different from SEO or SEM. Can you touch a bit on how what you do is different?

Internet marketing is what it says on the label. It deals with how you can market effectively using the Internet in order to achieve your goals.

The real question you might ask at this point in time is what exactly are SEO and SEM. They both include the notion of search engines. A search engine tries to deliver a relevant web page for you in answer to a query about particular keywords. Of course a search engine like Google has added on a number of frills around that, but that is the core principle.

What really counts is achieving the goals of your customer. That is usually concerned with profitable sales. SEO used to be about getting to be number one in the Google ranking for a given keyword. By now the better SEO's or SEM consultants have moved away from that and relate more to the customer's goals. In other words they are now doing Internet marketing.

There used to be more confusion about this, but with social media such as FaceBook and Twitter coming into play, it's quite clear that search engines are not the only way to market using the Internet. I really think it is time for people to realize that SEO and SEM deal with only part of the marketing opportunity on the Internet.

There's not a single small player among the 50 brands most mentioned in social media. In this deluge of brands, is there any possible place for smaller players?

That is a most intriguing list, and I am sure Google would be surprised to find it is not on the list. Many might also be surprised to see last.fm, which is not a household name. I believe last.fm may be the key to the answer here. Social media are about friends talking to friends about their likes and dislikes. They pass on news which they feel their friends might like to know about. That is the way social media work. If a group of friends on Facebook are all interested in a particular topic, then they will pass on news and information about products and services that are of special interest to them. These products and services may not appeal to the masses but they are of interest to that particular niche. If a small player is important to a certain niche, then the social media for that niche will work for them.

Couple of years ago blogs were about to change the world, level the playing field. On the whole, did they? And in that light; how do you see the current buzz on social networks such as MySpace, Facebook or Twitter?

I am a very strong supporter of blogs. I believe that blogs are highly visible in the search engines and to that extent they do level the playing field. They can be equally visible to their prospects who are doing searches. In a sense it is a one by one process. You try to make sure that when a prospect is looking for a supplier they find you via your blog because your blog posts address their needs.

The current buzz on social networks is exactly that. It is people talking to people. In general the major search engines do not aim to identify what is creating a buzz in the social networks. Twitter has been described as Microblogging and there is some truth in that. However blogs are usually monologues, whereas tweats on Twitter are parts of the to and fro chatter. It's really two very different worlds. You really need to use the specialized search engines for these social media to identify what the buzz is.

Someone talks with you and says that she wants to start a web site the same way we put money aside for an emergency fund; to grow emergency "what if…" money. She obviously won't be quitting her day job. What venue do you recommend her and how long should she expect to be working before she'll make some grocery money?

I have set out the thinking that such a person might do in a series of posts on the Cre8tive Flow Blog called Marketing Right Now. I do not believe she should start thinking that she wants to start a website. The first step is to decide who are your ideal customers and what you can do for them.

At that point I would recommend thinking of a unique brand name for your product or service and buying an appropriate domain. This can be hosted very economically and she should then set up a blog rather than a website.

It really depends on the nature of the product or service as to what money can be generated. Even if it is only money via Google Adsense advertising, with enough skill and energy, if she does the right things then she should be able to certainly make grocery money in about 6 months.

She started her web site. That's it; there's enthusiasm, dedication and willingness to pour into it but no money. You tell her she can get the best results in the shortest amount of time by…. doing what?

She should choose a username that is strongly identified with her brand and use that everywhere in developing an online presence in the various social media. Part of that involves working with whatever are appropriate social media which might include Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter.

She should also use news feeds in Google Reader or Bloglines to become aware of what people are talking about in her chosen market sector. If she can be an early commenter on interesting blog posts by others in her niche, then in a month or two other people in that sector will begin to know her. By networking in this way she can get others to comment on what she is doing and directing links to her blog posts and this can be a great help in generating search engine visibility.

Bio: Barry Welford is a writer, speaker and Internet Marketing expert working for SMM Internet Marketing Consultants in Langley, BC, Canada. He is a consultant and coach to businesses of all kinds. He has extensive international business experience with major multinational corporations, particularly in marketing.

Barry is well known in the Internet marketing world and is a moderator on the Cre8asite Forums. Many know his writings through three business blogs. BPWrap covers Internet Marketing (SEM, SEO, etc.) from a global perspective, The Other Bloke's Blog covers Business and Internet Marketing from a Canadian perspective and StayGoLinks provides news and views on the rapidly growing Mobile Web. He also authors Senior Money Memos.

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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2 Responses to “Ruud Questions: Barry Welford”

  1. Thanks for this opportunity, Ruud. I just felt the need given your intro to point out that I was working on main frame computers almost 50 years ago in Cambridge so I've been around computers a fair bit since then.

  2. Ruud Hein says:

    @Barry I think that's where your long term smarts come from. You've seen a fair share of empty buzzwords come and go in our industry, right?

    No, you're a sharp, up to date guy. Thanks for allowing me to pry your mind there!