Unsolicited Advice


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So let me start off by saying that I don't think Marc needs any advice running the show here, I think he does a great job! This is also light-hearted/fun advice (mostly for selfish reasons)...

Marc, have you thought about maybe making the first week of a guild build free? Kind of like a drug dealer, the first hit could be free.

I only mention this because I was thinking about joining for the wall hanging cabinet build, but decided against it because I am missing some key tools and have some shop projects I want to complete first (namely a router table). However, I'm pretty sure that if I had seen the first video I would have been hooked and I would have had no choice but to join!

I really want to see the guild continue to flourish because we all win: Marc makes a better living and we get to enjoy quality content for years to come. I can't wait to join!

Remember, when it comes to marketing: WWDD (What Would a Drug-dealer Do)

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That's an interesting thought. We do actually make a video of each build, but that's typically at the end of the project when people get to see the what the full project looks like. And frankly, I try not to beat people over the head with all the Guild stuff. I mention it once in a while in a post or when a project starts. Problem is, I always have two sides of my brain working at the same time here. The business side, and the people side. The business side knows how much money is being left on the table. The people side knows how annoying it is to keep seeing things about a premium service I can't afford I'm just not interested in. So I try to find a balance and let the Guild grow organically. And thank goodness that plan is working for now. :)

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And frankly, I try not to beat people over the head with all the Guild stuff. [snip] The people side knows how annoying it is to keep seeing things about a premium service I can't afford I'm just not interested in.

Yea, I didn't consider that aspect and it's definitely a valid point. I suppose there's some way that you could make the "preview" content be more than a teaser though, to actually have enough value to stand on its own. Maybe it could be a design oriented segment where you take us through your though process on designing (size, proportions, features, etc) and planning (wood species, hardware, joinery, etc) for the project. I personally enjoyed that segment for the table you just made.

If you present it in a "I want to show you how to design and plan to build an X" instead of "we'll be building X on the guild site and you won't be, but you could have if you had only worked a little harder", then I think people would enjoy/appreciate the content. You could take a poll and see what the general feeling is, or do it once and see what the response is.

In general though, you're very engaged with the community (well duh, it's basically built around you!), so I think people would understand your intention isn't to tease, but instead to let some of the benefits from the guild site spill over and enhance the free content.

As for me, I need to quit armchair-business-running and get back to making my shop ready so I can join the guild for the next build!

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So let me start off by saying that I don't think Marc needs any advice running the show here, I think he does a great job! This is also light-hearted/fun advice (mostly for selfish reasons)...

Marc, have you thought about maybe making the first week of a guild build free? Kind of like a drug dealer, the first hit could be free.

I only mention this because I was thinking about joining for the wall hanging cabinet build, but decided against it because I am missing some key tools and have some shop projects I want to complete first (namely a router table). However, I'm pretty sure that if I had seen the first video I would have been hooked and I would have had no choice but to join!

I really want to see the guild continue to flourish because we all win: Marc makes a better living and we get to enjoy quality content for years to come. I can't wait to join!

Remember, when it comes to marketing: WWDD (What Would a Drug-dealer Do)

The first taste is always free.

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  • 4 months later...

How about something like this?

If people want a preview (meaning that they've come to the Guild sign up page; you're not pushing this in anyone's face)...

Then you take their credit card info and give them access to the first video of the most recent build for say $5. Then they can sign up and get access to all previous builds, and the entire current build, and all the extras, and the $5 goes towards their first year. Or they can decide not to join - no harm, no foul, no hard feelings.

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I think Marc does a fantastic job of balancing free stuff vs. Guild stuff. The reason I ended up in the Guild is because of all of the free stuff. I found The Wood Whisperer by chance when I did a Google search for cutting board plans. His video on cutting boards was incredible to me - and free! What a find! Since that time I have joined the Guild and recommended the site to many friends. I think it is great when someone online has success and doesn't end up going totally commercial - it has more credibility. Just an opinion.

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The free trial idea is definitely something we're capable of doing, but its going to take a little work on the back end. So maybe someday. But for now, the growth of the Guild continues to blow my mind so I don't feel the need to experiment with much in the way of conversion tools like that.

And thanks for the kind words there Ratman!

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The free trial idea is definitely something we're capable of doing, but its going to take a little work on the back end. So maybe someday. But for now, the growth of the Guild continues to blow my mind so I don't feel the need to experiment with much in the way of conversion tools like that.

I think there is a mutual benefit for Marc and the non guild members like myself. The guild is a little intimidating and some folks might feel like their skill level and tooling is not adequate and is keeping them from joining the guild. I like the idea of the the first guild video being free, the same video that is put out to guild members. This way non members get to see exactly what the guild is all about, it could include a one week membership that allows non member access to the guild site for a weekl. I would not worry too much about pushing the guild on people, that is the great thing about "free will" you can choose to watch video or not.

James

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I think Marc does a fantastic job of balancing free stuff vs. Guild stuff. The reason I ended up in the Guild is because of all of the free stuff. I found The Wood Whisperer by chance when I did a Google search for cutting board plans. His video on cutting boards was incredible to me - and free! What a find! Since that time I have joined the Guild and recommended the site to many friends. I think it is great when someone online has success and doesn't end up going totally commercial - it has more credibility. Just an opinion.

I also joined as I thought, still do, the freesite was a great source of information. Then I wanted to see what I was missing in the Guild site. Wow I'm really glad I joined and agree totally with Ratman.

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  • 9 months later...
The free trial idea is definitely something we're capable of doing, but its going to take a little work on the back end. So maybe someday. But for now, the growth of the Guild continues to blow my mind so I don't feel the need to experiment with much in the way of conversion tools like that. And thanks for the kind words there Ratman!

I think your business model is just fine, I think you should continue the way you are providing quality videos and free advice on the wood whisperer, if you give solid sound advice that allows people to develope the skills needed to produce projects they can be proad of a large portion of them will carry on to bigger and better projects. The wood whisperer site was imensly helpful when i first really got into woodworking as a hobby two years ago, at the time I was barely scaping by for work and spending $35 on a used table saw was, at the time a hard to justify purchase, now I am looking to buy a sawstop table saw and all of a sudden the guild seems like a pretty good deal : )

I think most people don't easily forget those who helped them when they needed it, I remember how helpful I found your free videos. I also appreciate how you never tried to sell me anything or push premium content, that at the time I couldn't afford. The reason i joined the guild today was because i wanted to support the site that had given me so much and never asked for anything and because of the way you answered the guild questions in the end of one of your videos. By answering the guild qustions at the end of your video you left me feeling that there was more i could be getting from your site while at the same time not leaving me with the feeling that i was missing out on content.

In the end I think you should let people join when they feel it is right for them whether it be skill level or for financial reasons.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I agree I think the balance of free to guild content is good. I joined with the money I got from my first paycheck. I think I mostly wanted to learn, and I figured what is the use of tools if I cant use them well? Anyway I like how you post some videos of guild stuff on the free site, it never felt like i was being coerced or teased into a guild membership. The free videos were informative fun and compelling, and I got the membership because I felt like it was going to be money well spent.

One thing that could help show people a little more of what the guild is that hasnt been mentioned yet would maybe on the “what is it” page basically allow people to have a summary of each video or a list of the videos for each build so that people would know what to expect, but not shove in their faces that they are missing out or anything.

Although Marc, I have one complaint, actually my girlfriends complaint. The show may be too addictive, and thorough, so she is not getting adequate attention when I have my computer with me when we are together. It is always “after this segment we can do something else” :P

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haha I apologize to your girlfriend. :)

As for the other suggestion, perhaps you haven't seen the Guild sales pages? http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/guild/

We are still working on the overall presentation, but each project has its own introduction video. I just need to work on a new general video explaining what the Guild is. The adirondack chair vid is a placeholder for now.

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  • 1 month later...

The most immedidate problem in my mind of offering a week of free access (or even a day) is that it would too easily be abused. Folks would simply join in order to quickly download all the old content (instead of buying the DVDs) and then quit. Perhaps even try to do it again later after a few more projects were posted. People are sleazy. Yeah, Marc could fix that. Limit downloads within the first week, ruin it all by adding DRM, etc ...

I say keep it the way it is. The service rocks.

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