What Is Viral Marketing? When you purchased an item or availed of a service of a certain establishment and are satisfied with what you got, don't you recommend that to a friend? And when you give your recommendation, doesn't your friend buy or avail of it as well? More often than not, we express our satisfaction with some product or service by telling our friends and relatives about our experience. Some of them will actually try the same product or service that we recommended. Essentially, we have just successfully advertised the product through word-of-mouth without the establishment having to spend a penny on it. That is the idea behind viral marketing. Viral marketing is an advertising strategy that entices people to pass on a marketing message to their relatives and friends. It is called as such because of its similarity to an epidemic that easily spreads out, with an exponential growth, once an individual gets "infected." How did this marketing phenomenon start? The concept of viral marketing, which is passing along a message, has been around for a long time now, even for centuries. There was just no specific name for it until 1997 when Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist, came up with the term "viral marketing" to describe Hotmail's marketing practice then. Hotmail's practice was to append an advertisement of itself on each message that is sent using their service. When a recipient gets interested and clicks on the ad, it will lead to Hotmail's website for him to signup. This will go on and on, and the growth is similar to an exponential curve. Types of Viral Marketing There are different ways to apply viral marketing strategy. - Pass-along. This is the most common type of viral marketing. Web sites that ask their users to tell-a-friend about their products and services is an example of pass-along messaging. However, there is a risk of the message being labeled as "spam" by email providers. Thus, it is important that the "from" and "subject" lines do not contain any word that may be tagged as spam. - Incentivised viral. This is a marketing technique used by companies in which users are offered rewards when they refer somebody to the company. This becomes more effective when the referred person needs to take action for the reward to be given. - Undercover. The most difficult viral to spot, undercover marketing sends a viral message that is disguised as just an unusual page or piece of news without obvious link citations. - Edgy gossip or buzz marketing. This type is most common in the entertainment world. A good example is the spread of different controversies, like getting married or divorced, involving the stars of a movie that is yet to be released. This is like a word-of-mouth advertising for the movie. Methods of Transmission Spreading the viral message can be done in different ways. - Email. This is the most common type, when people forwards messages such as inspirational messages, jokes, funny clips and pictures that advertises a certain product or service. - Instant Messaging. People who receive links from friends through instant messaging servers, like Yahoo or MSN, are more likely to check it out because of the notion of urgency of the sender. - Web sites. Most of the articles now published online have a link that says "Send to a friend." This is one way to make the article reach a good number of people by just posting it in one site. - Word of mouth. Of course, this is the traditional way of passing on a message to another person; and most of the time, the most reliable method too. Though there are several ways on how to do this kind of advertising, there are also barriers to it. One was already mentioned, which is the risk of the message being labeled as "spam." Since a lot of companies now are using this method and promoting their products through email, email providers proactively created some sort of filter in their system to separate potential spam emails from the more trusted ones. Other barriers can be the size and format of the viral message. If the content is a video clip, its reach may be limited because of size limitations of most of the email providers. Media format is also one thing to consider because not all recipients of the message may have the right application to open the file. But despite of these constraints, businesses are already getting into this style of marketing. Indeed, this technique helps in dramatically increasing revenues by reaching a huge number of the target market without having to spend a big chunk of money for advertisements. Viral marketing will definitely go a long way, especially in the World Wide Web. Why Choose Viral Marketing? The Internet has modernized man's way of living. It has also affected how we do certain things including business tasks. Marketing has gone a long way and it is not being revolutionized by the Internet. Internet viral marketing is a cost effective way to be able to reach a targeted audience and efficiently convey one's marketing message. Viral marketing outside the context of the Internet is usually connected with spreading a message through word-of-mouth. In the context of the Internet, the concept is the same, but the ways of doing it is diversified. Internet viral marketing is similar to a virus. Viruses are notorious for being easily spread. This is the concept behind Internet viral marketing. Viruses, if not contained, can strike an epidemic. Internet viral marketing behaves like viruses, it aims at spreading a marketing message to people through other people. The mere dynamism of the Internet makes it possible for viral marketing to do its job quite effectively. In the world of the Internet, viral marketing can be done in many ways. The whole structure of the Internet has been a tool which has been used by many to be able to make a statement or advertise a product. We say that using Internet viral marketing, or viral marketing in general is one of the best, if not the best way of marketing a certain product or service. This article tries to lay down the reasons for the claim above. Here are some reasons why viral marketing is the best way to market: -It's free! This is probably the best reason why viral marketing is the best way to market. There are many ways to market a product or a service. One can utilize some of the old-school techniques such as the use of print media (banners, posters, flyers) or audio-visual tools. There is not much argument about the effectiveness of these methods, given the assumption that they are done with careful preparation and planning. However, these things cost money, a lot of money. An actual example of the cost of these other marketing techniques can be seen in the pharmaceutical industry. Studies say that more than half of the cost that people are incurring for buying branded medicines is used to cover the expenses of marketing the products. This is a reality that reflects how marketing costs can take their toll on the product itself. Viral marketing is a free way of spreading a marketing message. One can argue that it is not totally free (as claimed). However, the only costs for Internet viral marketing are the costs associated with Internet connection and some minor tools for getting on track. One can also do an economic valuation of the time spent for viral marketing, but every other marketing technique consumes time. -Availability of techniques There are many ways of doing viral marketing, especially through the Internet. Literally, there are hundred different ways of spreading a marketing message through the web. The most popular way is to use affiliate programs. Affiliate programs gives incentives for webmasters to put up one's banner. The webmasters earn some profit whenever the banner is clicked by the visitors. One can also look into the option of giving away free stuff to other people to get their attention and be agents of the viral marketing endeavor. One can give away free web space, free articles, free newsletters, free software, free graphics, free screensavers, etc. This is the concept which was employed the developers of hotmail. If one can remember, hotmail became a craze when it was launched. People who signed up for the free email literally became marketing agents for hotmail. They carried the marketing message which was simply embedded into their email addresses. -Impact of viral marketing Viral marketing, if done properly, will not only convey a marketing message, it will let the message stick to people's minds. Creativeness comes into play when using viral marketing as a strategy. Everything starts with a bright idea and this idea is then put into operation with careful planning and execution. Viral marketing is the way to go in these modern times of marketing. It is a very cost effective and efficient way of conveying a marketing message towards a target audience. Viral Marketing Techniques Viral marketing can be defined as any technique or a set of techniques that encourages persons to pass on marketing messages to others, which will produce exponential increase in the awareness of people towards a particular brand, enhancing the visibility and effect of the marketing message. It involves dispensing free products or services along with the advertisement, and in return, the recipients will pass the product along to other users. This strategy is very attractive to businesses limited budget for marketing and advertising. It can deliver very desirable results with minimal cost in a short period of time. Of course, viral marketing also has its downside. There are times that messages related to viral marketing can resemble e-mail spam and this can create damage to the brand. Some viral marketing strategies are more functional than the others. To help advertisers decide as to which ones are to be considered, here the elements of an effective marketing strategy: 1. Products and services are given away free of charge 2. Makes use of existing communication networks to the maximum 3. Takes advantage of common human behaviors and motivations 4. Has a medium that enables users to transfer the message to other people 5. Can switch from small scale to a large one 6. Utilizes the resources of others to carry their message out Having these elements in mind, advertisers should carefully select the viral marketing technique that will work well for their business. Here are some popular examples: 1. Articles Articles can be written by an advertiser about the business, making certain the site and the advertiser's contact information will be included, and placed at the byline, and the message at the end of the article. Permission will be granted to people who wish to print the articles, with the condition that the name of the site and contact information will remain intact on the page. The advantage of the technique is that people who like the articles can email them to their contacts, or they can publish it on their own newsletters or web sites. The exposure is a sure thing since other people will get to read the article, and recognize the marketing message along with the creator. 2. E-books E-books can be shared to others for free, enclosed with an attractive ad that showcases the most in-demand product line of the business, of course, includes the links to the advertiser's web site and the email address. Recipients should be allowed to share the e-book to others. 3. Software Free software can be shared with others, be it a trial or a light version. Then include the ad complete with links to the site and contact information. 4. Discussion boards A discussion board can be created on an advertiser's web site featuring banner advertisements. 5. Web hosting An advertiser can offer free hosting services to small businesses in exchange for placement of banners that promotes the site of the advertiser. 6. Awards Awards can be created and given out to other web sites for any reason. For instance, the advertiser can create a good-looking button that the award recipient can attach to their web sites, and when others click on the button, it leads directly to the site of the advertiser. 7. Affiliate programs Affiliate programs create financial incentive for sites for linking with others. This can be created to encourage the placement of links that provides information to products and services. 8. Referral program A special referral program can be made for frequent visitors for bringing in new ones to the site. The person who refers a visitors can sign-up for the program and gets a commission from the advertiser. 9. Newsletters An advertiser can encourage users to forward a newsletter to friends. It is recommended to create a newsletter that is funny and attention-grabbing, and the links to the advertiser's site will be included in it. 10. E-cards Users can be permitted to post e-cards in the advertiser's web site. By choosing and utilizing the correct type of viral marketing strategy for their business, advertisers can expect to gain rapidly from their marketing efforts in a short period of time. Principles of Viral Marketing Viral marketing has definitely gained its popularity over the global network. More and more businesses are adopting this marketing strategy to gain their fair share in the market. The approach developed by Hotmail in increasing its number of subscribers is one classic example of viral marketing. How Hotmail Did It Hotmail is one of the first web-based email provider that gives away email addresses for free. Their marketing approach starts by giving free web-based email addresses and additional services. Each of the messages sent with a Hotmail address has an advertisement at the bottom that goes: "Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com." Then, of course, Hotmail subscribers will use the service to send messages to their friends and colleagues. These friends and colleagues will get the message and read it, and then clicks on the link at the bottom. They will also sign up and be a subscriber like what the sender did. Then these new subscribers will also email their own set of friends. The cycle goes on and on. This is why viral marketing has the power of reaching thousands, even millions, of people in such a short time and with little effort from the one who initiates it. Elements of Viral Marketing Dr. Ralph Wilson, an e-commerce consultant, named six elements or basic principles of viral marketing. A viral marketing technique need not have all of these, but the more principles it follows, the more powerful the strategy will be. 1. Give away products or services. This is the first and most basic principle of viral marketing. When a person hears the word "free," it elicits the interest in him and will avail of that free product or service, for sure. Having cheap or inexpensive products may also do the trick, but "free" will give much faster results. Patience is important in viral marketing. Giving away products for free may not earn profit today but if the business gets to develop customer base by giving something for free, it will soon generate income for them. 2. Easy transfer to others. The medium used to carry the marketing message to other people should relatively be easy. Viral marketing has been powerful over the internet because of the ease of communication the technology offers. Email, web sites, software downloads are just some examples that can be used in viral marketing. Also, it is better that the message be short for easy copying and transmission. Simple and short but straight to the point is best, just like Hotmail's advertisement at the bottom of each email sent out. 3. Scalability from small to very large. When viral marketing is used as a marketing style, it is best that the business is prepared for rapid growth. In cases of increasing web traffic thru viral advertising, the web owner should make sure that the host server is prepared enough to handle the expected increase in traffic within a short period of time. This should not be taken for granted; else, it will defeat the purpose of doing viral marketing. Once people notice that the site takes a long time to load, they will just leave and forget about it. That means an automatic loss of potential customers. 4. Exploit motivation and behaviors. A marketing strategy that builds on motivation and behaviors of people for its transmission is a definite plus. People love to be popular. This motivation will drive them to communicate to more and more people to be known. 5. Utilize existing networks. According to social scientists, an average person has about 8 to 12 members in their close network of family, friends and colleagues. Moreover, internet gives way to creating a bigger network circle. Learning to use these existing networks in viral marketing will yield better results. 6. Take advantage of other's resources. Viral marketing need not consume all your resources away. Using other web sites in posting your articles, for example, will get them read by a large number of people without the need of creating your own web page. It is best to learn these basic elements or principles of viral marketing first before actually doing it. Being to aggressive without doing your homework may just lead to damage instead of success. Try to adopt those that may be applicable to your product. Use all of the principles, if possible, for a more successful output. The Many Facets of Viral Marketing In the beginning, e-mail was the one way that viral marketing was started. Since that long ago day, viral marketing has gone from a marketing strategy to an art form and there are many ways to accomplish the objective of creating a successful viral marketing campaign. Seven of those ways are: 1. E-mail: It was first but it is still around and still used. It is, however, getting a little harder to use as more and more government restrictions are placed on it. Still: it does work. 2. Newsletters: This is an extension of e-mail but it a very effective tool. If you include enough timely and valuable information, a good newsletter can drive up the number of visits to your website. 3. Blogging: Providing the tools on your website to enable bloggers to interact with one another is a terrific way to get the message about your product of service out there and being talked about. Bloggers have their ears to the ground for new products and services. 4. Chat Rooms: A chat room on your website can and does encourage interaction among your customers and that can't be a bad thing. Also, you can use the chat room to schedule special events like having an expert available to answer questions on a given day at a given time. 5. Tell-a-friend Script: If you add this with a statement saying that e-mail addresses supplied will never be shared with third parties, you can increase your potential customer list greatly. 6. Video Clips: Including cool video clips on your website will keep the interest up and increase traffic. 7. Flash Games: Although they are a little costly to start, they are an extremely effective tool to get your viral marketing campaign going. Once they are launched, they require nothing more from you. B2B Marketers Do It, Too They use viral marketing by e-mail as a marketing tool... what did you think I meant? Viral marketing can work well for B2B providers, as long as the following is true: 1. The product or service has to add value for the sender, as well as, the receiver. 2. The offer has to be deliverable. You don't want to offer a product that you can't deliver if demand grows rapidly. 3. The offer has to be easily transferable to others. E-mail and Web pages provide the best medium to facilitate this. 4. The vest viral marketing campaigns use existing networks to move the message along. The basis of viral marketing has been around for a long time. The idea is that you incite your customers or referral sources to pass on something about your business to their network of colleagues and friends. Those that pass on your information get something in return. The something might be a gift or service related to your business. Using e-mail makes it incredibly easy to pass information on to a friend or colleague, especially if it involves something fun or free. With millions using the Internet worldwide, the potential for exponential growth is tremendous. The great things about viral marketing are that it is free and works virtually by itself. Once you make an offer and provide the facility for referrals, viral marketing spreads like: well: a virus: but the good kind. To implement viral marketing at your business; first, start with your customer base. Incite existing customers to refer new ones. Second, go to your referral sources. Service providers, your outside network and colleagues can be encouraged to provide referrals that lead to business. If your customers are stressed business owners, offer a reward that provides relaxation and leisure... like a weekend away. Why and How E-mail Viral Marketing Works What does a virus have to do with marketing? Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands and then to millions. Public health nurses offer sage advice at flu season: stay away from people who cough, wash your hands often, and don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Viruses only spread when they're easy to transmit. Viral e-mail marketing works great on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. Digital format make copying simple. From a marketing standpoint, you must simplify your marketing message so it can be transmitted easily and without degradation. Short is better. Remember the K.I.S.S. standard: .Keep it Simple Stupid. The shorter and easier to remember is always better than long and complicated. Clever viral marketing plans take advantage of common human motivations. The desire to be cool and greed drives people. So does the hunger to be popular, loved, and understood. The resulting urge to communicate produces millions of websites and billions of e-mail messages. Most people are social. Nerdy, basement-dwelling computer science grad students are the exception. Social scientists tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates. People on the Internet develop networks of relationships, too. They collect e-mail addresses and favorite website URLs. Affiliate programs exploit such networks, as do permission e-mail lists. Learn to place your message into existing communications between people, and you rapidly multiply its dispersion. If you can design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission, you have a winner. E-books and Affiliate Programs Some E-books combine very well with an affiliate program. When the affiliate receives some extra benefit from promoting the viral message, like being able to brand your E-book with his affiliate links, the affiliate makes a sale when a reader buys through a branded link. You benefit from increased traffic on your website because the affiliate is willing to promote the E-books for you. Be absolutely certain that your message includes a clear call to action. There shouldn't be any doubt whatsoever about what you intend recipients to do. Make sure that the instructions are perfectly clear so that recipients know HOW to act. The action that you require should be simple and obvious as well. Don't make things complicated or it will confuse the reader, such as by adding numerous links. Remember the K.I.S.S. principle Keep It Simple Stupid! The incentive should be clear to those you want to take an action. Readers will look at your offering for about seven seconds before they move on. If it takes longer than that for them to figure out what it is you want them to do, they will move on. Don't make your message vague or difficult to comprehend. If you do, chances are you will lose them. You must respect your readers enough to express your message clearly. Once you are sure you have an E-book that will be of value to an affiliate program, approach them with your idea and be able to show that it will be mutually beneficial. Viral Marketing using E-books is one of many techniques that all together have a cumulative effect in attracting customers and subscribers to your business and in attracting targeted visitors to your website. You will very soon find out that this is an excellent way of increasing sales, subscribers and referrals. Successful Forum Viral Marketing In order to be successful using forums to do viral marketing there are some things that are required. Do Your Homework: Prior to joining any forum, you must do some research. 1. Join relevant forums that are in some way related to the promotion's primary sales market. For example, someone involved with a health related product, many types of forums could apply: .everything from holistic medicine to stay-at-home moms. 2. Choose popular forums. There is no point in wasting your time and energy on forums that few members and few posts. Page raking and the amount of active members are two good ways to check for this. 3. Choose forums that allow sig tags. If it's possible read the rules before joining and pay attention to them. Your time is important, too. It is better to find out that a forum doesn't allow posts with sig tags before you go to the time and trouble of joining. After You Have Joined: OK: you have chosen two or three forums that meet your requirements: now what? 1. Keep your sig tag short and update it regularly. The ideal thing is to limit yourself to one link, preferably to your main website. 2. Never create posts that are nothing more than an advertisement. This all but a universal rule and only displays the marketers lack of experience if he does so. At best this kind of post will be deleted by the monitors: .at worst, it is grounds for being banned. 3. Work the room. Be an active member on the forum. Plan to spend at least an hour each day there and take the time to get to know the users. Take the time to introduce yourself with intelligent questions depending upon the forum's topic. As a marketer becomes a regular member, they will hopefully develop a good reputation and without saying a word about their promotion, those who are interested in their product will approach them. The Subservient Chicken Created for Miami Advertising Agency Crispin Porter and Bogusky by The Barbarian Group, the Subservient Chicken is a viral marketing promotion of Burger King's line of chicken sandwiches. The campaign is based on a web site that features a person in a chicken costume. The actor performs a wide range of actions based on a user's input, showing pre-recorded footage and appearing like an interactive webcam. The takes literally the advertising slogan "Get chicken just the way you like it". There are more than a hundred commands the chicken will respond to, including: - Michael Jackson dance moves such as moonwalk - River dance - The elephant - Lay an egg - Walk like an Egyptian - Yoga - Rage - Spank - Taco Bell - Fight When told to do anything the Subservient Chicken thinks is offensive, like perform sex acts or take off his mask, the chicken walks up to the camera and shakes a scolding chicken finger in disappointment. If he is told to east food from rival fast food places like McDonald's he approaches the camera and places his finger down his throat but when told to eat Burger King he has a more positive response. The chicken responds to the command "smoke crack" by smoking but when told to "smoke a bong" he waggles his finger scoldingly. Burger King's Chicken Fights campaign was recently introduced. The two cockfighting chicken characters are modeled off this chicken. There seems to be no end to the variations on the theme from Burger King. There has also been a lot of criticism leveled at the chain about the Subservient Chicken but for now it looks like Burger Kind is crying all the way to the bank. A successful viral campaign isn't always in good taste: maybe that's what makes them so tasty. What Works & What Doesn't in Viral Marketing Stop with the enforced e-mail forwards already! Trying to force or bribe people to forward your info to a friends or family in order to be rewarded or win looks skanky in today's ultra-permission-based world. Especially when you tell visitors nothing about their friend's or family's privacy in the space directly next to the e-mail form. A true viral campaign gets forwarded because consumers are compelled to do so by the glory of the content, not because you bribed them with points or something else. What absolutely will not work: Suggesting that e-mail recipients forward your message to their friends and family will not work. Adding a line at the bottom of your e-mail that reads "Please feel free to forward this message to a friend" is more likely to get it deleted than forwarded. What absolutely will work: Offering something worthy of sharing like a valuable discount, vital information or offering an incentive for sharing like additional entries into a sweepstakes or an added discount or premium service will work. Relevant or timely information, research, or studies that are included in your e-mail might encourage the recipients to share with their family and friends. Interactive content like a quiz or test, especially if it's fun, will inspire forwarding. Jokes and cartoons are almost always forwarded to everybody the recipient knows. Why? Because they are entertaining and entertainment is meant to be shared. A really cool multimedia experience is always going to achieve a lot of pass-along. Rich media is new and the novelty and tech factors alone are often enough to make the e-mail recipient eager to share it. Oops! Almost forgot one really important thing: .You can craft a brilliant e-mail following all the rules, but if a consumer visits your site and has an experience less that what was promised, you are going to achieve viral marketing, alright: the bad kind. So be certain that your product or service is ready and is as advertised. Viral Marketing Strategies That Will Not Fail To Let The Word Out Viral marketing provides astonishing results to almost any online business, products or services. It is a vast source of "one-way" links, sales leads and targeted traffic. Yet, still several marketers are either not familiar with these techniques or does not recognize their capabilities or not taking complete advantage of what they call the "viral factor" in their online marketing efforts. Viral marketing refers to the method of giving away or supplying something for free then permitting individuals to distribute or send out to others. Viral marketing's main purpose is to circulate your message or promotion to as various individuals as possible yet not spending any money for promotion or advertising. Generally, viral marketing strategies can be utilized by any online business or web site, be it small or big. Any online marketer can use such strategies provided is willing to devote some time to set certain steps into position. Viral marketing strategies done the right way will produce numerous benefits. Simply put, the basic concept of all viral marketing strategies is to include a freebie in your ad that people can use or giveaway. Benefits of viral marketing: * Increase link popularity * Increase or improves targeted traffic * Builds brand recognition * Generates targeted leads * Automates marketing efforts Types of viral marketing strategies: 1. Writing articles with resource box. Write articles pertaining to your service or products. Permit your recipients to reprint or copy your articles in their newsletter, website, e-zine, magazine or e-books. Your article must include or display your "resource box" as well as the option for reprints of articles at the bottom. When you have any affiliate program, then let your visitors add in an affiliate identification in your "resource box". 2. Using forums and discussion boards. When you are capable of setting up a bulletin board or a forum, then you actually have an efficient marketing tool. You can invite and permit online users to utilize your "discussion board" in their website since many internet users do not have these tools. Just remember to incorporate your banner at the board's uppermost portion. If you are not capable of setting up a bulletin board or a forum, then you can browse the internet for hosting services that allows you to put up one for free. 3. Providing free website. When you are making use of a "dedicated server", you are able to permit internet users to register for a web site for free on your own server. And because you gave away some space, you can oblige them or demand that they display your "banner ad" at the uppermost potion of their site. 4. Distributing free software. Permit your website visitors to distribute your software for free. Simply include your online business ad within the software. The internet provides numerous available tools that permit you to "brand" your software with messages and your contact information. You can pay for the rights and then you have your own software for free! Or, there are programs available that permits you to make your very own software. Just search the internet! 5. Offering free graphics, banners, templates, etc. If you have the skill and talent for web design, then you can be able to make graphics, templates, banners etc., upload all to your website and allow your visitors to pass on your fonts, graphics, templates, banners etc., for free, of course. Simply display your ad onto your designs or oblige recipients that they "link directly" to your site. Also be certain that you incorporate a "link back" to your website in your "copyright notice" and oblige your recipients to hold intact your "copyright notice". 6. Free redirect service. Permit your web visitors to impart your "free online service" to their visitors, web site, e-zine or newsletter subscribers. It can be a free e-mail, "search engine submissions", e-mail consulting, etc. Let your imagination soar and think of things that you can offer for free. Keep in mind that your marketing message that will be relayed or transmitted by any type of viral strategy should be brief and clear; likewise it should be simple for your visitor to obtain your free offer. In the same way each free item should carry a very simple course through which a recipient is able to inform his links or friends about it, in order that they also can obtain your free offer and simultaneously be able to view your message then supply you with their email address and names. Viral strategies are very powerful marketing tools; nonetheless, these are tools that require to be carefully used with substantial thought. When you are offering something for free, note that it needs to be of good quality, of value and targets the needs of your prospects. A Guide to Viral Marketing Techniques Viral marketing has garnered much attention today. The way it spreads a marketing message can be very effective. Internet viral marketing behaves like a virus, as the name implies. The marketing message has a tendency to be spread through virus-like activity. There are many well-known ways of creating a fuzz through Internet viral marketing. One can utilize site links, referral programs and other viral marketing techniques to be able to reach his target audience. A bright idea is the start of the viral marketing venture and this is made operational through the right techniques. This article tries to explain some of the other viral marketing techniques that are out there on the Internet. These are tools which can sometimes be overseen by the marketer because his vision of viral marketing is limited. Here are some of the techniques which can be effective in spreading a marketing message: Create an award Awards catch attention. When someone or something is given an award, it creates fuzz in the target audience. One can look into award creation to be able to attract people and be successful in spreading the marketing message. Distributing a free software Everybody loves freebies! If one is competent in creating software programs for different applications, he can actually use them to as marketing tools. One must make sure, though, that the software contains some kind of advertisement containing the marketing message. Providing free email account This is the technique that was employed by hotmail when it initially started. Every person who signed up for their free email account carried the marketing message. This simple idea turned hotmail into a craze and its owners into millionaires. Although doing the same thing today may not emulate the results which were generated by hotmail, but it still is an effective way of marketing. Providing free web space Again, freebies are loved by everyone. If one has the option to give free web space to enthusiasts, he can do so. This is a way of effectively marketing a message since people will be intrigued and enticed by the free web space offer. One can make a deal with the people who would want to get some free web space. One can demand to put up his logo, or the marketing mechanism in the website that will be developed by the one who availed the free web space. Creating a top 100 site Viral marketing can be seen as a game of getting hits from the Internet users. A "top 100" website is very popular for people who are researching for something or engaged in plain web surfing. They would like to get quick information about the best websites that are out there. The problem of too much information on the Internet can be used as an effective tool for viral marketing. Offering free e-cards The keyword here is, again- Free! Offering free graphics, banners, templates If one is involved in doing artworks, he can publicize his works and offer them to different people who might want to use them for their own purposes. Again, one must be creative in using these media in marketing. Offering free consultation If one is a specialist in a certain area, he can offer free services for a certain period of time or for a certain topic and use this opportunity to relay his marketing message. Offering specialized link directory People are always looking for specialized link directories. This is connected to the problem of having too much information in the Internet. Sometimes, people just want to get information faster. Free newsletter with bonuses Newsletters can directly contain the marketing message that one would want to convey, but of course, people should have some incentive to look at the newsletters. Free redirect service. Linking with other websites can be used as a viral marketing tool. There are many people who are doing this right now. Free screensavers In using screensavers, one should have a general theme so that people can identify with them. Free autoresponder service An autoresponder service is a program which automatically responds to emails that are sent to the responder. Free email course A free email course can be used by marketers since it is a good way to learn and get information about the basics of getting connected through the net. Writing articles and distributing them for reprint If one is a good writer, he can write articles and use them to be able to convey his message. The articles may not necessarily contain the message itself but arrangements should made by the marketer with the other party. Using forums and discussion boards (using signatures) If one has a discussion board in his website, he might as well let people use it for free. An advertisement at the top of the discussion board will definitely be an effective way to market the website. Start your own affiliate program (one of the best method to generating traffic and sales!) Affiliate programs give incentives to webmasters to put up your banners into their websites. This is one of the most popular viral marketing techniques today. Joint Ventures Special arrangements can be made with the webmasters so as to maximize the potentials of the banners and minimize the cost of putting them up. Provide free guestbook Providing a free guestbook will attract people because it is an avenue where they can share their ideas and these ideas will eventually be read by others. Provide free forum Forums are quite popular. People love to have conversations and forums are one of the main reasons why people visit a certain website. These are just some of the ways on how a marketer can spread his message through the Internet. There may be other ways of doing viral marketing and marketers are encouraged to look at these possibilities. Viral Marketing -- Why is it so Powerful? Viral marketing is the new marketing and advertising trend right now, especially in the online scene. It takes advantage of the internet's network effect to be able to reach a great number of people in such a short time. Benefits of Viral Marketing Viral marketing strategies offer several advantages to businesses. - Easy to execute. There are several methods of sending viral contents or messages and all of them are easy to do. Among those methods are sending email, instant messaging, and using web sites. Sending viral messages through these media will not take much effort and time. - Low-cost. As compared to sending direct mails, viral marketing proves to be cheaper and a more cost-effective method. With just a little investment on viral advertising, its power can reach even hundreds of thousands of people as compared to spending the same amount of money to traditional advertising methods. That is because the only money to spend is for sending the initial set of viral contents, then forwarding or replicating the message will not require additional costs anymore. - Good targeting. With viral marketing, there is a huge probability that the message will reach people that are interested in it. Since the concept of viral marketing is essentially passing on a message from a user to another person, most likely, the user will pass it to a person whom he knows will be interested in it. Thus, the percentage of wasted advertising, which is sending the message to the wrong market, will be reduced. - High and rapid response rate. Since viral marketing reaches a good number of the business' target market, there is also a big possibility to have a high turnover ratio. Even if the responses will not immediately convert into profits, there will still be huge traffic that the business will receive which is what most web owners want. These are indeed great benefits a business can get by adopting this marketing technique. But what really makes it more powerful than other marketing or advertising strategies? Let us take the example of Hotmail, where this viral marketing term really started. Hotmail was able to spread over the internet at an amazing rate. It is like an epidemic that quickly spreads out to others once there is a single person infected by the virus. That is why this technique was named as such. According to Hotmail's statistics, its number of subscribers grew from zero to twelve million users in just 18 months. Imagine that! What's more amazing is that the company spent just $50,000 on advertising to achieve that number of subscribers. Compare that to Juno which spent $20 million on traditional advertising during the same time period as Hotmail but got much less output. With those facts about Hotmail, viral marketing's main strength is indeed reaching a huge number of the target market at a considerably low cost. Hotmail did not even have marketing or advertising presence in most countries outside the United States but it got to be the major email service provider in these places like India and Sweden. What adds more power to viral marketing is the fact that the viral message passed on is like an endorsement from a friend or somebody who can be trusted. People have this way of thinking that "if my friend uses this product and is happy about it, what stops me from using it as well?" In Hotmail's case, when those people who received an email from their friends, relatives, or colleagues using Hotmail learned that it works and their friend is a user, they quickly signed up and became members as well. These people wanted to belong in this group where their friends are also in. This technique is also a matter of association or affiliation. Hotmail's case is not an isolated one, though. During the same time that Hotmail is gaining its popularity, so does ICQ. ICQ is like a buddy list and instant messenger, much like MSN and Yahoo Messenger now. ICQ also used the same technique and marketing campaign and it gained almost the same number of subscribers as Hotmail within the same time frame. Viral marketing is indeed one powerful tool to increase popularity of a product or service. However, just like any other things, proper use of the technique is necessary. A single mistake of misuse of it may mean permanent damage to the product or service being promoted. 6 Ideas for Viral Marketing Here are six ideas to help you start your viral marketing campaign: 1. Purchase the branding rights to a viral E-book. Allow people to give away your free E-book to their visitors. Then, their visitors will also give it away. This will just continue to spread your ad all over the Internet. 2. If you have the ability to set up a forum or other bulletin board, you really have a great tool. Allow people to use your online discussion board for their own website. Some people don't have one. Just include your banner ad at the top of the board. 3. Do you have a knack for web design? Create some templates, graphics, etc. and upload them to your site. Then, allow people to give away your free web design graphics, fonts, templates, etc. Just include your ad on them or require people to link directly to your web site. Make sure that you include a link back to your site in the copyright notice and require them to keep your copyright notice in tact. 4. Write an E-book. Allow people to place an advertisement in your free E-book if, in exchange, they give away the E-book to their web visitors or E-zine subscribers. 5. Write articles that pertain to your product or service. Allow people to reprint your articles on their website, in their E-zine, newsletter, magazine or E-books. Include your resource box and the option for article reprints at the bottom of each article. 6. You can easily find products on the Internet that will sell you a license allowing you to distribute the product free of charge to other people. Look for those products that provide "branding rights". That is where you can include your own name, website, and contact information. Simple techniques for Viral Marketing The internet boom has made mass communication achievable with just a click of a mouse. Together with this development, the internet has become a vast market that people are taking advantage of. One of the best strategies to get those customers to buy your product is through Viral Marketing. Most advertisers believe that this type of strategy is the most effective way in hauling in customers. In a can, Viral Marketing is really imitates a virus. It moves on its own, multiples sporadically, and only needs little effort for its dissemination. A classic example of this strategy is the Hotmail e-mail service. Hotmail offered a free e-mail account, and then on every message sent, a short message below every e-mail has a commanding line asking the receiver to sign up to Hotmail. It has grown like bushfire in the internet, and today Hotmail has become one of the leading providers of free e-mail service. They are also getting advertisements by the bucket. However, viral marketing nowadays are more complicated, and it takes some of strategy and a lot of creativity to make one. Here are some simple techniques that you can use to stay ahead of the game. Create a 'fun page' on your website If you are a serious marketer, and you don't have enough funding for a major advertisement, this is one of the best techniques that you can use. Make a little sub-page on your site with funny or interesting videos or images, or even create a mini-game that is focused on your product. Be sure to include a 'tell a friend' link to ensure that your 'fun page' gets disseminated. Creativity is the key. If your 'fun' page is cool enough, you can be sure that this page will sell like pancakes, and you'll get more hits for your website. Think Weird Creating a 'weird gossip' is another strategy in viral marketing. A sample of this is the subservient chicken website that Burger King created. The page contained a 'video camera' with a command line below it. On the site, just type what you want the subservient chicken to do, and voila, the chicken will do it. People were born curious. If you have some idea in your head, do it. The subservient chicken became so popular that people forwarded the links to their friends, and all Burger King had to do was to maintain the site. Although the downside on this strategy is that you might create 'bad' publicity. But as the old saying goes, a bad publicity is still publicity. Spam it! An E-mail can also be used in this type of technique. Create a message with funny pictures or a video, and then send it to your friends. If it is funny enough, you can be sure that this little message will reach a lot of people. Remember that the images or video should contain at least a brand logo or a website address. The best thing that you can do here is to include your 'name' on the video itself, like for example a guy wearing a t-shirt with your brand name on it, or a bunch of funny pictures dealing with your products. Most forwarded e-mails are viral marketing strategies. In this technique, you can always be sure that your e-mails are going to be opened, because they came from the friends of the e-mail owner. Give Some Free is always good. Most people search the internet with 'free' as one of their keywords. Free stuff can boost your website's popularity. There are a lot of cheap items out there that you can give out for free. Creating a downloadable Flash game is one of the most used today. But of course, you should make it interesting, and make the people think that without this free stuff on their desktop, they're missing out a lot. If you're serious about your business, be sure to apply these techniques in your ad campaign. This may not answer all of your promotional needs, but this will surely help you a lot in creating a buzz. It's cheap, it's easy and it's effective. Remember, think like a virus! Different Elements of Your Viral e-Book Once you have all the resources and information to put in your e-book, it is now time to think how your e-book should look like. As much as possible, you would want to keep your e-book at a professional level. This would earn your e-book more credibility which can mean increase in returns. The first thing that you have to think about is how your e-book cover should look like. Although you are just making an online document, meaning no papers and printing necessary, electronic books still need a good cover to attract more readers. Having an inclination to arts and graphic design will surely help in doing the layout of your e-book cover. If you are the type of person who is not really into designing, you can always hire someone to do it for you. You can just give him the details as to how you want the cover to look like and let him use his imagination to create a perfect e-book cover. The color, main and secondary fonts should be considered in making an eye-catching cover. Here are some general tips to follow when creating the cover of your e-book: - Use color combinations among these colors: red, blue, black and white. - If you think of using yellow, you may use it sparingly with black because it has the strongest contrast. - A strong font is best to use for the main title of the book -- it may be Arial Black for short titles and Impact for longer ones. - Limit the number of fonts used in the cover to three. Having a lot of different fonts will make it look like a mess. - The cover should contain the following: a. main title b. a good subtitle or teaser phrase c. author's name d. URL where the e-book can be found It is best to keep the cover as simple as possible. A small image and a short title will do just fine. Putting a lot of information in the cover may make it unreadable and unpleasant to the eyes. Now that you have a good cover for your viral e-book, let us talk about what should be inside it. First of all, your e-book should show first basic information about the book itself such as its copyright information and author's name with a short biography. Then, to serve as a guide to the contents of your e-book, you should have a table of contents. This should, more or less, outline the different parts of the book so when a reader wants to go back to a certain portion of the book, he can just jump to the page indicated in the table of contents. No matter what your purpose is in creating your viral e-book, try to keep it short but contains enough information as much as possible. You would not want to bore your readers reading hundreds of pages on your e-book. This is more applicable when you are creating a viral e-book that serves as a preview of the full-version. This e-book should only contain enough relevant information to gain the reader's curiosity and make them purchase the full-version. The layout of the pages on your e-book should be the same all throughout. The pages should be also made as simple as possible yet with a touch of professionalism. Other than the actual contents and links that you will put on your e-book, you should also add a page that discusses in detail the instructions on how an affiliate can customize the links on your e-book. You would not want to be bothered by a phone call in the middle of the night just to be asked how to rebrand your e-book. Clear and full instructions on rebranding and customization should be included in the contents of your e-book. This way, the readers can just sign up as your affiliate, then once they have their own affiliate identification or code, they can do their own customization with the instructions you have placed in your e-book. When you are creating a viral e-book, simplicity is the key. Having a simple yet interesting and informative e-book will increase its chance of being spread to more and more people over the internet. Adding the good rewards and incentives that an affiliate can get in distributing your e-book will definitely give you huge returns in no time. Viral techniques to increase web traffic The term viral marketing seems to have a negative connotation due to its identification with the word virus, something that no one would want to catch ever. However, viral marketing is one of the most efficient tools made available to internet email marketers nowadays. Viral marketing is an internet marketing tool which is made in such a way as to be capable of being passed on from on e person to another. It is called viral due to its ability to be passed on to a growing number of internet users through the email. Through viral marketing, an email message can reach thousands if not millions of people. To the layman, viral marketing can be equated with network marketing or word of mouth. The use of viral marketing can be likened to a small fire but which catches everybody's attention due to smoke which reaches every nook and cranny. To be successful, viral marketing makes use of a product that has a universal appeal and which is freely and readily available to most people. Aside from easy transmission, the product must also be easily accessible to the receivers, for it to become viral. Marketers who avail of viral marketing usually offer free products like e-book or e-videos which cater to the needs and interests of their target market. The product is usually passed on by the original target to his own set of friends or clients and the clients do the same until the product has reached millions of email users. Viral techniques can be as easy as sending free email courses to target clients. Wanting their friends to benefit from the said service, the original targets pass on the free email courses until it creates a multiplier effect. Using email signatures can also increase traffic to your website. This is easily done by adding your website address and some comments below your name. Offering free screensavers to computer users is also one way of creating an email database since those who want to download free screensavers are required to register using their email addresses. Once the client has logged in his email address, the internet marketer can do his job by sending emails redirecting the recipients to his website. Setting up an affiliate program is also a viral marketing technique. This can be accomplished by allowing users to refer customers to your site and giving them a certain percentage for each sale. Affiliate programs can be easily searched in the internet as these sites are submitted to affiliate directories. Other website owners hire people to participate in discussion boards and forum and require them to use signatures that are linked to their websites. This method is quite effective because people from all walks of life participate in the forums and most often, they are redirected to the signature link. However, make sure you use forums that are related to your website to keep the interest of the forum posters. To achieve the desired goals, you respond to questions affixing your signature link. One of the best viral techniques is the use of articles to increase website traffic. Under this technique, numerous articles of different topics are created and are redistributed for reprint in other websites but with a resource box which serves as a link to the original website. This way, the website owner who lacks articles and materials for his website benefits from the free articles. On the other hand, the article owner gets to advertise his website link for free in exchange for the article. Among the most popular articles are do it yourself articles, how to articles, self employment articles and usually articles about beauty, health and money. People will always be drawn towards anything that will give them the most benefit at little cost. Having a good website is a start but it is not the be-all and end-all of internet marketing. A website owner has to take advantage of email marketing tools to generate more traffic to his website. These marketing tools like the viral technique, does not cost much but requires creativity and persistence. Another method to increase website traffic is to exchange links with other website owners who have products that are different from your website. By agreeing to interlink your websites, both websites benefit from the exposure they will get from their own clients. No matter what viral technique you have chosen for your email marketing, you have to make sure that you generate enough interest to increase traffic to your website. "Folksonomies" -- a New Viral Marketing Tool A new consumer phenomenon is called "tagging" or "folksonomies" (short for folks and taxonomy). Tagging is powerful because consumers are creating an organizational structure for online content. Folksonomies not only enable people to file away content under tags, but, even better, share it with others by filing it under a global taxonomy that they created. Here's how tagging works. Using sites such as del.icio.us -- a bookmark sharing site -- and Flickr -- a photo sharing site -- consumers are collaborating on categorizing online content under certain keywords, or tags. For instance, an individual can post photographs of their iPod on Flickr and file it under the tag "iPod." These images are now not only visible under the individual user's iPod tag but also under the community iPod tag that displays all images consumers are generating and filing under the keyword. Right now Flickr has more than 3,500 photos that are labeled "iPod." Tagging is catching on because it is a natural complement to search. Type the word "blogs" into Google and it can't tell if you are searching for information about how to launch a blog, how to read blogs, or just what. Large and small sites alike are already getting on to the folksonomy train. They are rolling out tag-like structures to help users more easily locate content that's relevant to them. Although tags are far from perfect, marketers should, nevertheless, be using them to keep a finger on the pulse of the American public. Start subscribing to RSS feeds to monitor how consumers are tagging information related to your product, service, company or space. These are living focus groups that are available for free, 24/7. Folksonomy sites can be also be carefully used to unleash viral marketing campaigns -- with a caveat. Marketers should be transparent in who they are, why they are posting the link/photos and avoid spamming the services. Viral Marketing Technique Contagion Everyone who's involved in marketing or advertising must master the art of reaching their target consumers in a fast, effective, easy and even cheapest way. There are lots of ways and means on how to touch prospective clients and the television is proven to be the most effective yet expensive way. Nevertheless, with the fast boom of technology, the Internet is now also considered as one of the easiest and comfortable avenue to disseminate product awareness. The word "free", perhaps, is the most compelling word in a marketer's vocabulary and this is basically what Viral Marketing is all about. From the term itself, which is coined from the word "Virus", viral marketing is a marketing technique which is similar to the spread of an epidemic that can reach others through word of mouth to increase brand consciousness. Viral Marketing has been popular because it's been proven to be more efficient than the others. It makes advertising easier, and it can obtain a high and rapid response rate at a relative low-cost. Remember, if one likes a particular service, a person will tell it to his friend then his friend will pass it to her friend, therefore, a word or mouth marketing starts. However, one main weakness of this technique is that messages, which are usually send through e-mails may look like spam mails, thus creating a bad impression on the brand and without knowing it, the said promotional messages will just be sent to the e-mail's trash bin. One typical example of viral marketing is the Hotmail.com wherein the tactic goes like this. They give away free e-mail service, then every message they sent has a simple tag at the bottom which says "Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com". On the other hand, those who receives the e-mail will be able to see the note below the message and it will encourage them to get their own e-mail address with hotmail since it is just for free then the list goes on, the propelling of message to reach a number of recipients hence increasing social networks. There are several types of viral messages and methods of transmission. One type is the pass-along message which encourages users to pass the message to others. One example of this is chain letters which prompts readers at the end of the message to forward the e-mail to a number of users believing that they'll get good luck if forwarded and bad luck if done otherwise. Another form would be the infamous anonymous matching on ecrush.com which requires a user to create a list of friends or acquaintances they secretly crush on. A match only happens if the object of their affection responds by logging in and does the same. Most of these services allow users to email anonymous messages notifying them that a concealed person fancies them. Hopeful romantics become hooked up on this marketing as they aim to find out if their crush also feels the same for them. Also, the process of dissemination can occur in various ways. It may be through word of web where it converts web-based information into an e-mail. One classic example is the article from CNN.com wherein there's a link that encourages someone to send a particular article to a friend. Another sample would be the word of email, which is considered to be the most common type. It's just the simple forwarding and exchanging of e-mails such as jokes and the like. But perhaps, the fastest mode of transmission would be through instant messaging such as Yahoo messenger, ICQ, Google and MSN since this is the most popular among young people and a link referred by a friend is more likely safe than by some unknown sender through e-mails. Sometimes marketing companies even offer rewards or special offers for referring customers, encouraging the use of the aforementioned methods. Freebies and discounts can be music to the ear of everyone especially if acquiring them is just as easy as counting from one to three. This is probably one of the main reasons why marketers prefer this technique among others. For a viral marketing technique to be successful, an effortless transfer of marketing message to others is important and this works famously on the internet because on the spot transmission is a lot undemanding and less costly. Also, from a marketing point of view, it is essential that the message to be transferred is simple to avoid degradation. In short, the principle of KISS must be followed. Keep it short and simple so that marketing message would not trigger the recipient to aim their mouse pointer to the "report as spam" button. How Do Name Squeeze Pages Generate Profit? There are many ways on how to earn money from the Internet. Many people have claimed of having gained certain millions from using the Internet as a marketing tool. Emails, ezines, affiliate programs, these are just a few of the most popular ways of earning through the Internet. Marketing itself has made a dramatic shift towards the use of the virtual world of the Internet to be able to reach a certain market to promote a certain product or service. Most Internet marketers are familiar with what are called "squeeze pages." However, many of them fail to use them effectively to be able to translate the marketing effort into hard sales and eventually to realized profits. For those people who have no idea what squeeze pages are, they are simply websites which asks people to act upon a certain "opt-in" towards another action. When people come across these web pages, they will be asked if they would want to continue with a certain business endeavor or not. Some name squeeze pages only have two options for the readers, one is -- "opt-in" and the other one is "leave." Other squeeze pages, people are actually provided with options one how to continue to explore the business opportunity, although these types of squeeze pages are argued by some as not belonging to the category of squeeze pages. Rational Why bother putting up a website just to ask people whether they would like to continue with the transaction or not? The underlying principle behind squeeze pages is that marketers who promote their products or services through the Internet know that people will not avail their products and services during their first encounter with them. Squeeze pages are actually intended to be able to gather the email addresses of people who are interested in a certain product or service and to get their consent as well. With these components are at the disposal of the marketer, he can then proceed with providing these people who are interested with sales proposals and other marketing materials. Components An effective squeeze page squeezes a lot of valuable information in a single web page while getting the attention of the reader. It usually contains a lot of enticing bullet points about the next steps after one clicks on the "proceed" button. Curiosity will kill the cat and will get people to click on the "proceed" button as well. Email Usage The most efficient and effective squeeze pages employ emails to be able to garner traffic. These emails contain interesting facts which are hard to resist. These emails are propagated by the agents of the product or service. The basic concept is that the email will lay down the foundations for selling the product, just like a "pre-sale" effort. Leaks Many squeeze pages experience what one might call as leakage because visitors know hot to get around the squeeze page without clicking the proceed button. To prevent this from happening, one should have the knowledge on how to encrypt the folllow-on page's URL. Another way of preventing this leakage is to use email as a tool to do what is promised on the name squeeze page. This is to ensure that people would provide their email addresses to be able to avail what is behind that mysterious door that is the squeeze page Personalize A good squeeze page should be seen as a personalized website which is specifically targeting the person who is accessing it. There are softwares out there that are available in the markets which will help a marketer to be able to generate a squeeze page which will look personalized. Some squeeze pages actually contain information about a person's life such as what kind of pet or television he owns, and other such things. Name squeeze pages are also known as lead capture pages. They are generally popular in multi-level marketing and has been proven by many people to generate down lines and eventually profits. They are particularly effective because they generate a list of interested people who become prospects and clients. Effective squeeze pages provide information that is valuable to those who will be reading it. They are also relatively easy to build because one just need some technique to get people to visit the site. Some may be doubtful of the capabilities of name squeeze pages in terms of marketing a business and generating profit. However, the basic foundations of these pages make sense and the effectiveness of these pages are proven by millions of Internet marketers. Need More Subscribers and Huge Traffic? Produce Viral e-Books Viral marketing, when done correctly, can produce very good results. These results can be in the form of site traffic, subscribers to your mailing list, or increased sales of your products and services. One of the best ways to do viral marketing strategy is the production of viral e-books. This is not just an ordinary e-book. These are books that can be freely passed on by someone to another person with added benefits to both parties. How does it work with viral e-books? Aside from having an interesting topic and a wealth of information, the main purpose of the viral e-book is containing links to the site and products the author is promoting. These links can be modified from one person to another by changing the affiliate ID in the link. These links still lead to the web site of the author but credit will also be given to the affiliate which is like a commission. The author can allow rebranding rights of the e-book to its readers. That means the reader, who would also want to earn from the e-book by becoming an affiliate, can replace the links with his own affiliate code to earn commissions. With this incentive or reward, he will surely pass the book to more and more people. That's where viral explosion begins. To be able to maximize the purpose of producing the viral e-book, have an explosion of traffic and have huge number of subscribers, we must have the following factors in place. - Wide distribution. There are several ways on how you can offer your e-book. You can offer it for free or for a minimal amount. If you allow rebranding, you can also charge for it and have options such as full customization or just part customization rights. Resale rights can also be offered for a certain fee. However, if a certain amount is tagged to your e-book, its spread will be limited as not everyone is willing to spend money on these e-books. So to have the widest possible reach of your e-book, it is best to offer it for free and the rebranding rights, maybe the part customization, for free as well. Anyways, what we are after is for the e-book to reach a huge number of potential customers and get the most commission from the attached affiliate links. - Quality affiliate links. To be able to maximize your e-book and give its full potential, it should have good and legitimate affiliate links. But how do you make the readers really click on those links? If your e-book bombards the readers with lots of affiliate links instead of quality information, they will probably stop reading your book, deletes it and forgets about it. Likewise, if the links lead to affiliate products which are totally not related to the e-book's theme, you will just lose a good number of potential customers. The best way to include the affiliate links in your e-book is to make them appear as natural as the other statements in your book. Try to weave them into the content in such a way that it is not obvious to the eyes of your readers. For example, when you want to readers to learn more about a certain topic discussed on your e-book, you can then mention the link as a source of additional information. - Maximum return for all parties involved. Since you want wide distribution of your e-book, you will offer it for free as well as the rebranding rights. But what will you benefit from it? Of course, just the fact that people will sign up as an affiliate for them to be able to rebrand the links with their own codes means that you will gain more and more subscribers to your list. Having more and more people who would want to rebrand the links means that more chances of your e-book getting distributed to others because of the incentives these people would gain. And the more people who will get to receive your e-book, the more traffic you will get on your site. It wouldn't really matter now if you are not earning from the rebranding rights. What is more important is the increased traffic and subscribers you will get which will eventually lead to more and more sales and success for your business. Other Viral techniques In the world of internet marketing, the more people who go to a website theoretically have an upper hand in getting more revenue, recognition, and maybe even a lot of friends. Traditionally, this would take a lot of marketing capital to pull off. Large companies with a huge warchest would have the advantage, overwhelming the market by sheer repetition. What's important was that the message came across. With more people connecting online, however, the rules changed dramatically. Thinking out of the box, some companies started taking advantage of people who manage to "infect" other people by word of mouth. If the next people like the message, then they pass it on to "infect" others as well. Growth of the "virus" becomes exponential, infecting others with the message in epidemic proportions, until everyone has caught the bug. Something we commonly do when we see a good movie, tasted good food, and read a good book has finally been adopted by the advertising industry for its own purposes. What's important now is that the message comes across enough to be passed on. This marketing technique is called viral marketing. Done right, viral marketing, multiplies the marketing budget of a company many times more. It's method is offbeat and, as mentioned above, takes advantage of our irresistible urge to tell somebody about a good experience. The usual viral methods involve the use of these forms of electronic media: 1. Online. Recipients are encouraged to fill a form on the company website with more contact information. The web page may usually contain useful information such as a feature article or news. Included at the bottom would be a link to send these items to a friend. 2. Email. One of the most common mediums available for information dissemination. One click of the mouse sends the same message to a batch of contacts. 3. Instant Messenger. Currently the fastest spreaders of information available. This even can manage to bypass the "junk mail" stigma of emails as the messages sent by IM are sent from a recognized source, which instantly appears on the recipient's screen prompting a more immediate response. With a little out-of-the-box imagination, a great number of ideas can be generated in these methods to encourage users to patronize a site or a product online, all at an economical but highly effective standpoint. Some suggestions would include: 1. Free newsletters with incentives. Users who seek information can get it in an electronic newsletter format. Depending on solicitations from affiliate companies or from the host company itself, a slew of promotions or incentives to participate can be inserted along with the articles in the newsletter, encouraging users to pass it along, etc. 2. Free web space. For the price of personal information and valid referrals, users can receive some web real estate to set up shop. Condition can be made with the host company that it can place adverts in strategic areas of the site or encourage the user to create a site in line with host's policy for free. 3. Free autoresponder service. This encourages users to use the company's service for the ease it will give the user to follow up on their referrals. The system it uses automatically generates a set of responses to the user's message cascades, leaving the user with less work to do distributing his messages. The host can benefits by piggybacking some adverts or promotions along with the responded or sent messages. 4. Free email accounts. The most used and abused viral technique that still works. Users are invited by friends, family and acquaintances to join the email service as its feature ensure better service, storage, or retrieval than other companies in the market. In exchange the host company may collect data on its users and can create profiles for future marketing purposes, depending on the responses of its campaigns. 5. Free e-cards. Some companies offer customizable cards that appeal to the user and encourages them to send as many e-cards as possible to friends and other contacts. Attached to the e-card are encouragements for other users to join the network to be able to send the attractive e-cards to others as well or to provide referrals in exchange for points. 6. Shareware. Users are offered shareware in exchange for referrals or feedback. Depending on the software's usefulness to the user, it popularity can skyrocket to the most number of people at the most economical means possible. Evidence also shows that some people who use the software send feedback that can pave the way for a quicker release of a newer version of the software, decreasing debugging time because of added manpower. Using Videos in Viral Marketing More and more advertisers are adopting video as broadband continues to rise and ad-serving technologies become more sophisticated. Online video advertising is really taking off. Users' attention can be captured and ads stand out from the crowd in an increasingly ad-cluttered online environment. It is true that video formats cost five to ten times more to serve than standard banners and they involve a lot more production and implementation work but they may well be worth all of that if they achieve greater response rates. Where to use online video if wishing to maximize its effect, is what advertisers must carefully consider. Video to be used on the Internet should be information and communication focused while video to be used on television should be focused on entertainment. Like everything else, there are good ways and bad ways to use video advertising. Right now most marketers are incorporating their audio-visual content into existing embedded ad formats like banners or over-content formats like pop-ups. Though this could reach a potentially large audience, viewers are likely to be less captivated and more annoyed by these disruptive and distracting placements. Cached or streaming video on a specific destination site offers the best chance of interesting consumers in brand messages, but it is not likely to reach a large audience unless it generates a viral outcome. Whatever you come up with, don't forget to make it easy to open and distribute. File size is important, as is the media format. If your viral video has been created for a particular type of software that not many people use, how will you get people to spread it like wildfire? Also, if you've made a video the impact will be better if you send the clip as an attachment rather than stream it. It's cheaper and, if you're not hosting it, it's more viral, too. Getting a "Buzz" On Viral marketing has matured a bit over the years. There seems to have been a shift to the web not just being seen by agencies and brands as another tick box for any ad campaign, which is significant enough, but now being the medium where a campaign is launched to create a buzz before it hits TV and print. Even before a movie is released which used to be seen as the pre-launch buzz-generation activity. Big business "gets it". Buzz works! It can work for small and start-up businesses, as well. The planning stage of a viral campaign will set out objectives and develop the viral theme for a buzz. There are three core components to any viral campaign and businesses of any size can use them. They are: 1. The creative material: the viral agent that embodies the message you want to spread in a digital format (image, video, text, etc). The trick is to put together material that people will be eager to share with their family and friends and people are much more eager to share "advertainment" and advertisement. 2. Seeding: distributing and placing the agent online in places that provide the greatest potential spread. Direct viral material downloads or links on specialist viral third-party web sites in order to create awareness and spread before users get to the campaign destination site. 3. Tracking: Measuring the spread of the campaign to provide accountability and prove success. It is absolutely vital that you know what is or is not working. The only way to get that information is to track the results of your seeding. Lessons have been learned, trends have been developed and there is definitely some science involved in creating a buzz successfully. The buzz technique is here to stay and, if used strategically, it can make a difference to the success of your e-business. Other Viral Marketing Techniques Since its inception, viral marketing technique has long been accepted as one of the best ways in generating good, "targeted" traffic to your site. In fact, it has already established its footing in the business since the "hotmail epidemic" and the "dancing baby" was first disseminated. With the success of these two primary concepts of viral marketing, most businesses have already devised some ways on how to make the most out of viral marketing. For this reason, various viral marketing techniques have been created that can be used to economically distribute their promotions and marketing messages to possible customers in a global perspective. Today, there are as many forms of viral marketing techniques as there are consumers getting access to the Internet, all of them seeking for information worthy of sharing to their friends. Hence, for those who are not yet quite familiar with the other viral marketing techniques that can be twice as good and effective as the usual forms of viral marketing techniques, here is a list of the additional techniques that you can make use of: 1. Providing free email account Getting a free item is an absolute gift. This is because it is not everyday that people get to hook up in the Internet and get something for free, right? But the idea of getting a free email account is doubly fun. For so many years now, emails have always proven its viability to both the consumers and the businesses. In viral marketing, emails have been one of the most feasible and effective tools especially to those who are still new in the business, those who have small business, or any ventures that cannot simply afford to have big budgets for their promotions or marketing. The concept behind the wonders of providing free email account is that people, who would like to be connected in today's "wired world," would find the free email account as an absolute solution to their Internet needs. This is especially true for those who cannot afford the high costs of email providers nowadays. 2. Create an award In viral marketing, generating awards or loyalty points are very effective in creating a marketing epidemic. The concept behind this viral marketing technique is that by creating an award to a "webmaster," which have painstakingly established and created good graphic designs on your site, you are actually creating a name for your business. This happens when the receiver of the award would try to brag about his achievements and tell other people about the idea. In turn, you get to attract other people to visit your website. Not only that, with the backlinks that you have provided on their awards that are being displayed on their own sites, you can effortlessly lure other people to try what you have to offer on your website. Besides, creating awards could only mean one thing -- optimum exposure in the Internet. The more exposed your website is, the more people will get to know that your business exist. 3. Distributing a free software One of the best techniques in generating good traffic through viral marketing is by means of distributing free software. By offering a free tryout form of your software to your potential customers, you can easily instigate the probability of having them avail of the full version. Besides, allowing your potential customers to try your software would compel them to share the "good news" to others if ever they are satisfied with your product. Hence, you get to market your product without employing expensive means. 4. Free screensavers Screensavers are one of the most popular tools in the Internet nowadays. Thos who wanted to customize the look of their PC's would love to use different styles of screensavers. Therefore, by simply giving away free screensavers, you can automatically generate traffic to your site without the hassle of marketing your website the hard way. Once an individual is satisfied with your screensaver, he will most likely share it with his friends, and the rest as they say is history. The good thing about it is that you get to reach hundred of people with just one click. Just keep in mind to place your business' name and the web address in the screensaver that you will make. You can have them easily made available in your own website or distribute them to some screensaver sites or software sites that would gladly display your craft. 5. Write articles and distribute them for reprint With all the other viral techniques, this is probably the most common and at the same time, the most neglected technique. It has been accepted that articles are one of the most viable means of generating sales and traffic in the Internet. The only problem with some Internet marketers is that they fail to do the process correctly. What they do not realize is that making an article is useless if the resource box is not present. If you wish to make your site known and you would like others to reprint your articles, it is extremely important to always include your resource box. Otherwise, people who will read the articles will tend to miss the fact that you are an expert on the field and that you could offer more information by merely visiting your website. All of these things are boiled down to the fact that viral marketing, in whatever technique you use, can absolutely generate more traffic to your site, boost your sales, and promote your website without the hassle of doing really hard work. It is the best that you can do for your site and for yourself, so grab one technique and start the ball rolling.
Other Viral Techniques The Internet is a vibrant community, and everyday, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and innovators are finding ways and means in order to maximize its potential. Others opt to create their own tools; others innovate on previous methods. The same is true for marketing strategies of many companies (both start-up and established) online -- some employ tried and tested methods, like multi-level marketing; others create their own methods, at times from the simplest of inspirations. Viral marketing however, is a newer phenomenon than multi-level marketing. Viral marketing was said to have began after a California-based animator decided to send the graphic animation of the popular 'dancing baby' to a couple of friends. After a considerably short amount of time, the animated file was found appended in various emails being passed around online. What is viral marketing anyway? Viral marketing in its very nature, aims to utilize existent social networks existent in the Internet. This is done by sending out product samplers (as in e-books, documents, graphics, etc.) and, in effect, having the people using the Internet to pass around to people they know what they would deem to be interesting or useful content. This means that viral techniques are very much reliant on a word-of-mouth mechanism. By giving away for free a sampler of a product or service, primary recipients can forward and refer the company to the people they know; what this necessarily does is that it allows any party to market over a huge market with less effort, and provides the benefit of being personally referred by one person to his or her friend, magnifying whatever credibility that the company wishes to build. But what other viral techniques can be considered when deciding to employ viral marketing? There are a huge number of variations of the technique, but listed below are some of the more effective methods: 1. Create an award. Many start-up websites, even as small as just interest-based websites, devised endowing awards on artists, songwriters, or web masters upon the quality of the work they do on the website. The website drafts a picture or graphics to represent a particular award, then send out emails to various entities informing them of their being evaluated for it. Recipients of the award may then be asked to post the award on his or her website, including a link to the company's website. Creating this sort of award creates a semblance of expertise on the part of the company, making even the more skeptical potential customers find a level of acceptance for the product or service. Moreover, the website of the award recipient will end up being another one of the many portals and access points through which the company's website can be accessed from. More importantly, the company will inevitably receive the positive perception it wants to solicit from a word-of-mouth method when it distinguishes truly remarkable and award-worthy entries; this way, the company will inevitably be associated to the idea of excellence and quality. 2. Providing an email account is one of the most logically appealing choice when it comes to viral techniques. By providing an email address, the company is in fact building a level of patronage from users, and creating the need for continuous access to the website. What makes it suitable for viral marketing? Aside from simply marketing content, providing an email address is an almost automatic advertisement for the company. Every time each person writes his or her Internet address, it would be inevitable to necessarily advertise the company by the domain name appended to the email address (i.e. email@example.com) 3. Offering a free newsletter with bonuses is actually another effective viral technique. This not only gets the attention of people, but even makes people who would have otherwise been indifferent to the marketing strategy consider it because of the compensation in the form of the promise of the bonus. Aside from this attractive feature, newsletters achieve something that other techniques do not -- to directly communicate to potential customers while forwarding useful information to them. Newsletters also afford the company the enjoyment of having people read more attractively written and information packed pitch of their product or service. 4. Offering free e-cards is a service-based viral technique, wherein the website provides various designs and styles of e-cards that users can make use of when sending e-cards to their friends and loved ones. Within the service, users have the ability to modify and personalize the messages in the e-cards, send it to their intended recipients, and receive a copy of the e-card as well to confirm its content. What is unique about offering free e-cards is that it is a viable service that is popular among Internet users. One user can make use of the service, and when the e-card arrives to the recipient, he or she receives it with an option of sending the sender an e-card as well. In effect the recipient ends up using the service as well in order to return the regards sent by the sender; otherwise, he or she may recommend the service to others. 5. Using forums and discussion boards by advertising in a user's signature when posting is a tool that has been used aggressively by many Internet users, particularly those simply plugging a personal venture. Basically, a picture or video or sound file that serves to advertise a product or service, alongside a link back to the company's website is added to a single user's signature. This is effective because of the sheer longevity of the post in the discussion board or forum. Moreover, people of similar interests religiously visit these online avenues for discussion, assuring the regularity of traffic around this viral technique. At the end of the day, a viral marketing technique is called such because of its characteristic spreading through the Internet population the way an epidemic or a wildfire does. By maximizing these low-cost strategies, one may end up minimizing costs and maximizing profits with increased traffic and positive perception. Viral Marketing Goes Mobile Mobile devices, mobile phones and PDA's are one of the last great frontiers of viral advertisement opportunities. However, we have become experts at filtering everything, our air and water, our e-mail and pop-ups, and our mobile devices as well. We are good at filtering. The very idea of unwanted advertising streaming through our Blackberries is abhorrent. Mobile devices are the ultimate opt-in medium and, therefore, a great way for marketers to connect with users: if that's what the users want. "WANT" is the key word here. How should marketers approach the medium? There are three main ways to achieve this. They are: 1. Offer exclusive content. Anyone can offer ring tones. It's the unique content, such as exclusive mobile images of new brand concepts, that drives interest and calls them out in other media like e-mail campaigns, newsletters, websites, etc. So a wireless campaign is most effective when it offers exclusive content for wireless devices. 2. Make it useful and timely. Think about what would be handy and helpful to have on a mobile device. Last year, for example, Food Network enabled Sprint customers to download shopping lists for their Thanksgiving dinners. There was a lot of "Sprint-envy" going around among non-sprint customers. 3. Clearly define objectives. Usually, one of two business objectives drives successful mobile experiences: incremental revenue of brand intimacy. On the intimacy factor, a text message usually takes priority over almost any other form of communication. Why? Because we haven't yet been saturated with mobile spam, and this is what causes us to prioritize wireless messaging over voice. Mobile marketing has been out there for a while but we marketers have new territory to explore. Video offers fantastic opportunities for engagement. Consumers already bypass their filters for highly useful or entertaining content and will do so for rich exclusive, compelling content. Using Forums in Viral Marketing Recently, forum marketing has been touted as a kind of free, organic, viral marketing. But because so many marketers go into forums purely with the intention of marketing products or services, their actions and attitude unwittingly causes the exact opposite of the desired effect. Forums aren't marketplaces but when used as such, the marketers' actions become offensive and will only inspire the wrath of fellow members and marketers, not to mention moderators who can ban them from the site with the click of their mouse. In order to be effective, this kind of marketing carries a certain degree of commitment, responsibility and respect. The first requirement is to take a personal interest in the main topic of the forum. Not only does that mean visiting it regularly, but it also means developing a good relationship with both other members and the moderators, as well as taking an active interest in helping others. Of course, it also means abiding by and all rules that exist. By doing this, one can develop a reputation and, since it is human nature to work with a trusted colleague, business will naturally develop from this. This type of marketing has already suffered some abuse and because of this, many forums have recently developed stringent rules designed to protect their members from abusive or overly-aggressive marketing tactics. One forum grants .sig files only after a member has created one hundred valid posts and another has disallowed ads in sig files altogether. Marketers must respect that the purpose of a forum is to be a platform to exchange ideas on a given topic. It is not there to advertise products and services. By focusing on the topic and posting questions and answers, a marketer's reputation will grow and this creates the potential for sales naturally. Your E-book is your Viral Salesman E-books are the future and the future is now. The printed word on paper and bound into books used to be the only way information was given and received. They were great, you could take them with you and put them on shelves and they do still exist and will continue to for the foreseeable future but the time of the E-book has arrived. The marketing E-book is a slightly different animal from just an E-book. Marketing E-books contain text, images, links to web pages and navigation controls. The marketing E-book has become a very important part of marketing on the Internet. With a marketing E-book you can present your story in an effective way and include links to your web sales pages. Your E-book can become your best salesman. First, your E-book needs to be interesting and informative. It always has links back to your web site and to your sales page. Next, be sure that you have a prominent section telling readers that they are free to give your E-book away. Let them know that they can post it on their site as a free download, that they can use it as a bonus, and that they can bundle it with other products. This is the way to create viral marketing for your products or services. Remember those links back to your site contained in the E-book? Last but certainly not least before you send your E-book out to the world, double check spelling and grammar and be sure that you have tested every link to verify that it goes where it is supposed to go. Obvious errors will reflect badly on you and will not be of much value to you, it could even by damaging. Post your E-book to some of the E-book directories. Many let you post it for free, or will let you post a link on their site to your E-book. How to Make Your Viral e-Book Known? So you already have your e-book. You are amazed at the wonderful work you have done. But it is still just in your possession. You will not benefit from it unless you let others know that you have that e-book. You have to make the online world know about your e-book and start making it viral. So how do you exactly make your e-book known to as much people as possible? How do you advertise or promote your e-book? Promoting Your Viral e-Book The main purpose of producing a viral e-book is to generate sales and increase your revenue within just a short period of time. For that to happen, your e-book should have maximum exposure as possible. But if you try to do it all on your own, that would definitely take all of your time and is not efficient. The first thing you should do is clearly define your target market. Having a well defined set of audiences will make your promoting time more effective and efficient. The next thing that you should do is create a newsletter or an ezine that will reach your target market. Start to build a list of subscribers for a newsletter that might interest your potential customers. This newsletter can have articles, tips, news and other updates related to your e-book and your product. This ezine should prominently feature your e-book. It will be useless to create an ezine if your site and products are not promoted in there. But promoting your e-book or products within the ezine should be done in a not-so-obvious manner. Once you have thought of what to put in your newsletter, it is now time to gather subscribers for your ezine. One way to get a subscriber is to include a page in your web site where people can subscribe. Having a small pop-under box where people can place their email addresses to subscribe also works, no matter how terribly annoying it may be. Have your newsletter listed on group subscription forms and on the inside pages of high traffic Web sites. Signing up for a free publisher account on sites such as Idea Marketers will also be beneficial because you can add your newsletter in their directory. Other than newsletters or ezines, you also have to actively promote your e-book on your own web site. A good way to have it seen in your site is to devote a single page, or even more, just for the e-book. Listing in together with all your other products will do no good. Make it easy for your visitors to find information about your e-book anywhere in your site. Feature the e-book on all the pages, if possible, or add a navigation bar just for it. Featuring some good excerpts from the e-book will also arouse their curiosity and most likely lead them to get your e-book. As the author of the book, include information about yourself as well. The more people know about you, the more they will build their trust on you. Having a picture also adds more credibility to your personality. There are also a lot of e-book directories out there. Make sure that your e-book gets listed in every single e-book directory there is to gain more exposure. Joining forums that talk about the same topic as your e-book is also one way of actively promoting it. You can post threads or reply to other people's concerns that may be related to what your e-book is offering. If you want to maximize exposure, apply one of the principles of viral marketing. Give your viral e-book for free to people who might find it useful and interesting. You just need to gather a list of potential customers then send the e-book to them for free. Just make sure that it will not appear like a spam message; else, it will just damage your e-book and may not reach its full potential that you would desire. These are just a few examples on how you can promote your e-book. There are a lot more possibilities that you can explore. You just have to be imaginative and creative. But these methods can be sufficient enough for you to start promoting your viral e-book. Using E-Mail to Achieve Objectives Viral marketing is an integral part of a campaign strategy that is used to achieve objectives. It is not the objective itself. If the main objective of an e-mail campaign is branding, in order to achieve greater branding success exposure you craft your message or offer in a way that it encourages pass-along. Producing a message with a quality offer or an incentive for pass-along is what viral marketing is all about. Just suggesting that e-mail recipients forward your message to their friends and relatives is not viral marketing. A message at the bottom of your e-mail that reads "Feel free to forward this message to a friend" is nowhere close to viral marketing at its best. On the other hand, if something worthy of sharing, such as a valuable discount, vital information, additional entries into a sweepstakes, an added discount or premium service, a joke/cartoon, or a hilarious video, is included in the e-mail, viral marketing happens naturally and quite successfully. The bottom line is that your message must be perceived as having value. Relevant or timely information, research, or studies are all good examples of content that might be viewed as potential pass-along material. Interactive content like a quiz or text can inspire forwarding, especially if it is fun. Personality tests, fitness quizzes, or compatibility questionnaires are all things that have been passed on by many people many times. Why? Because they are entertaining and entertainment has value. A multimedia experience is always going to achieve some pass-along. Someone is always touting the benefits. It is a bit more of a time and money investment but the messages have a great appeal and rich media has the advantage of being new. The tech factor alone is often enough for the message to be perceived as valuable. How to Write Your e-Book's Content? When producing a viral e-book, you have to consider a lot of things before going into the nitty gritty details of writing it. Your viral e-book is your key to succeed in the online market. It should help you increase your site traffic, client base, and sales, of course; else, it defeats the purpose of having a viral e-book. First thing that you have to plan is what your viral e-book should be about. The topic should be interesting and it must be related to the product or service you are promoting. Once this is done, the next step is choosing a good title for your e-book. People look at the title or the label of a product first before anything else. Thus, the title that you decide for your viral e-book should grab the attention of as many people as possible. Once you have accomplished these things, it is now time to think about what to write on your e-book. What should it contain for it to be really interesting to the readers? What to Include on Your e-Book When you are in the process of choosing the topic for your e-book, you should also have considered the amount of information you can write about that topic. So it is better to choose one that you are very knowledgeable of, something that you know by heart, especially if you will be the one writing. The content of your viral e-book is like its heart; without the content, your e-book will not survive. And even if it does have content but not that informative and useful to anybody, it will eventually fade out since there will be less and less people who would want to pass it on. If you are writing your e-book yourself, it is best to write about something that you really know very well. When you write the contents yourself, it will add to the credibility of the information included and will have a personal touch. You will be able to control the information included since you know what you want included and not. If you think that you cannot do it yourself because you are busy with other things or just do not know how to write effectively, you can always hire a ghostwriter. Ghostwrites are those who write articles and other materials in behalf of another person. The reason for such a name is because the identity of the real writer remains anonymous. Hiring a ghostwriter is beneficial since most of these people do have a wide experience in writing things about different topics. With this, you can focus on more important things while being assured that your e-book will have its quality content because another person is doing it for you. Before choosing the right writer for you, you can ask them for their portfolio or any sample work. This way, you will have an idea about how they write and if it would fit your requirements. Also, make sure that the writer clearly understands the topics to be written. If you have certain instructions that should be followed, make sure it is clear and well understood by the writer. Having a bad relationship with the writer that you chose will only ruin your viral e-books success. Your viral e-book should be interesting and informative at the same time. Depending on the topic, you can add research studies, current statistics, interviews with professionals or expert on that field, results of surveys you may have conducted, and a lot more. With these things, your e-book will not look boring and monotonous to the readers. Writing the contents of your e-book can be the most enjoyable part in producing this viral marketing technique. This is where you can show your creativity and imagination. Even if you are not the one writing the contents and articles, you still have some control over the write-ups by providing the instructions on what you want to include in the article and not. You indeed have several options on how to add contents on your e-book. Whatever option you choose, you should make sure that the content of your e-book will serve its purpose. It should be able to make you reach your goal of producing the e-book. How to Tempt Customers to Read Your e-Book Just By Its Title So you have already decided about the topic that you think many people would be interested in. You already formulated an outline of the things that you need to put in your e-book to make it more interesting to read. But how do you make these people actually get your e-book and read it? When people try to find books to read, the first thing they look at is the title. In fact, this is applicable to any product, not only to books. The title or the label is always the first thing seen by consumers. Most of the time these people buy the product based on its title or label. Some take time to scan the contents and other things they can find out about the product. But, still, the major factor that affects the decision to purchase the item is the title or label. Try to test yourself. Let us say you are trying to look for ways to generate income over the internet. Then you came across a couple of e-books that talk about that same topic that you want to learn about, but with different titles. The title of the first e-book is "Different Ways to Generate Money Over the Internet." The second one is called "How Did I Make $30,000 In Just One Month of Using the Internet?" With those titles given, which one do you think would you choose and read first? Both of them will definitely give you the information you need but the e-book that is more tempting to read is the second one, isn't it? From the title of the first e-book, it promises to show you the different ways to earn money over the internet. It may give you the techniques, the programs or job offers over the internet that would give you sufficient income. And, yes, you can definitely learn from it and try those ways that the book suggests. However, the second e-book seems more appealing and definitely grabs your attention. It is because the title implies that the person who wrote the book indeed earned a huge sum of money over the internet and is willing to share it to other people. This e-book seems more credible as the techniques or programs that the book may suggest are tried and tested. The second title, indeed, is catchier than the first as it promises to give you what you want and what you are looking for. At the end of the day, what you really want is something that will show you a tested way on earning a big sum of money, not just tell you the different things that you can try but there is no guarantee. Both titles may be used on a single e-book but using the second one will be more successful than the first. People are most likely to buy something that would be beneficial to them. People buy benefits, not just features. To succeed in marketing, you must keep that principle in mind: that people buy benefits. So every time you think of a title to your e-book, sales letter or advertisement, always consider that fact. The title you choose should: - catch the attention of your potential customers - clearly show what your e-book offers and what it is about - arouse curiosity and interest of potential customers - most of all, promise benefits to these customers To be able to do that, try to place yourself in your potential customer's shoe. What do you think would tempt you in a title? Check out other e-books that cover the same topic, if there are, and pick one that you think has the best title. Then analyze why you think it is the best among others. You can also ask a friend who may be interested in the subject you are going to write what title would interest him. Another tip is to keep your title as short as possible. Short titles, but straight to the point, are the best. Adding a sub-title will also help in providing much more benefits to your potential customers. Always remember that the title of your e-book is critical to its success. An e-book with a title that catches the attention and promises benefits to your potential customers will prove to be easier to sell and distribute than those with just a simple, descriptive title. So start thinking of the title that will promise the most benefits to your target market. Again, people don't just buy features, they buy benefits! Using File Sharing in Viral Marketing There are probably ten million people online, looking for downloads at any given time. Of course, a lot of them could be looking for pornography or free software but still, reaching a minimum on a million people on any given day does offer some rather intriguing possibilities. People like using file services to download music for two simple reasons, they're free, and there is an incredible selection. The fact is Pandora's Box has been opened. In Napster's wake, other quasi-legal services quickly emerged: a lot of them. Even if they are closed, others will succeed them. Major record companies would like to thing otherwise but they are never going to stop file sharing. Net users are file sharers: plain and simple. Long before the Internet came into being, people made cassette tapes of their favorite music for their friends: cd burners are so much easier and faster. So how can you use this to help your viral marketing campaign along? Think about this. Once someone downloads your MP3 files and those files are available on that listener's hard drive, viral marketing begins. After two users start sharing your files, suddenly, your music is on the hard drive of a second computer: then a third: and on and on. When users are searching and they find your music on a lot of different computers, they are more likely to download the files. It's just a matter of time before you'll find your files showing up in more and more places. No matter what genre music you play: Rock and Roll, Country, Tejano, Mozart sonatas, Heavy Metal, of Brazilian Jazz, there is an audience for it somewhere. In this new paradigm, you aren't hawking a product, you are offering free music via a medium that lets you be directly connected with your audience. How to Make Sure Your Viral e-Book will be Read One of viral marketing's principles is to give away something for free. This will definitely catch the attention of a huge number of people. Free items are always the best when trying to introduce something new in the market. Most businesses and individuals who adopt this marketing strategy have found different ways of giving away information and other things for free. One of those methods is coming up with an e-book and sending it to potential customers. There are a lot of e-books available for download over the internet. Almost all of these can be obtained for free. But even so, it is not assured that everyone will read it, much less get it. So how do you make your own e-book popular and be read by the most number of people possible? Tips on Producing an Effective Viral e-Book Your main goal in producing a viral e-book is to get your product or service known to a huge number of people or to get huge traffic to your web site. But you don't have to do all the work on your own. The way viral e-books work is to initially inform a sufficient number of your target market. Then these first-hand customers will send your e-book to their own set of friends and colleagues, so will these second-generation customers. The cycle goes on and on. But the question is how will you make your first-generation customers send your viral e-book to other people? What should entice them in distributing it? First of all, you have to make sure that your e-book is of good quality. It should look professional and not like compilation of links all around the pages. It should not have the first impression of being an advertisement; else others will think of it as a form of spam messaging. Your e-book should also contain valuable and interesting information about something that concerns the vast majority of your target population. It should be reader friendly in such a way that the format is consistent and the words are not so technical. Remember, you do not have control as to who will get a hold of your e-book and read it. Of course, it's not all about being interesting and informative. The most important thing that will make people distribute your e-book is when they know that they will also earn from it. It should be a mutual relationship. You should be getting something from it, as well as those who will help you pass it on to others. This is what internet marketers usually call affiliations. Your first- generation customers are your first set of affiliates. They should be able to edit the links included in the e-book to add their affiliate ID or change the link to their affiliate URL. When the links are clicked, they will lead to your site but there is also credit given to the affiliate who sent the e-book. With this, your site will get the traffic it needs; at the same time, your customers or affiliates also get something from it. That will give them the motivation to read through your e-book then distribute it to other people. One thing to make sure though when you allow for rebranding or modifying the link is still maintain some sort of control over it. As the author of the e-book, you have the control as to what should be changed or modified. Make sure that the modification is just the affiliate ID or affiliate URL and not a totally different link which you may not have control of. Finally, you have to keep in touch with your customers. The key to having a huge client base and maintaining it is to have a good relationship with your customers. Following them up will not harm you. It is actually a good thing to do to make sure that they read your e-book and pass it on to others. You may also want to provide a few add-ons to your e-book. Additional information, updates and related articles to the topic you discussed on your e-book will continue to encourage them to spread the word about your book. So before going into the nitty gritty details of writing the e-book itself, make sure that you have done these things, or at least gave a thought about them. Writing your e-book without defining your goal and coming up with a plan may be a waste of time and effort on your part since it may not be able to serve its purpose. Start Viral Marketing Campaigns Using E-books Viral Marketing sounds like something bad but it is actually something very good. It is, also, a powerful way to generate traffic to your website. Think about how a virus spreads from on person to another. One person gets sick and just by sneezing they can give the virus to many more people: those people get sick and share their germs with everyone they know and the next thing anybody knows is that there is an epidemic. That is the very concept of viral marketing. The idea is to get everyone to spread your marketing message around because they want to. Now let's look at using an E-book to start your viral marketing campaign. First you create an E-book: a really good one that has links to your website, to your sales page and affiliate links to products and services that you recommend: and you give it to three people. In the book you encourage those three people to give it to their friends and family. Before you know it the E-book is spreading across the Internet like wild fire. Digital information duplicates easily and quickly so before you know it, thousands of people could be reading your free E-book. Make certain that you let people know that they have permission to forward the E-book around the Internet. When you create the E-book, you have the right to give people certain rights. One of those rights could be that you allow them to give the book to other people. Make it clear that this book is free to give away. You can write the E-book yourself, use private label content or you can hire a ghostwriter to prepare the content. There are a lot of ways to create an E-book. Once you have your E-book written, use software to create your E-book. How To Write A Convincing Sales Letter For Your e-Book Have you ever been in a situation when you are so convinced in an ad that you are already convinced to buy after just a few minutes of reading it? That ad must be so effective to have persuaded you immediately in buying the product. Don't you want to have that same convincing power for your e-book? Having a killer sales letter is a plus in promoting your e-book. But how do you do it especially if you do not have the writing skills required? Steps in Writing a Sales Letter 1. Before starting to write anything on your sales letter, you must first determine your target audience. Who do you think are the people who will be interested in your e-book? Let us admit that not every person in the world would be interested in your product. Knowing your target market will make your letter more effective. Also, you will be able to write your letter as if it is talking directly to your prospects, thus, gaining you more profit. 2. You have to know what sets your product apart from its competitor. Determine the edge and the advantages of your product from others. Make this your selling point. If you can tell your potential customers that your e-book offers several desirable benefits that others do not have then there is a huge possibility of you making that sale. 3. You should make your potential customers believe you. It might be difficult to it because of the many scams and false information in advertisements right now. You should tell them every single reason why they should believe you. Adding more data and statistics to back up your statements will add to the credibility of your letter. Prove to them that what you are saying is true from the beginning. 4. Provide your potential customers all the benefits your e-book has to offer. Even the not-so-obvious benefits should be included. After you have identified your target market, the next things that you should determine are the issues and concerns your target audience may be having. Make a list of these problems and determine the benefits of your product that will solve each of these problems. Problems are always there, it is the solution to the problem that is lacking. So if you can show them that you have the right solution to their problems, then you will be in for huge sales. Having a long list of benefits that your product offers gets you better chance of turning these readers into buying customers. 5. Write your sales letter in the way you would want it as a reader. Once you think that you are almost done with it, read it from the viewpoint of a potential customer. Ask yourself if you would say yes to the offer. As much as possible, try to find a loophole or something in your letter where your potential customer would probably say no. If you find one, then you may want to consider revising your letter in such a way that it would address that objection. By answering all possible objections by customers, you will definitely have a killer sales letter. Needless to say, it will also bring huge profit. 6. The last thing that you have to consider is getting your potential customers to take action as soon as possible. Give them the reason why they should buy from you now. If you miss this step, you may have just missed a sale altogether. Provide a realistic reason for them to act immediately. Offering special discounts or bonuses for a limited time period is one way to make them buy your product now. Telling them that your product is limited and would not be offered anywhere else once sold may get them to make the decision now. You may come up with other strategies but just make sure that your sense of urgency should still sound realistic. These steps are just the basic ones to get you started writing your sales letter. It may not be perfect at first but it is alright. Learning to write a very good ad or sales letter may take some time. But starting now with the basics may be your first step on becoming a professional sales writer. Viral Marketing using Forums There are different types of forums, beyond the obvious topical types, of "marketing" or "special interest", etc. "Marketing" and "special interest" are two types of what are commonly referred to as "open forums". There are, however, business and professional forums, which do not operate under the same rules and, more often than not, disallow any and all types of advertising or self-promotion. Forums that have been created to support the membership of a particular program are especially adamant on this topic and often demand that all members refrain from all types if advertising on their sites. Still, even with all these hurdles, it is possible to successfully advertise in forums. In all cases a pre-requisite for success is developing a good reputation and a good relationship and maintaining both. So, while it is true that this a form of free advertising, it does require a certain amount of investment as far as time and energy are concerned, not to mention subtly and finesse. To successfully market on any forum, the first requirement is to take a personal interest in the main topic of the forum. That means visiting it on a regular basis and developing a good relationship with the members and the moderators. It, also, means taking an active roll in the conversations and being willing to help others. Of course, it goes without saying that it means abiding by any and all rules that exist. In this way, one can develop a reputation, and business will just naturally develop because humans tend to work with people they trust. Since the main purpose of a forum is the exchange of information and/or ideas, marketers must respect that objective and abide by it. Marketing forums, where everyone there has something to advertise and sell, usually have even more stringent rules. Humor Turns E-Mail Viral A study by Sharpe Partners, an interactive marketing agency, revealed that 89% of adult Internet users in America share content with others via e-mail. This is excellent news for those companies who use self-propelling word-of-mouse" e-mail techniques to sell their products. The study generated some interesting results regarding the type of content that is most often forwarded, as well. The most popular content is humorous material. The second most popular category is news, followed by healthcare and medical information, religious and spiritual material, games, business and personal finance information and sports/hobbies: in that order. So it is easy to see that humor is the best content for your viral e-mail campaign. Cartoons, jokes and funny video clips are among the things that can be added to an e-mail to insure that it will go viral. People will want to pass along something that makes them laugh. They are a lot more likely to hit the forward button and send your email to their friends and relatives if it is an "advertainment" rather than an advertisement. Not along ago, about 35 million people got an e-mail containing a picture taken in Disneyland. It took a minute to see it but there was Donald Duck lying prone in front of the famous Cinderella Castle. The title of the picture was "Bird Flu has hit Disneyland". It was a viral e-mail advertising Disneyland and used the edgy strategy of making light of what's serious: and it works. I'd guess that most people who own a computer have seen that picture: and thus the advertisement for Disneyland. The bird flu epidemic is newsworthy and has the potential to attract an enormous amount of attention to any brand that might, for whatever reason, associate itself with it. Remember that people are much more likely to share a joke or a funny picture than anything else so you would be well advised to include humor in your e-mail campaign. What an E-book Can Do for You An E-book that includes your marketing message and a link to your website is a proven technique in viral marketing. This method uses the multiplication effect to "explode" the distribution of your message by willing participants. This is the basic principle that was used by Hotmail to get established. When the two founders set up their free email system, all the messages that were sent by subscribers had a text message at the bottom which identified Hotmail as the origin. People who sent emails to their friends advertised the free email site. Using viral E-books as a marketing method is cheap. It doesn't take long to set up and it's even quicker if you use rebrandable E-books that have been written by others. Just use your favorite search engine and do a web search. You will find many rebrandable E-books that are available on whatever subject you are interested in and that apply to your e-business. One method of distributing the E-book is to offer it to visitors in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter. If they pass it on to their friends and family it will promote your business for you. E-books are capable of reaching a large audience and are limited only by the enthusiasm of the participants. E-books are fairly easy to create. It's possible to produce your own E-books by combining articles that you have written or have gotten from public domain sources, such as directories. A common approach is to use material that has Private Label Rights, including articles and reports that have been written specifically for that purpose, for that niche. Using a portion of a larger work that you have prepared such as the first three chapters of a large E-book could also be used as a viral E-book. How to Make Your Readers Pass on Your Viral E-book Producing a viral e-book can be the most important aspect to determine your business' success. Most people consider it the number one internet marketing strategy at the present time. Most businesses, especially online, have adopted this technique and used it to their advantage. A viral e-book is a book that can be downloaded over the internet and most of the time, free. This e-book is also one that can be freely given away by readers after they have finished reading it. It is termed viral because of the fact that people would be willing to give it away to others for the benefit of the author. What would make readers give it away? As a consumer, what makes you recommend a product or suggest a service to your friends or relatives? Or what makes you do otherwise? When you buy a product or use the service of a certain shop or establishment and are happy with your experience as a customer, you are most likely to tell your friends and relatives about it. People have this instinct to share what made them happy and feel good for others to experience the same thing. Likewise, if you are dissatisfied with something, you will also tell others about the bad experience to warn them. This attitude of consumers is well-known to marketers and uses it to their advantage. And this is basically how viral marketing and your viral e-book works. If your e-book is something that is really interesting and contains several information a person can benefit from, there is a high probability that the reader will pass it on to others who he thinks will be interested as well. It is similar to chain emails that contain jokes and funny stories that are continuously being passed around over the internet. Another thing that will make your readers pass the e-book to others, and perhaps the most effective, is through affiliate links. If you make your reader be someone like a business affiliate, that would encourage him more to pass it on because he knows he will also benefit from it. Let's say you go into a membership shop and buys something. When you are already in the check-out counter, the saleslady tells you that if you bring in a friend next time who also becomes a member, you will receive $50 gift certificate. Wow! That will surely encourage you to invite someone to become a member, wouldn't it? The same concept can be applied in your e-book to make it more "viral." You can give rights to the readers to include their affiliate IDs in your link. That would mean more sales to you because these people would register under you as an affiliate, at the same time make them earn with the affiliate commissions of your program. However, there are things to be considered to make sure that you still have some control of those links that will be modified. There might be others who may place a totally different link which is not in any way related to your e-book. That will just ruin the process. You should put clear instructions as to how these people can distribute your e-book with their affiliate links in it. There should also be an agreement in black and white to prevent some legal issues that may arise. Also, make sure to control the amount of links in your e-book. Something that looks like a compilation of tons of affiliate links will discourage readers in proceeding with your e-book. It is also best to place the links in such a way that is not too obvious to the eyes of the readers. Try to sneak them in a clean way within the statements of your e-book. Always remember, when you are trying to produce your e-book, your main goal is for it to reach the most number of potential customers in a short time and with a little effort on your part. So make use of your readers to help you achieve this goal. Utilize them wisely and give fair rewards to better entice them in passing your e-book on to others. Anyways, this is one of the principles of viral marketing. Other Techniques to Make Viral Marketing Work Word of mouth is one way that some professionals do business. People who have availed of certain services and are impressed with it can refer it to others especially since those who pushed it will be rewarded for making the business grow. Giving people incentives for reaching a quota help out since those who do it part time can use the extra cash for other things instead of using money from the regular job. If the business is new and there are a lot of companies who have been doing it for years, the best way to start is to give the service away for free. When it has established itself in the market, then customers can be charged to maintain the business. The computer age has helped expand the way viral marketing can be accomplished. The only thing needed is for the person to be resourceful to be able to get new customers hooked. Some internet sites first started out by giving the user one or a number of email accounts for free. A good example is hotmail which offered a limited amount of space per account. People who want more will have to pay a maintenance fee to enjoy this service. Another benefit of being a member is that the person will be informed of new products and services in the form of a newsletter that may come out monthly or quarterly. The internet is like an encyclopedia but better. New information is always there and should the user have difficulty in doing anything such as creating an email account or need consultancy services for a certain problem, that person can be redirected to someone who can answer that question. A good example are some websites that are designed to help people who are not good with computers troubleshoot certain problems. If the user is experienced some problems with the service or isn't satisfied with it, the member can also post questions and the developer will get back to the person to answer that query. Having a website is a great way to reach a larger market. Since not everybody knows how to make a website, those who want to sell products can advertise for free. An arrangement can be made where the developer will earn a little profit for every product sold or charge these people a small fee for maintenance costs. There are a lot of people who surf the net and those who have no idea will use a popular search engine to find it. The developer can advertise in these by using important keywords so that users will be directed to the site. A problem some people face especially those who are studying is researching on a topic. The developer can provide a service to help these people out. Satisfied users will surely recommend it to those who are also having difficulty. The internet has changed the way people send greeting cards and letters. A person does not have to send a card anymore using the post office but simply sign up for one site and use it. Some of these sites will require the user to add other people, the birthdays and the email addresses which can be used later on by the developer to also send messages and other special offers. Pop-ups is another way to get the attention of people. When the user logs on to a site, it will appear and those who like it may click on it to avail its services. This may be in the form of banners, smileys, and screensavers that people may download for free. Those who are not interested to sign up yet can come back later. The user just has to leave certain details so the developer may contact the person in the future for new items that the customer may now be interested in. The developer may also be a good Samaritan and help those who are just starting a website. In order for these people not to make the same mistakes or go through similar hardships, an agreement can be made where a joint venture may take place. Both parties will use the services of the other and money generated will be shared. This will also create a link directory that the two entrepreneurs can use to increase traffic and sales. Using an affiliate program is another way to make the business grow since there are lot of businesses under one umbrella looking out for everything. The developer can establish a blog site for people to voice out certain opinions. This creates debate among members which makes the site interactive. The developer can easily advertise products to the people and make some money. There are many ways that viral marketing can used to generate traffic and sales. The person has to find what people need and work on it. Four Good Reasons to Use Viral E-books It is a well known and widely accepted fact, that E-books: .FREE E-books: are one of the best weapons in a viral marketing campaign arsenal. Here are four good reasons why this is true today and will continue to be true for the foreseeable future: 1. E-books are cheap to produce and don't take long to set up. If you have articles that you have already written about the subject you are promoting, you can simply combine these articles into an E-book. If, on the other hand, writing isn't your forte, you can use rebrandable E-books that have been produced by others. Just use your favorite search engine and do a web search for "rebrandable E-books". You will get a lot of hits and have many to choose from. One way to distribute these E-books to visitors to your website is to give them as a free gift for subscribing to your newsletter. If your E-book contains material that people will want to share with their friends and family, they will pass it along to them: they will pass it along to others: and you will make money. 2. E-books are capable of reaching a large audience. The only limiting factor is the enthusiasm or the participants. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that your E-book contain something that people will want to share like timely information or humor. Remember that people like to know something that the rest of the world needs to know. They will pass along something that makes them look like they are in-the-know. 3. E-books are a way to sell other products other than the one you originally targeted. For example; if you are selling garden products, your customers could also be interesting in E-books about lawns, trees landscaping, etc. 4. E-books are effective in building your reputation. It is an implied recommendation if you give a quality E-book and users willing pass on to others. Your Viral e-Book -- Should It Be EXE or PDF? The main purpose of creating a viral e-book is to pass it on to as much people as possible with only minimal effort on the author's part. To be able to pass it on to others, it should be in the form that can easily be accessed and opened by other people. After you have accomplished authoring your viral e-book, the next thing you have to do before it actually gets to the hands of other people is to compile it. There are two ways that you can do it, either to compile it as an exe file or as a pdf file. EXE, which means executable, is the file extension for files created by e-book compilers. PDF, or portable document format, is the extension of files created with Adobe Acrobat. In the World Wide Web, PDF e-books are considered to be the industry standard. Advantages of PDF over EXE files 1. If you choose to compile your viral e-book using Adobe Acrobat, you do not have to create an HTML web page for every page of your e-book. A simple MS Word document will do. 2. When you compile using Acrobat, the PDF file automatically numbers each of the pages. EXE compilers do not have that function. 3. PDF files are relatively easy to edit. New pages can be added; you can also delete or replace pages. Page numbers will automatically adjust itself once you modify the pages. EXE files are actually fixed once compiled and cannot be edited. You have to compile a new one to be able to change your e-book. 4. You can print PDF files a lot easier than EXE files. 5. PDF files have a bookmark tab on the left side of the page. Using this feature makes navigating around the file much easier than in an EXE file. 6. When PDF files are compressed, the file sizes are significantly smaller than EXE files because PDF converters compress better. 7. PDF files are not at all susceptible to viruses since they are just simple files, unlike EXE files which are like programs or applications. EXE files are more prone to carrying and transmitting virus and end up being corrupted. 8. Last but not the least, PDF files are universal. As long as the computer has an installed Acrobat Reader, PDF files can be opened and viewed, whether the computer is a PC or a Mac. EXE files are not read on a Mac computer. Since your main goal is to expand your target market, considering this fact would not harm. According to the Nielsen Netratings, over 8% of the US online population use Mac. It may not be a huge number but can still be significant in the increase of your potential customers. Advantages of EXE files over PDF files On the other hand, EXE files also have their own set of advantages over PDF files. 1. e-Book compilers, the software that create the EXE files, are just a fraction of the cost of Adobe Acrobat. Though there are a number of PDF creators recently released that are also cheap, e-book compilers still have the advantage in terms of price. 2. The most important advantage of EXE files over PDF files is its ability to allow rebranding of the e-book. Some of the e-book compilers such as e-Book Generator, e-Book Edit, and e-Book Paper have built-in rebranding function. If viral e-book is your tool for doing viral marketing, granting rebranding rights is the key to your success. Allowing rebranding of your e-book will guarantee increased promotion and distribution because people can modify the book with their affiliate codes to earn incentives. If you want increased exposure by having more people able to view and read your e-book, then go with PDF files. Not only that it is readable with a PC or a Mac, it also has relatively small file size compared to EXE files. But if your main concern is giving out free customization and rebranding rights to your e-book for wider distribution, then you must better go with e-book compilers to produce an EXE file. Given the different advantages of one type over the other, it is really up to you, the author, to choose which one you think will work best for you. Both types have their own good sets of advantages. It is just a matter of determining your priorities for your e-book and basing your decision from those priorities. Your Master Resell Rights e-Book as a Viral e-Book So you have finished writing your own e-book. Everything is already polished and it is now ready to be distributed. You have already done some promotion about it here and there. And you are now waiting for results to pour in. However, there are some more ways that you can do to increase your sales through your e-book. Being the author of your e-book, you have all the rights to do whatever you want with it. You have the control over the contents of your e-book. With that fact, you have the master resell (or resale) rights of your e-book Gaining the master resell rights of an e-book means huge profit and a return of investment that is unheard of in the outside world. If you have the master resell rights of an e-book, you have the right to sell the e-book to other people, and those who purchase it will also have the same right to sell it again to others. How does master resell rights earn you a lot of money? Let us say you purchased an e-book with master resell rights for $47. Since you have the master rights, you will resell the e-book for the same price. Having just one sale already makes you break-even. Of course, you wouldn't stop with just one customer. If you sell 11 more copies, that means a whopping 1000% profit just on that single e-book. If you want your e-book to be viral, which means to spread out exponentially, applying the concept of master resell rights can be helpful. However, for it to get distributed easier in a short time, we must apply one principle of viral marketing. That principle is giving away something for free. You may ask -- how can you earn when you give away your e-book for free? Being the author of the e-book gives you full control on what is inside it. You can have as many links as you want inside your e-book. But just do not make the links too obvious for readers not to get skeptical about your e-book. Those links that you put on your e-book lead to your site. So once a reader clicks on a link, it is already one possible customer for you. But how do you make it viral? Giving away your e-book for free is just one part of the strategy. Yes, you can earn from there but not as much as you would of your e-book gets viral. So for that to happen, you can offer master resell rights of your e-book to your customers. You can give an option to your customers to either get your e-book for free or add just a very minimal fee to obtain master resell rights for the e-book as well. But why would they pay for the master resell rights? It is simply because with that right, they can customize all the links of your e-book and change them with their own affiliate code. Having their own affiliate code on those pages of your e-book will earn them commissions from your site. Other than that, having master resell rights will allow them to sell or give away your e-book to their customers, and those customers can do the same with their own set of customers. With all those possibilities, they will definitely be motivated to pass more and more of your e-book. Not only do they earn commissions from your site, they also get some income by also selling master resell rights or just resell rights. Once that happens, you will just realize that your e-book indeed has gone viral and your site gaining more and more traffic with increased sales as well. And all these happened just by giving away your e-book for free and adding master resell rights for a minimal fee. There is no doubt that viral marketing is really the future of internet marketing. It guarantees huge outcome with only little effort and small cost on your part. Viral marketing will soon overcome all those traditional marketing and advertising where one should spend thousands of dollars just to gain maximum exposure. So once you already have your product and have finished creating an e-book for that product, better start distributing it now and make it viral to maximize your profit to its full potential. Starting a Viral e-Book? Choose a Good Topic Viral marketing is the most popular type of marketing strategy in the online industry at the moment. Why is it so? Because it can give a huge number of potential customers in just a short period of time with very minimal cost. Of course, if there are a large number of potential clients, the turnover percentage will also be bigger. Viral marketing can be done in many ways. There are newsletters sent thru email, web sites, invitational emails and much more. One effective way to do it is by producing an e-book, or the so-called viral e-book. What is a viral e-book? E-books, or electronic books, are the online or electronic version of books, newsletters, publications, manual, etc. E-books are downloadable files from the internet and can be installed to one's computer. Some of the popular books, like Harry Potter, actually have an e-book version. Some of these are free; some are available for a minimal cost. The concept of e-books has been adopted by marketing people because of the ease of distribution to a huge number of people over the internet. They incorporated advertising and marketing strategies with e-books to boost revenue, at the same time giving useful information to other people. That is how the term viral e-book came about. Viral e-book is, basically, an e-book that is passed on to other persons which brings several benefits, mainly profits, for each individual. These e-books are free, most of the time, to encourage more people to get them and pass them on to others. Viral e-books contain useful information about something related to what the marketer is promoting. And since it is a marketing tool, these viral e-books contain links that lead to the marketer's web site. Thus, if a person reading the e-book becomes interested and clicks on the link, that will already be a potential sale to the one who originally sent the e-book. If you are planning to start making such an e-book to promote your products or services, you should consider several things before jumping on to it. The very first thing that you have to think about is the topic. How to choose a topic? An e-book can talk about anything. But, of course, if you are planning to make profit from it, your e-book should talk about something interesting. It should deal with things that most people are concerned about. People want things where they can benefit from in whichever way it may be. The first thing to consider when thinking about the topic for your e-book is your main goal. You have to define your purpose of writing the e-book. If your goal is to increase sales of your product or service, then your topic should be something related to those things. You, as the maker of the e-book, should also be interested in the topic you choose; else, it will feel like a burden doing something that you do not really like. Also, it will be easier for you to write things about a topic that interests you so you can express yourself better. To better help you in selecting a topic, you must set an ample amount of time thinking about it. Go in a place where you can concentrate. Try to think of the things that interest you, things that you are comfortable with. Then list down all those things that come to your mind, even the crazy ones. Once you've listed them, select those that can be related to your product or service, if you are promoting these things. If not, select the topic that you think will be most profitable. Also, make sure that you can have a lot of resources for the topic you choose. More resources would mean more information to put in your e-book, and the more interesting it will be to read. Having a good topic is the best way to start your viral e-book. A topic that interests you, as the author of the e-book, will make the journey of creating it be enjoyable and fun. Other than that, more valuable and quality information will be incorporated since you know the topic well. So start brainstorming now with yourself. Choose the best topic that you can think of. And make that vision of increased profit turn into reality with your own viral e-book. How to Get and Use E-Mail Addresses for Viral Advertising Viral marketing has an array of possibilities and ways to achieve your overall goals. However, just like everything else, preplanning and the right setup to create success are the things you will need to make it work for you and your e-business. The first thing you want to be sure you don't do is get over-zealous. The one thing you need to avoid at all costs is spamming. Spamming is still used widely, but with the government establishing more restrictions and fines you don't want this to be a problem for you. The professional image of your site will also suffer if you send mail blatantly. Spamming requires a database that contains a huge list of e-mail addresses set up so that the message can be delivered with one click. The problem with it (aside from the governmental restrictions and associated fines) is that it irritates the recipients and kills the validity of your campaign, which in turn kills the factors that would motivate someone to refer your site. You need to personalize by creating your website with personal appeal. You must see to it that your website makes your customers feel safe, secure and cared for. E-mail is important, because it is going to be one of the most affordable ways to keep in touch with your customers. The proper way to handle email permission is to first let your customer know that you will not transmit their e-mail addresses to third party companies. The next thing to do is to attach the need for their e-mail addresses to benefits they can receive. For example: Coupons or discounts that are only available to members who receive e-mail notifications. With each e-mail you send the viral marketing effect takes place. What Are Namesqueeze Pages and How Can Internet Marketers Benefit From Them It has been a well-accepted fact that in sales, leads are very important simply because without leads, there will be no sales. But then, acquiring leads these days can be very tedious, especially when it comes to online business. However, some strategies are built specifically to address the issue. One of the best techniques ever known to help Internet marketers build quality leads is the lead capture page or the namesqueeze pages. Since the inception of Internet marketing, more and more people have come to realize the importance of leads and making lists. That is why the creation of opt-in lists has been a major breakthrough in the world of virtual marketing. In the Internet, it is simply illegal for a marketer to send emails that are not solicited, whether they are for commercial or even personal purposes. Spamming, or sending out unsolicited emails are now considered as illegal. Hence, most Internet marketers consider opt-in lists as highly valuable marketing devices. With opt-in lists, you can send emails to people who have opted to subscribe in your business' promotions and advertisements through emails. It is for this reason that opt-in lists are deemed as "gold" to most Internet marketers. In order to get a good opt-in list, some info-tech genius has created a device that will easily generate names and emails. This is known as the lead capture page or the namesqueeze pages. It refers to a particular page in one's website that is built to acquire email addresses as well as names of the visitors on purpose. The main purpose of a namesqueeze page is to compel people to join the list or opt-in to subscribe for the lists before getting an access on the main website. The problem is that most Internet marketers are so desperate in boosting their sales that they often misunderstood the purpose of namesqueeze pages. Most of these people have the propensity to create some well-written scripts that would require the website visitor to answer some questions. Unfortunately, the visitors are not aware that they are already being lured to provide some information that would coerce them into joining a website's mailing list even if it is against their will. This is completely unfair and against the principles of Internet marketing. Besides, the emails that the consumers will receive will be regarded as spam because they are not aware of such emails, and that is extremely illegal. Hence, it is important to create quality namesqueeze pages that would generate quality leads as well. This means that these leads are not compelled or obliged to do anything that is against their will. Consequently, a quality namesqueeze page or lead capture page can generate leads that are interested to find more information about the business. However, one should keep in mind that it is important to send emails that are packed with good and feasible information. After all, that is what the consumers are after that is why they have provided you with the information that you need, right? When done right, namesqueeze pages can absolutely guarantee your online business growth. Why? It is simply because consumers who opted to get into your lists are interested to whatever concept you want to tell them. Hence, creating massive opt-in lists would be very possible if you know how to use namesqueeze pages correctly. What matters most here is that if you know how important lead generation and list building is to your online business, then, using namesqueeze pages could be the most workable device you could ever have. Here is a list of some of the benefits that Internet marketers can derive from merely using namesqueeze pages or lead capture pages: 1. Massive list building One of the best reasons why namesqueeze pages work is that they compel people to make some actions. The problem with the other websites that are not generating enough sales is that they do not motivate or oblige their visitors to make some appropriate actions. The problem with those sites is that even if they have created a good "sales letter," but it was not able to coerce people to subscribe to the site's mailing lists, it will not work as it was expected. With namesqueeze pages, people are moved into actions. This can be done by offering freebies that can only be acquired if the visitors will opt to be included on your list. 2. Get an overall insight on the visitors' interests Using namesqueeze pages will allow you to have an insight on the customer's individual interests. This is because customers, who have opted to subscribe to such namesqueeze pages, are most likely interested to particular information that you are offering. Hence, you can change your topics from time to time and identify what information are highly saleable to the public. This will give you more ways to generate better leads by providing in-demand information. The bottom line is that generating good traffic is useless if you will not be able to convert your visitors into potential customers; and the only way to do that is to include them on your list. That is why if everything counts in, namesqueeze pages really matters. Using Chat Rooms in Viral Marketing Spamming chat rooms or instant messaging systems with undifferentiated marketing messages is certainly not a very good idea. But if they are used the right way, these channels can be great to communicate with the market -- especially to establish a dialogue with customers. Have you ever been to a chat room and posted a message. If you have then you may learn some free web-advertising secrets on how to market your products and service in chat rooms. Chat rooms are usually broken into categories. You will need to find the right chat room where your targeted audience would gather. If there isn't one, them you may need to create one. It will be of no use to create one that is obviously for the sole purpose of selling your product or service. Rather, it needs to attract people who would be interested in your product or service. For example: If you sell garden products, your chat room should be on the subject of gardening and not the brand name of the products you sell. Another way to use a chat room to promote your business is to include a chat room on your web site. Host a free online seminar in your own chat room about a subject of your expertise. Use your chat room to meet with your current customers and answer any questions or address and problems they may have. Regularly schedule free events in your chat room and be certain that your customers are made aware of when they will occur. For example, you might have an expert in the field available to answer questions on a certain day and between certain hours. You might, also, host other people's chat rooms as an expert yourself. You, of course, could charge for this but it might be wise to do it free to gain publicity. How Can You Generate Sales With Your Viral e-Book? Viral marketing is an effective way of promoting your products and services. It can extend its reach to thousands, even millions, of people who might be interested with your offer. This also entails huge cost savings as it does not require all your time and money to do what it has to do. One way of applying this viral marketing technique is by producing a viral e-book. After you have come up with the topic you want your e-book to talk about and have chosen an attractive title, it is now time to think about the content of your e-book. What are the things that you need to write on your e-book for you to achieve your goal? Remember, your aim is for your products to gain popularity and increase sales in the shortest time possible. Different Ways to Generate Sales There are several things that you can do for your viral e-book to generate sales for you. Having affiliate links on your viral e-book will help you reach your goal of reaching as many people as possible. Yes, you can offer rebranding or customizing the affiliate links for free. However, you also have an option to charge a very minimal fee for customization rights. If your rewards offering or commission for the affiliates are really desirable, these people would not mind paying a small amount in exchange for the huge incentives they will get if they become an affiliate. That is already one way for you to earn income just by releasing your e-book. Writing a viral e-book about a topic that you know very well will help you gain respect from the readers. Once they realize that you are like an expert in your own field, they will build trust on you. If this happens, they are more likely to buy your products and services without any hesitations. Of course, having your own product or service is the best way to generate more sales thru your e-book. The links that you add on your e-book should lead the readers to your own site where they can find more information about your products and services. Leaving something to the reader's curiosity is a good way to generate more income. Let us say you have an e-book that contains 101 ways in making money over the internet. This is the product you are selling for a fee. You can make your viral e-book discuss a few, like 10, of those tips that they can find in the full version, then neatly interject the link where they can find the full version and purchase it for a minimal fee. Same goes when you are selling tangible products. You can make your viral e-book talk about the features and benefits of such products to entice the readers to buy. You may also want to include testimonials from other people who have purchased the product. Then include the link to your site where they can purchase the item. Keeping in touch with your customers is also a plus. It doesn't mean that once a customer already purchased your product that you have to stop from there. After-sales service adds more value to your product and credibility to you. Once these customers realize that you give them importance by constantly keeping in touch with them, they are more likely to buy again once you have new products to offer. Common Mistakes to Avoid For you to generate more sales, some precautionary measures need to be taken when writing your viral e-book. Since you will be allowing rebranding or customization of the affiliate links included in your e-book, make sure that the links to be modified are still valid and still points to your site. There are some e-book compilers that allow you to do this for your protection. So better to scout for these software and use them in creating your viral e-book. When you are promoting your product on your e-book, avoid including time-specific discounts and freebies. Remember, you do not have control as to whom and when your e-book will be passed on to. It may reach a person a year after the discount offer has passed. That will just make that potential customer mad and it will be a loss for you. When producing a viral e-book with your links in there, make sure that your links would open in a new window instead of using the same browser. With that, you can make sure that the reader still goes on reading your e-book, at the same time, browsing the site where the link was pointed to. These are just some suggestions on how to make your e-book really do its job for you. There are other ways that you can try. Always be creative and success will follow! Houston Museum of Natural Science Went Viral The Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) was one chosen to showcase the world-famous Exhibition for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. HMNS quickly realized that while the exhibit was expected to generate a great deal of interest, it didn't have a lot of appeal for their core audience. The success of the exhibition, therefore, would rest in how it was marketed. The Houston Museum of Natural Science quickly called in Spur Digital to help reach the targeted demographic audience and generate interest in the Exhibit. HMNS was, also, hoping to acquire new patrons and members to further their future revenue. Spur digital worked with HMNS to identify the target market for the campaign and developed an integrated online media plan to reach those audiences. The campaign featured an online contest that was marketed through targeted online media outlets including relevant Web sites, Search Engines and third party E-mail lists. Viral marketing was an important component of the campaign, so Spur developed an innovative strategy to get people to refer their friends. Spur identified the target audience as males 18 to 34 years old who were fans of action and fantasy films, frequent video game players and movie renters, tech-savvy who generally didn't hang out at museums. Based on this information, Spur chose search engine advertisements that would accompany specific search words, dedicated e-mail advertisements, sponsored e-mail advertisements, banner ads on web sites targeted toward the desired audience, and e-mails to the HMNS list. Did it work? You bet! The results were excellent. The impact of the viral marketing effort was astounding -- over 23% of registrants came originated from the Tell-A-Friend feature. The direct marketing efforts yielded impressive results as well. In total, the 12 week, locally-targeted online campaign yielded more than 2 million targeted impressions, 40,000 unique visits, almost 12,000 and 6,000 invitations sent by friends at a cost per action of less than $3.00. These contributed to the record attendance of almost 100,000 over 3 months.
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