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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.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Find more great information at http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

What an eBook Can Do for You

An eBook 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 eBooks as a marketing method is cheap. It doesn’t take long to set up and it’s even quicker if you use rebrandable eBooks that have been written by others. Just use your favorite search engine and do a web search. You will find many rebrandable eBooks that are available on whatever subject you are interested in and that apply to your e-business. One method of distributing the eBook 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.

eBooks are capable of reaching a large audience and are limited only by the enthusiasm of the participants.

eBooks are fairly easy to create. It’s possible to produce your own eBooks 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 eBook could also be used as a viral eBook.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Find more great information at http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

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.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Find more great information at http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

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.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Find more great information at http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com

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.


To Your Success!

Rick Nelson
Find more great information at http://www.homebasedbusinessprograms.com