Have you noticed the number of websites that include a button that
lets you tell others about the site you are visiting? They are becoming
more popular, because site owners have learned that if you want your
visitors to do something for you, you have to make it as easy as
If you want viewers if your site to tell others, it does not get
much simpler than giving them a button to click.
The nice thing is, if you design and set up your own site, it is quick and
easy to add the button. The hardest part is deciding where you want
the button located. If you do not do any site design, it is a small cost
to have a designer do it for you.
The button runs a small bit of code called a “tell-a-friend” script. When
your viewer clicks the button it opens up a small window that allows
them to enter their friends email address and a short message so they
can tell others about your site.
The power of this script goes back to what I discussed back at the
beginning of this book; people will listen to what their friends and
There is a level of trust there that you can not come close
to, at least not initially. That kind of trust is built over time.
family say. There is a level of trust there that you can not come close
People love to win things, and they love to be recognised for
winning. Be creative in deciding what the prize should be, but
consider how much your customers will think it is worth.
While a prize doesn’t have to be something of great value, it does have
to be something that is useful or of some value to the winner. Make
sure that it is something they want, not just a blatant advertisement
for your business.
A bumper sticker marketing your web address is not
going to generate a great deal of interest. Your advertisement or web
address should be plainly visible, but it should not be the focal point of
the item you are giving away.
If you are running a business to business website, free advertising on
your site for the winner is something that wouldn’t cost you anything,
but if your site doesn’t attract very much traffic the prize may not be
seen as being very valuable.
The great thing for you is that running contests is a great way to drive
large amounts of traffic to your site. Other than the cost of the prize,
there is not very much cost involved in this technique. There are
websites and blogs that are in the business of telling others about
contests that other people are running.
They will do your marketing for you. All you have to do is contact these
sites and let them know about your contest. If it’s worth mentioning
they will tell their subscribers. If the contest is good enough or creative
enough, it may catch the attention of a blogger who will spread the word to others.
The better the prize package, the faster and farther it will spread.
A good way to take advantage of this technique is to have a repeating
contest, or a series of contests. This method will keep customers
returning to your site.
Not only will they return to sign up for the new
contest, but they will also check back periodically to see what the next
contest is, and when it begins.
The term “Linkbaiting” meets with mixed reaction among internet
marketers. It refers to the practice of “baiting” viewers into linking
back to your site from there site. You write something on your site
that catches the interest of other website owners and bloggers, and
they trackback to your site with comments about what you wrote.
The reason that linkbaiting is sometimes looked down on is that some
marketers use somewhat controversial methods to get those links.
While most of the methods are very legitimate, there are some that
many feel cross the line, and are not appropriate to use.
There are several ways to get other site owners to link back to your
site, many of which I’ve already discussed. The first is to provide
useful information that is new, or a unique view of existing
The second way is to offer fresh, hot information. This is especially
good if you are credited with breaking a story. When it works, this can
generate a lot of traffic very quickly. The downside is, news stories
have a very short life. The viral effect from a hot news story could be
over within a day or two.
The third way is to use humour. People love jokes, cute or funny
stories, and things that make you go, “hmm…” Everyone likes to be
entertained. The trick is to get your message across, while being
entertaining at the same time.
The fourth way to get links is to offer free tools or games
that people can use from your site. Banks and insurance
companies take advantage of this when they offer financial and loan calculators
on their websites.
While you are using the calculators, you are also being shown a message
about other products and services that are offered. Even if you are
not actively looking at the information, it is still planted in your brain,
and builds brand recognition for the company.
The final method is the more controversial one. It relies on the power
of controversy to get links. The way it works is for the site owner or
blogger to take a contrary position on a popular subject, or to attack a
popular person. Other blogs start to comment on what you said, either
because they can not believe you had the nerve to post it, or they are
coming to the defense of the person who was attacked.
The reason this is seen as somewhat controversial is that often times it
is less than honest. The person making the post may not really feel
that way at all, they only take that position for the passion, and links,
that taking a contrary position it evokes.
The danger of this last method is the damage it could do to your
reputation. If you are seen as a trouble maker or rabble-rouser, many
of your regular viewers may leave your site and begin frequenting
other sites that are a little more in line with their way of thinking.
So why would site owners risk damaging their reputations for links?
The first reason is the immediate flood of traffic it can send to their
site. Even though they may not agree with your opinion, some people
will still check your site out to see if there is anything else
The second reason is that links represent popularity, and some search
engines, most notably Google, use the number of sites that link to
your site when they determine the ranking of each site. When other
sites link to your site, it improves your ranking with Google. This is
especially true with sites that are ranked higher than yours are. The
more sites that link to you, the higher your site climbs.
For some site owners, the traffic generated by getting links outweighs
the negative consequences that might come from a bruised reputation.
For your business, you need to consider whether it is more important
for you to have a quick burst of traffic to your site, or whether you
would rather build a steady stream of regular customers that will
continue to return to your site long into the future.
There are a number of sites that have effectively used gotten other
sites to give them a link. Most notably are The Million Dollar Home
Page, One Red Paper Clip, and All My Life For Sale. All three of these
sites used unique ideas that made other site owners and bloggers
want to write about what they were doing. The resulting surge of
traffic made all three of these efforts overwhelmingly successful (and
yes, the Million Dollar Home Page really did earn a million dollars).
Another great way to spread the word about your business is to
provide free content to other websites and blogs. Everyone wants
fresh, well written content for their website.
Fortunately for you, not everyone has the time or the ability to do it themselves.
With the ever increasing number of websites and blogs on the internet, there is an
ongoing demand for article writers and guest bloggers. That‟s where
you come in.
By providing free content for someone else to use, they get useful
information on their website, you get your name out, and they pay the
marketing costs. It is a win-win situation for everyone.
Look around for blogs that cover your area of expertise and offer your
services to them. They may want you to show them a sample of your
writing before they are willing to take you up on your offer. After all,
they have their own reputation for quality to consider.
If you have a specific article in mind, you could show them the first couple of
paragraphs. If you are extending an open offer, write a sample article
that shows what you are capable of doing. Just make sure your sample
displays the kind of quality they will be looking for.
After you write your article, you can place a short “About the Author”
paragraph at the end. Included in that paragraph is information about
your business, and more importantly, a link back to your website.
Not only do you get a surge in traffic that comes from their website, but
the more different places your material appears, the better the
chances that one of your pieces will get picked up by one of the social
bookmark sites or another blogger and starts to go viral.