One of the best early examples of building a business by giving something away is Hotmail. Hotmail gave away free email services and email addresses free to anyone who signed up for one, and a lot of people did (and still do).
Today millions of users have Hotmail addresses. What made hotmail successful was one of the early successes of viral traffic building on the internet.
At the bottom of every email that was sent through one of the free Hotmail accounts was a message telling others how they could get a free Hotmail account. Every time a 18 Hotmail user sent a message, they were helping spread the name of Hotmail.
How did Hotmail make any money off of free accounts?
They did it by offering premium services to their customers such as additional storage space, and the ability to send emails without any advertising attached. Hotmail became successful enough that in 1997, less than 2 years after it was created, it boasted over 8 million users and was purchased by Microsoft.
It is still one of the top web based email services in the world.
While you may not be able to achieve the same amount of buzz that Hotmail was able to generate, it does demonstrate the power of getting your message out be attaching it to something that people are willing to share with their friends, family, and co-workers.
Do not discount the fact that people love to get things for free. If it looks interesting, and it is free, people are more than happy to give it a try.
While it is easy to get them to try your offer initially, it is a different challenge to get them to continue using it once the novelty has worn off. 19 Repeated use is critical for your success because multiple exposures will cement your companies name in your customer‟s minds.
People are more likely to buy something from a company they have heard of than from one they have not heard of. They might not even know how or why they know the name, but that sense of familiarity will make them more susceptible to your message.
What ever you are offering has to be functional, easy to use, and add value to the user.
You customers have to feel that it is worth their time and effort to pass the information along.
Then, and only then, will they be willing to tell their friends and family what they have found.
Have you written an e-book? An e-book is a digital document that can be sold online in a purely digital form. Thus, unlike with selling a physical product, the fulfillment of an e-book is done completely online. This is great for you, the author, since you can completely automate the order taking and fulfillment processes.
Once you have the fulfillment process automated, the question becomes how to market the e-book online in order to get people to buy it. “How do I effectively market my e-books online?” is one of the most common questions I hear from my clients. Here are five tips that will help you sell more of your e-books and generate more revenue:
Find a target market to sell the e-book to. Many people think that everyone is their target market, and as a result try to sell their e-book to everyone. They usually end up chasing after potential customers who are not in their target market and are not likely to ever purchase the book. Their e-book sales suffer as a result.
Instead of trying to sell your e-book to everyone, concentrate on a smaller group of people who comprise your target market. These people are much more likely to purchase what you have to offer, and as a result you will get many more sales.
Create an effective sales letter for your e-book. Since you cannot take a picture of your e-book and post it on your web site (unlike a piece of jewelry, for example), your need to use the sales letter to promote the e-book.
Make sure that your sales letter effectively describes your e-book and focuses on the benefits your clients will get by purchasing your e-book. Highlighting the benefits will keep people reading the sales letter, and it will generate more e-book sales.
Give your customers just a few options on your web site. Sometimes clients tell me that their sales letters don’t sell. When I take a look at the sales letters, they are usually a big mess. Sales letters that do not sell contain too many distractions for the reader: they have links to other web pages and web sites, banners, and text ads for other products.
Make sure that your sales letter provides only a few options to your customers – an option to buy the product and an option to subscribe to your newsletter, and that’s it. The fewer options you give to your web site visitors, the more likely they are to buy your product.
Have a newsletter subscription on your web site. Sometimes people who come to your web site and see your e-book are not ready to purchase the e-book. However, they are ready to subscribe to your newsletter and learn more about you and your products. These people will be ready to buy your e-book eventually, so make sure that you keep in touch with them through your newsletter.
Use online marketing techniques to promote your e-book further. Use search engine optimization, business blogging, article publishing and other online marketing techniques to promote your web site and e-book. TYhese methods will bring more visitors to your web site, who are craving the information that you share in your e-book.
You can only make money with your e-book if you sell it. Follow the five tips that we discussed to sell more e-book copies and make more money.
Providing quality content, products, or service is by far the best way to build your reputation, and build repeat traffic to your site. Research has shown that on average, when someone has a positive experience they will tell two other people about that experience. On the other hand, if they have had a bad experience, they will tell seven other people. That act of telling others is how the viral traffic generation techniques start.
If your customers never tell anyone else about you and your site, you are back to doing all of the marketing on your own. To build returning customers to your site, you need to establish a reputation as an expert in your field, very entertaining, or someone who has unique insights. That does not happen if all you are offering is cheap, recycled drivel that you found on someone else‟s website. Make sure that what you offer is your own work, and something that is different from what can be found on every other website. As your reputation as an expert increases, other websites and bloggers will start to pay attention to your website.
They will begin to talk about what you are doing, and will even give links from their website to yours. Suddenly every one of their readers becomes a potential customer. The higher the quality of material you produce, the more often your site will be linked to. Each link to your site is an avenue for new visitors to your business. If you do not think you have the ability to create something that will touch people like it needs to, you may have to spend the money and hire someone else to do it for you.
Fortunately for you, there are a lot of service that will put you in touch with freelance writers, site designers, and program designers. If you have an idea about what you want, chances are there is someone available to do it for you. If you are willing to take a chance on a freelancer who has not yet established themselves, you can often find one that will work for a low wage in exchange for the experience the job will give them. Be careful though; often times you get what you pay for. Make sure the work you get is up to the standards necessary to appeal to your audience.
This is an often asked question, and there has been a lot of time and money spent to find the answer.
The truth is, there is no guaranteed way to make your message go viral. There are some things you can do to increase the chances that it will take off, but you can not “make” it happen.
Successful viral traffic generation is part skill, part creativity, part timing and circumstances, and part luck. You may try dozens of things with no real success and then strike gold in a completely unexpected place.
There is a quote that says “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” If you continue to market your site, and continue to lay the groundwork for success, you greatly increase the odds that you will be “lucky”.
For some sites it takes a long time to become an overnight success. By presenting your message in a useful, unique or entertaining way, it encourages people to spread the word.
It requires creating a message with a wide appeal and has a high potential of getting passed along.
Once it begins, there is no telling where it will go, how far it will spread, or who it will reach.
If you happen to be one of the fortunate ones who have several messages going viral, you could easily reach millions of people.
It does not happen for everyone, but it could happen for you.
The cost of viral marketing really depends on the type of marketing campaign you decide to use. With the 21 Viral Traffic Generation Techniques listed below, there are many that are free, or very low cost.
Some may cost a little more to produce and get started, while others could become quite expensive.
How much you spend is entirely up to you and the how you want to use the different methods.
One of the greatest things about viral traffic generation is, once you get the initial message out, it really doesn't cost you any more once it goes viral.
Your customers bear all of the time and expense of spreading the word. All you have to do is be prepared to handle the traffic when it comes.
Depending on your website hosting service, there may be some costs for additional bandwidth as more customers flood your site, but if your sales increase because of the traffic it is worth the additional cost.