As I mentioned in the last entry, I’ve been speaking with people who are making $5000 – $10,000 or more a month online, and I’m beginning to see some common factors.
You have to understand how difficult it is to get people to talk to you about their successes. They remind me of the inventors I’ve spoken to about financing their products — they are deathly afraid that someone will steal their ideas, not realizing that their talent is part of the success of that idea. Sometimes it took several emails, an IM and a lot of promises, but I got people to talk.
One of the factors that struck me very early is the fact that most of the successful people I spoke with use some form of viral marketing in their advertising and marketing plan.
Viral Marketing is a marketing strategy that encourages other people to spread your marketing message, which grows your exposure exponentially. Link exchanges are a good example of viral marketing, because people take the link to your site and put it on theirs. When people link to their sites, they see yours. Then they may take your link and add it to their site. Just for fun I ran the SEOElite backlink checker on a successful web entrepreneur’s site. There were 1498 different sites that had his URL in them. Not bad. Affiiate programs are also viral in nature.
The guru of viral marketing has to be Dr. Ralph Wilson. You should definitely visit his WilsonWeb site. There are many terrific articles there.
These are Dr. Wilson’s six elements of a viral marketing strategy:
1. Give away products or services
2. Provide for effortless transfer to others
3. Scale easily from small to very large
4. Exploit common motivations and behaviors
5. Utilize existing communication networks
6. Leverage the resources of others
Viral Marketing seems to be an integral part of making a lot of money online. It could be as simple as trading a small banner or button for a directory listing (Income: $8000 a month), or offering webmasters a cut of your earnings to get them to your website to view your content and then buy (Income: $4000 a month). In fact, doesn’t that second business model describe Chitika, the ill-fated PPC network?
Multiple tier affiliate programs, where you get a cut of the income from people you get to sign up, are other examples of viral marketing.
You don’t have to do anything quite as dramatic, but I think it would be a smart idea to come up with some viral marketing elements for your own web site. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Write articles and get them posted on free article sites. Make the content compelling and the title provocative and interesting. Make sure at least one link appears in the article.
2. Install a ‘email this page to a friend’ script or plugin. There are plenty of them out there on the Internet.
3. Come up with a free product, utility or service that will promote your business, and encourage people to distribute it. Even if you have to pay for one to be made, it will be worth it.
4. Write for free on a well-known site in your area of expertise, especially one with a newsletter or free article distribution. This is a terrific way to perpetuate your site virally.
5. Put together an affiliate program that gets your banner on websites. If you have a unique utility, service or information source, you can get webmasters to put up a small box, banner or chicklet that has a link to your site.
Viral marketing can make you rich…I’ve seen the examples. The reason is simple…you are giving people something for free that they perceive as valuable, and they are telling other people how smart they are for getting something for free. In order to tell other people they have to mention you. It’s brilliant.