The Power Of Viral Marketing

Written by David Bell

You certainly know by now thatrepparttar term "viral marketing" is not just another dot-com cliché. Quiterepparttar 134265 contrary, it describesrepparttar 134266 incredible, unmatched power ofrepparttar 134267 Web to promote your business by marrying email torepparttar 134268 traditional concept of "word-of-mouth."

Viral marketing,repparttar 134269 concept of making each customer a marketer by encouraging word-of-mouth referrals, is indisputably one ofrepparttar 134270 most effective mediums of ongoing self-promotion a site can employ. It gives Internet companies a cost-efficient, proven tool to increase traffic and lower advertising costs.

Hotmail originally broke throughrepparttar 134271 mold by proving that companies no longer needed to spend millions on flashy advertising to becomerepparttar 134272 best and biggest inrepparttar 134273 business. With a simple viral marketing campaign they effectively corneredrepparttar 134274 market with a budget that spent money on original customer acquisition and not over-the-top Super Bowl ads.

However, instead of just standing by idly and hoping it happens, you can actually "drive" viral marketing by crafting an extremely effective viral marketing program targeted to your audience. This article will provide you withrepparttar 134275 key steps to create a viral marketing program that will power your business to new heights of success, and do it for a fraction ofrepparttar 134276 cost of other promotional efforts.


Your potential customers now haverepparttar 134277 power to tell colleagues, friends and family about great web site experiences in greater numbers and far faster than we could have imagined just a few years ago. Think ofrepparttar 134278 power of a dense email address book and a few mouse clicks. In fact, that isrepparttar 134279 "fuel" behind viral marketing. The downside is they can dorepparttar 134280 same thing regarding bad experiences withrepparttar 134281 same efficiency and speed. Research has shown that people share bad experiences up to 5 times more often than they tell about good ones. Before you post a site to your server and invite people to visit it, everything should be quality tested and in perfect order. While software makers can sometimes get away with shipping buggy software, you can't issue a "patch" to a site that has already turned off your target audience because in this market, your audience will go somewhere else, fast. And instead of gaining customers "geometrically", you'll be losing them exponentially.

-TWO TOOLS: Buttons and Links

There are two basic tools in your viral marketing arsenal: buttons and links. The idea is that with a single click a visitor can share your site with others, and those people in turn can dorepparttar 134282 same. The goal in designing and placing these buttons and links is to make them obvious, easy-to-use, and perhaps even rewarding to use. By making your buttons more obvious, you giverepparttar 134283 visitor a visual cue to pass your site on to a friend and take an active role inrepparttar 134284 creation of your own viral marketing campaign. You can take an even more active role and move beyond mere suggestion by actually offering your visitors an incentive to pass something on.


The analysis is pretty straightforward. For your buttons and/or link to work, you've first got to get it in front of your target audience of potential customers. Second, your potential customers have to be able to readily tell what it is that has been artfully put in front of them. It's that old three-click rule - if you can't find what you want on a site in three clicks, you're going to surf elsewhere, and if you can't understand what you're reading immediately, you're going to tune out. Part of what needs to be clear to potential users is what they need to do and exactly how they can do it. If you fail in any of these elements or if you confuse your message with unnecessary complications, you're potential customer is gone, and you've blown your possibly one shot at a few seconds of their attention.

Your referral tool needs to, atrepparttar 134285 minimum, accomplish seven critical things:

1. Stand out fromrepparttar 134286 clutter ofrepparttar 134287 page. 2. Be instantly understood 3. Embody a clear call to action. 4. Give clear instructions on how to act. 5. Be placed effectively. 6. Offer an incentive. 7. Makerepparttar 134288 offer simple, clear and obvious.


Button: Eye-catching, can be graphical. Link: Line of blue text. Both viable, both serve their respective purpose. The tool you choose will depend on two factors: 1) what you want your visitor to share with others, and 2)repparttar 134289 context in which your visitor will be sharing. If you want people to share content items such as articles or white papers, you can use either a button or a link, although a button is more appropriate as it's more attention getting. Also, ifrepparttar 134290 context is your site as a whole or a specific product or a service on your site, then a button is preferable because eye-catching buttons can be designed and placed by using simple code that will load almost regardless of browser or bandwidth. However, whenrepparttar 134291 context is email, whether mailing to your own opt-in list, doing a targeted promotion, or simply sending "Thank you" emails when customers submit an order, you are better off sticking with a link. Many of your potential customers don't have email that supports HTML, and even if they do, a button can easily get chewed to bits in cyberspace when moving across platforms and programs. A good rule of thumb is site = button and email = link.


To optimizerepparttar 134292 design of your button, look back torepparttar 134293 seven elements of success. To fulfillrepparttar 134294 first rule, and to stand out fromrepparttar 134295 clutter ofrepparttar 134296 page,repparttar 134297 button needs to be small enough not to take up too much above-the-fold real estate, but not so small that it won't be seen. Simplicity isrepparttar 134298 key here - your button should have a pleasing and eye-catching design, not one that will giverepparttar 134299 viewer a headache from Flash overkill or frightening color combinations. If your user doesn't know what your aesthetically pleasing button is for, they're probably not going to use it. This is where you need to do what your elementary teacher always admonished you to do: use your words carefully. Clearly spell out in straightforward terms whatrepparttar 134300 button is for, why you want your user to use it, and finally, how they go about using it.

The Biggest Reason To Start A Blog...(and it's not what you think!)

Written by Andrew Wroblewski

Even people who don't own a computer know what blogging is. Everyone is talking about it. Heck, evenrepparttar Doonesbury comic strip ran a few panels onrepparttar 134264 subject. Anna Kournikova even has a blog for crying out loud!

But did you know that there is a secret benefit to blogging that has NOTHING to do withrepparttar 134265 subject matter? In fact, you could blog on aboutrepparttar 134266 sex life ofrepparttar 134267 Tasmanian fruit fly and still reap big rewards.

Yep, just like nearly everything else onrepparttar 134268 Internet, there's money to be made with blogging IF you knowrepparttar 134269 secret...

OK, OK. I'll tell you, but first let's take a quick ride inrepparttar 134270 wayback machine and see how blogging came to be as popular as it is today.

Back atrepparttar 134271 dawn ofrepparttar 134272 World Wide Web, new web sites were a rarity. Geekie guys and girls struggled withrepparttar 134273 new technology andrepparttar 134274 launch of a new page, A new web site was practically a media event. Inrepparttar 134275 early days ofrepparttar 134276 Internet, each new page was a cause for celebration.

In 1992, Tim Berners-Lee,repparttar 134277 scientist generally credit with inventingrepparttar 134278 World Wide Web (and you thought it was Al Gore, I'll bet), createdrepparttar 134279 first What's New page. Later, another Internet legend, Marc Andreesen, put up his own page. Both of these men created hot links to all ofrepparttar 134280 new pages springing up onrepparttar 134281 net.

Asrepparttar 134282 World Wide Web came into its own, a new breed of programmer, called a Web Master (because they had masteredrepparttar 134283 World Wide Web) created their own pages that contained suggestions on cool web sites to visit. Because they didn't list every single new web site, justrepparttar 134284 ones that they thought were interesting, they were said to have filteredrepparttar 134285 net. In 1998, Jorn Barger, a bit of an odd duck, even by Internet pioneer standards, first usedrepparttar 134286 term 'weblog' to describe his blog called 'Robot Wisdom'.

As bloggers banded together to form communities, people sought easier and faster ways to create blogs. As a result, automated and easy to use blogging programs such as Blog-In-A-Box were developed so that even a half-dazed wallabie can put up a blog in between munching on stalks of grass.

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