Sunday, June 15, 2008

viral marketing


Marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.

Viral marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. If the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles.

At the height of B2C it seemed as if every startup had a viral component to its strategy, or at least claimed to have one. However, relatively few marketing viruses achieve success on a scale similar to Hotmail, widely cited as the first example of viral marketing.
The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing

I admit it. The term "viral marketing" is offensive. Call yourself a Viral Marketer and people will take two steps back. I would. "Do they have a vaccine for that yet?" you wonder. A sinister thing, the simple virus is fraught with doom, not quite dead yet not fully alive, it exists in that nether genre somewhere between disaster movies and horror flicks.

But you have to admire the virus. He has a way of living in secrecy until he is so numerous that he wins by sheer weight of numbers. He piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase his tribe. And in the right environment, he grows exponentially. A virus don't even have to mate -- he just replicates, again and again with geometrically increasing power, doubling with each iteration:

The Classic Example

The classic example of viral marketing is, one of the first free Web-based e-mail services. The strategy is simple:

1. Give away free e-mail addresses and services,
2. Attach a simple tag at the bottom of every free message sent out: "Get your private, free 3.
3. email at" and,
4. Then stand back while people e-mail to their own network of friends and associates,
Who see the message,
5. Sign up for their own free e-mail service, and then
6. Propel the message still wider to their own ever-increasing circles of friends and associates.
Elements of a Viral Marketing Strategy

Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others, and few work as well as the simple strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy:

1. Gives away products or services
2. Provides for effortless transfer to others
3. Scales easily from small to very large
4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors
5. Utilizes existing communication networks
6. Takes advantage of others' resources

Mobile Phones Vs. iPhone How to Optimize Your Sites

Todd Follansbee, Usability ExpertWhile conducting usability testing with many people as they visit different websites, we hear lots of complaints about the use of Flash or JavaScript to cycle images and messages on homepages. We wonder: Is Flash truly a killer app? Or is it a sales killer?

I'm not talking about the Flash site introduction pages, which fortunately have nearly disappeared. I am talking about an increasing number of small sites which are cycling images, changing messages, and sending offers across the screen -- generally causing havoc among people trying to understand an often complex webpage.

This is not a tirade against Flash or JavaScript. It is an appeal for improved usability.
Problems with Scrolling Messages

Here are the problems caused by changing messages and scrolling offers:

1. Distraction. A large percentage of people, especially those with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), find them incredibly distracting. It is difficult to read -- let alone comprehend -- a webpage where dominant images continue to change and distract.

The first rule to get conversions is: Convey your value proposition. Make clear what business you are in and why it is of benefit to the reader. But Flash often distracts viewers from understanding this essential message.

Eyes are naturally attracted to motion and light. If your visitors don't finish reading a paragraph, they won't understand the value proposition. And unless they understand your value proposition, nothing will happen. Our user testing constantly reveals this pattern of distraction.

2. Disappearing messages. Some sites cycle images and messages a few times and then stop. However, once the cycling has stopped, it is impossible to go back and look at the messages. Visitors become frustrated when they can't review them.

3. Ineffectiveness. Flash does not seem to increase the effectiveness of messaging. Flash images alone convey little beyond an attractive look and feel, but these displays often consume 10% to 30% of valuable homepage real estate.

4. Transitoriness. When we allow test users 8 to 10 seconds to view a homepage -- and then hide the page -- they rarely remember the content of the Flash messages. Far more often they are able to remember simple static headlines.

5. Trained avoidance. Our testing indicates that Flash is becoming like banner ads that people have trained themselves to ignore.

A Better Solution -- User Control

Let others continue to run Flash and lose conversions, while our clients implement this simple and effective solution: On every instance of Flash on your site use the common video icon controls for play and pause (and mute, if you use audio). Start with your primary message and let people move through the display if they choose. Such controls allow users to:
# Run a display if they want to.
# Stop on any message they are interested in. (Hint: Hyperlink the image to take users to an appropriate landing page.)

With this approach you avoid annoying anyone. Flash can be an engaging, entertaining, and impactful tool if you simply yield control to the user and end the forced distraction.

If you watched users get frustrated day in and day out with cycling images and messages, you might lose patience -- as we often do -- with sites that don't spend the time to determine exactly the kind of impressions they generate. As you explore new and supposedly engaging website technologies, be sure to test them before fully implementing them on your site.

by Todd Follansbee,


Tips for avoiding PPC mistakes

An internet marketing expert has offered some top tips for companies looking to make the most of their online pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

Writing for the internet marketing news website Marketing Pilgrim, Ann Stanley says companies often make fundamental mistakes when it comes to PPC as they lack basic online advertising knowledge.

These include lumping all their PPC key phrases into one ad group or campaign and setting their maximum cost per click too high or too low.

Making the first mistake could result in a low quality score and click through rate as the landing page may not match the many key phrases in the PPC add.

And making the second could mean that ads are only shown intermittently, which means it will be more difficult for internet users to find them.

Ms Stanley suggests that companies conduct some thorough research before opening their first PPC account as lack of knowledge and experience means they are more likely to make basic errors that will drain their internet marketing budgets.

Meanwhile a recent survey carried out by the Online Marketing and Media Show has revealed that over a third of companies plan to dedicate up to 25 per cent of their marketing budget to online marketing this year.


How does e-mail marketing fit in with social media?

Answer: E-mail marketing could not be better suited to enhance your social media efforts; in fact, it is the key ingredient in launching a successful social media marketing campaign. The rise of social media is pushing the evolution of e-mail marketing from blast campaigns to more personal, one-to-one engagements. So the short answer is e-mail is a perfect marriage with social media. Let’s review examples of how social media and e-mail are working together to create success for b-to-b marketers.
Consider an established social network or blog. These activities need a “push” element to keep followers or members updated. While RSS is still evolving, nine times out of 10 e-mail is the preferred messaging choice. People regularly receive messages from LinkedIn, Facebook or other social networking contacts about new business opportunities, promotions, industry trends or personal notes.

Perhaps most important is the use of e-mail to send social media (video, blogs, podcasts, etc.). Some of the most effective business case studies are being generated with social media embedded in e-mails.

Currently, no other form of communication is better tailored to fit our social lives on social networks than e-mail. As human behaviors continue to trend towards the online social environment, e-mail will be the main form of messaging fostering that change.

Story posted: EDT

Saturday, March 8, 2008

New Internet marketing tools

Some new marketing tools

1. Real Link Finder Neil Shearing's "RealLinkFinder" is a handy little link-building tool you can use to increase your link popularity and SE rankings. It lets you find targeted blogs that don't have the "nofollow" attribute tag so your links will count in all the search engines. Great way to build targeted links related to your site's main keywords or keyword phrases. This is one "No Cost" link-building tool you should try:
2. Peel Away Ads Simple ads which sit at the corner of any webpage, when a cursor hovers over the pulsating image - the page peels away to reveal your ad or promotion. Might seem a bit gimmicky, but like the pop-up or fade-in, they do work. You do get more sign-ups and sales.
3. Video Marketing Using videos as marketing tools has now become commonplace on the web. If you're not promoting with videos, you are losing a large portion of the online traffic or surfers currently on the web. Even using videos to explain your site or product will increase your conversions and sign-ups. Viral videos embedded with your links or site url can produce results when placed on YouTube or Google Videos. If you need help, one recent commercial product has been from Simon Grabowski (GetResponse) called TalkStream, which lets you put streaming audio and video on your sites. Just google to find it.
4. Social Media Bookmarks/Tags One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the rise in importance and use of social bookmarking sites like Digg,, Technorati... these sites are now commanding huge traffic numbers and should not be ignored in your online marketing. You must connect your content with these sites. This is very simple to do since social media sites use tags, which are more or less simple keywords that help classify content and links. If you're using the popular Wordpress blog software, each category will be considered a tag. You can create a simple tag in technorati by using this code: <*a href="[tagname]" rel="tag">[tagname]<*/a> <*a href="" rel="tag">new marketing tools<*/a> Remove the *asterisks in actual codes.
5. Add this Button One of the easiest ways I have found to tap into the whole social media bandwagon is to put the Addthis button on your webpages and let your visitors bookmark your content for you. This button is free and only takes seconds to set up on your pages. In case you're wondering if this button works, I recently received 70,000 visitors to one of my sites in one day from these social media sites. Granted most of this traffic is transitory and not permanent - the huge traffic numbers will only last as long as your links/bookmarks are on the front pages of these popular sites. But where there is smoke, you can make fire.
6. Blogs RSS Feeds Likewise, you must have a blog and RSS Feed associated with your site or product. It is vital that you take advantage of this technology to get your content broadcasted across the web and around the world. RSS is only simple code that syndicates your content to all interested parties; it originally stood for "Rich Site Summary" and was a way of summarizing your content and broadcasting it. Most people now refer to RSS as Really Simple Syndication. You need a "newsreader" or aggregator such as Newsgator, Google Reader, My Yahoo! or Feed Demon to access all your feeds. One little blog traffic tool I find helpful is John Reese's BlogRush, which helps syndicate your blog posts on other blogs.
7. Expert Marketing Another effective way to market online or off is to promote/prove yourself as an expert in your chosen field. Creating articles, ebooks, websites on a subject that interests you will make you an expert. Once you gain credibility as an expert, your marketing will become much easier. Some obvious places to help build this credibility would be Ezinearticles, SelfGrowth, Ideamarketers... I have found these places are excellent for getting your name and your content noticed.
8. Long Tail Niche Marketing One of the most effective ways to market online is to use long tail keywords in your niche market. This simply means instead of targeting very general and very competitive keywords, you target less competitive long tail keywords in a smaller niche market. I have found this tactic especially good for affiliate marketing, and the trick is to find the exact long tail phrase someone is using in the search engines and then construct content/url to match it. I find Brad Callen's Keyword Elite software program extremely helpful in finding those long tail keywords.
9. Guru Fast-track One of the fastest and quickest ways to earn large amounts online is to hook up with big marketing GURUs and use their huge contact lists. If you have a high quality info product, then JVs (joint ventures) with these savvy marketers can be a very viable option for you to try. These marketing gurus or experts are valuable marketing tools you can use to your advantage. Granted, their aggressive marketing methods do turn many people off, but there's no denying their methods do work.
10. Micro-List Marketing Micro-List Building is one of the most effective online marketing tools you can use. Quite frankly, I have found building a large opt-in list is not the real key to online wealth but instead creating small micro lists for each of your promoted products to be much more effective. You can have hundreds, even thousands of these different micro-lists. Use an unlimited autoresponder program like Aweber to handle and manage all these lists. Studies have shown interested customers may not buy on the first visit, that it may take up to six or seven reminders. So keeping in contact with an interested customer, one who is looking and in the right mindset to buy, will definitely increase your sales. Here, rather then the hard-sell, the emphasis should be on collecting contacts in order to give them helpful informative content on the product they're interested in buying. Supplying quality content should be your main goal; let the selling take care of itself. If you get the first part right, the sale will come naturally. In conclusion, you must remember when dealing with such a complex creature as Internet marketing, in most cases there's no one single marketing tool that will do the job. Instead you need a whole orchestra of tools working together in order to make your online marketing the most effective. So why not try some of these tools in your own online marketing and see the results for yourself. You have everything to gain.
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by Titus Hoskins

How to launch a new website - design & creation (in view of SEO)

To start with you need to create a well designed, useful, informative and optimised site – this sounds obvious but it’s in this area where most companies fail.

The key is to think about the site's structure and search engine optimisation (SEO) before the designers and programmers get started rather than afterwards.

So many companies build a site and then contact an SEO company for advice – it then tells them to redesign and alter most of the site, which adds time and cost to the project.

If the SEO company is involved from the start, then it can create the site's structure and underlying code and then a designer can make it look amazing.

Areas to consider are content management systems, which can be costly to optimise and customise, and blogs which need to be set up in an extremely user friendly manner.

Lots of corporate blogs lack the easy to use subscription and commenting features that well designed Wordpress installations make use of and they suffer greatly as an example.

Other features such as social media and user generated content should be integrated at the design stage rather than bolted on at a later date.

When you come up with the idea for a new site it is very important to think about how the site will market itself.

A commercial site needs to have user generated content and innovative features built in as well as the ability for users to bookmark content and share items with social networks.

Marketing a site from scratch is very tough these days and without social features and the ability to publish remarkable content in a well presented manner the task is made much harder.

As a general rule every new site should have the following features:

* Blog or news publishing system
* Optimised pages for each product
* A unique feature to help attract publicity
* An in depth marketing strategy

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in Your Pay Per Click Ads

BY Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

If a Google user is searching on "dirt cheap digital camera" she'll see a number of Google AdSense ads with that same search term in the ad headline. How do they do that? Some Pay Per Click (PPC) advertisers will bid on every possible keyphrase and write a specific ad for each. But many take advantage of Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) tools that are built into the major search engine ad systems. DKI is designed to insert into the ad the exact term a searcher uses. The search term is most commonly inserted into the title, but the tool can be configured to insert the term into the body of the ad as well. If the search term is too long to fit in the space, then a default keyword is inserted instead.

DKI Advantages

DKI can have a real upside, especially for certain kinds of paid search campaigns.

Higher click-through rate
All other things being equal, a searcher is more likely to click on an ad that matches his exact search term, since he will perceive it to be more relevant than the other ads. This only works, of course, if competing ads aren't also using DKI.
Simplified administration
If you're employing a "long tail" strategy of bidding on hundreds of seldom used but relevant keywords, DKI can simplify administering the process and cut your set-up time.
Quality score
doesn't automatically increase, but if through increased relevancy you get a higher click-through rate on your ads, your quality score is likely to improve.

DKI Disadvantages

On the other hand, DKI is not a magic bullet solution to all paid search campaigns.

Click-through rate using DKI may not, in fact, be higher
For higher-traffic keywords it's worth taking the time to test to see if DKI can't be outperformed by another title.
DKI titles won't stand out
if most of your competitors are using them. If that's the case, you'll have to differentiate your ad from other competitors by not using DKI.
For long search terms DKI uses your default text
This isn't a major disadvantage. It just illustrates that DKI doesn't help in all situations.

DKI tends to be most effective:

  • When ad groups are primarily organized around products that have many ways to describe them, such as tennis shoes.
  • When phrase match, not broad match, is used.
  • When one main word varies only by part number, size, color, model, etc.
When you are conducting a conceptual or brand-centric campaign, however, DKI is less successful. For many campaigns with a clearly organized theme, DKI won't be necessary -- or helpful. But when your campaign requires a long tail strategy, then DKI may well save time and get a higher click-through rate on rarely-used keywords.