7 Viral Marketing Strategies

August 28, 2008

Business is all about achieving greater leverage.

What happens when your customers or visitors pass around your marketing messages automatically for you?

All advertising has a cost. It will either cost you money or time. Let’s say you’re simply breaking even from your advertising. What would happen if you added a simple multiplier to your business where your visitors began increasing your exposure automatically?

Instead of simply breaking even, you’re now making a profit because you’ve doubled your traffic or more without working any harder.

Let me give you a simple example. I put together a free ebook to give to my subscribers. That’s all well and good. Now I’ve done the work, but how can I leverage it to additional results.

All I did was make it brandable using a program such as ViralPDF. Now my affiliates can brand the ebook to give it away to their own audiences.

Do people use this type of ebook as a giveaway (increasing my exposure and business)? They sure do.

Check out some of these sites for example (you’re looking for 10 Key Strategies to Earn More, Work Less, & Enjoy Life! which may be a subscribe bonus, on a popover, etc.):

These are just a few of the sites using that report. I know I have many more blog readers who have it posted so please don’t feel I’m showing any favoritism. The above sites were simply from me remembering they had it posted and a quick Google search to see who had it to show a little proof.

Why are all of the above giving the ebook away? It’s because I provided good content with a hot title, and the majority of them have some type of relationship through a JV, customer relationship, etc. with me.

What can you create that others will be motivated to give away?

Here are 7 examples:

#1: eBooks

Obviously I use ebooks. You can see I have two brandable ebooks available in my affiliate program. The key here is to produce something good enough you could sell. Instead you make it brandable and give it away.

EVERYBODY is looking for more good content…and a tool like this can be an easy way to tap into other people’s traffic sources even if you can’t get a product sales JV. They might not be looking for more products to sell, but they are looking for content to give away.

#2: Videos

Can you produce an inspiring, motivating, or highly informative video others will want to refer to? Can you produce a funny video people will want to pass along? One example of a video that was a huge hit was Morgan Westerman’s original video: http://www.interviewwithgod.com/theoriginal.htm

With the video sharing sites, this can be a very powerful strategy as bloggers often embed your videos right into their blog or site directly (such as I did with the conversion rap).

#3: Blog Themes

Sponsor a blog theme others will want to use. For a while I was using Clean Copy that Michel Fortin sponsored. Not only have I used it, but I’ve seen dozens of others bloggers using his theme.

Everyone using it has a link at the bottom back to his site. While he might not get a lot of visitors from that little link, think about all the “incoming links” it has created for him and the viral effect of one person seeing the theme on another’s blog…and then going to his site to pick it up. It spreads by itself.

Hire a designer to create your own unique theme to use and giveaway.

#4: Software

Same concept as above. Instead of giving away a blog theme, have a software programmer create a software program to give away with links in the software back to you.

Here is an example software program called Comment Sniper. You can get a customized version to give away, and then earn recurring commissions from http://www.betterthanbacklinks.com links built into the software.

#5: Widgets

Continuing with this theme, you could have a website widget created that brings traffic back to you. Although I found Blogrush wasn’t very effective in generating additional visitors when I tested it on my blog, it obviously worked extremely well from the viral standpoint to produce visitors and signups for John Reese.

You’ll see many others are creating similar style widgets that you simply plug into your web pages while the system grows automatically.

#6: Complete Systems

This is very similar to the above, but I see it as a little different from software or widgets in that it is a complete system. Listhero is a good example of this one as they’ve put together a list building exchange type of system. You join their program and are provided with a popover on exit where other lists are offered in exchange for your list being offered on other people’s pages.

This is very similar to widgets above. I broke it apart to show you another variation of this type of system…and because it isn’t really built into the page itself like a widget.

Even my Internet Lifestyle System package is a little bit of viral marketing. When people use the intern videos, affiliate training, or VA materials, their customers are being introduced to me. While I’m not directly linking anywhere to me (as I want the customers to get the full exposure), some may still become customers of mine for other training products.

Think about what type of business growth tools you could create which others will recommend and promote for you using any of these possibilities.

#7: Linkbait Content

You produce outstanding content on your site or blog with the intended purpose being for others to promote it for you. Most people don’t really think of this as viral marketing, but it really is.

It may be because you created humorous post. Or you created a resource list. Or you created something so controversial people have to link to it. For example, look at the debate Rick Butts caused when he wrote his controversial, “Unsubscribe From Whoever…” post.

Your purpose in this content is to create something other blogs will link to, people will save into their bookmarks, and they’ll recommend to others through sites such as Stumbleupon.

Goodbye to a Best Friend

August 25, 2008

Please forgive me this one post out to say goodbye to a dear friend.

You have probably seen the photos of my golden retriever Rocky. His 7th birthday was coming up soon. On Saturday he passed away.

Basically he was healthy and fine until Saturday around noon. He began getting sick and we called the vet around 2 PM to schedule an emergency visit. By 3 PM he was gone.

The vet thinks it may have been gastric dilation volvulus (also called bloat), but we’re not 100% positive.

There are other prepared posts, but I wanted to write a quick note to the dear friend I lost this weekend. While some may not understand the love for a dog, he was a dear friend to me and part of my family. I love him dearly.

One of the first non-professional pictures I tested in my business was Rocky and me. And he consistently beat my professional picture of me in a suit.

Terry and Rocky

Every morning he waited for me to get up. Normally I get up between 6 and 7 AM. He is quiet and waits patiently until he hears me start moving or speaking. Then in a flash he was beside my bed with eyes filled with enthusiasm and a tail moving a mile a minute.

When I went upstairs to the office he followed right along with me. Often you’d find him laying front of a window in my office or curled up under my desk.

At least two of my daily breaks were to take him out in the yard for a game of frisbee or catch.

He loved to go, so we often took him on errands with us. He even had his own cover on the backseat of the car.

You could even say he was my only full-time employee.

Many times my wife and I watch a movie before bed. Often you’d find me sitting on the floor with my huge golden laid out across my lap cuddling.

From the morning when I get up to the time I go to bed, he was with me.

Every weekend I would take about an hour to brush him (which he loved). We’d play frisbee. Then I’d take him over to a nearby park for a hike and swim.

From the moment we got him (at 8 weeks old) he was already trained to sit when he wanted something: attention, a treat, dinner, etc. He was house trained within a week (although if he rang the bell to go out, and you didn’t let him out, an accident was coming in seconds). I’ve had many dogs in my life, but none have ever been as dear or as obedient as my Rocky.

He was the sunshine around the house. Like the photo above, there was always an excited expression on his face with his tongue hanging out to the side.

No matter what you were doing, he was there following along wagging his tail. We’ve even had to remove any breakables from the coffee table and other low tables. The tail wagged so much so it cleared everything onto the floor if he turned around.

Even though he was a very large golden, my wife called him her little Peanut.

Goodbye dear friend. I love you. I miss you. You are in my heart forever.

I have one other dog (a mixed breed), and he is going on 14 now. We lost two dogs in the last year now (our newfoundland died last year). We will get another golden soon, but it doesn’t take away the grief you feel from missing your friend.

The new dog won’t be a replacement. He will be a new friend. As every pet stays in your heart.

Here are few photos of Rocky enjoying himself in the snow from last Christmas:

Rocky in the snow 1

Rocky in the Snow 2

Rocky in the Snow 3

Rocky in the Snow 4

Rocky in the Snow 5

Research With and Without Cash

August 21, 2008

One of my favorite ways to research a market is to put up a survey, and then drive traffic to it using Google Adwords.

If you find it costs you an outrageous sum of money to generate visitors, you’ll have to go after different keywords…or you’ll have to accept the project may not be the big money maker you expected.

If it’s costing you 40 cents per visitor and you get 1 out of 10 to fill out your survey, each survey is costing you $4. It’s very reasonable to expect you will only be able to sell 10% of those who would fill in a free survey, so now we’re talking $40 per sale (in other words one out of hundred is buying).

If your product does not have a $40 profit capability (through upsells, downsells, and backend possibilities), then it’s not a practical project for you on those keywords.

There are several reasons why I really love researching markets this way.

1. You get answers directly from people who respond to the same advertising you’ll be doing.

You’ll find people have different mindsets when they land on your web page. People coming from an affiliate are much more likely to buy than people who find you cold (such as through PPC advertising). People can even have wildly different viewpoints based on the keywords they used to search for your site. If you plan to do any type of Adwords advertising, having survey results directly from them is better than results you may receive from previous customers or other sources of advertising.

2. You’re testing your keywords and ads on Google at the same time.

You don’t state you’re running a survey in your Google ads. In fact, you try to model the ads you’re running in Google as closely as possible to the ads you’re run when you’re done. In a majority of cases, it will be the exact same ad you’ll use once the survey is finished. Once the survey is done, you simply pause the campaign until your product is ready to go. Once it’s ready, start up the campaign exactly where it was when you paused it.

3. It’s hard to lie to yourself with the facts staring you in the face.

It’s very easy to lie to yourself about the potential of your product until your money is on the line. Your mind will play tricks on you and tell you how EVERYONE needs and wants your product. It will claim there is a huge audience prepared to buy what you’re offering. It will even tell you how you can make millions without having any backend offers.

You start an Adwords campaign, and cold hard reality slaps you in the face. Your first sale might come at a loss. Or some of the high traffic keywords are more than you’re willing to spend starting out. This type of testing makes you face reality early in the process.

How about Doing Researching Without Cash

The negative factor above is it costs money to do your research this way. How about doing your research without spending any money.

If you’ve had the chance to listen to my 90 minute interview with Daniel Levis, “Grow Your Customer Lists 4 to 7 Times Faster,” you would have seen he uses an entirely different research strategy.

Instead of spending money to generate survey results, he goes to where people are already congregating such as forums and the comments of popular blogs.

He looks for their pain points, aspirational statements, and plain old questions.

What issues are causing them problems. What types of emotional phrases do they use? What do they wish was available to them? What types of questions keep popping up constantly?

As Daniel spends times in both the forums and blogs, he is creating a spreadsheet listing by copying and pasting these direct comments. After collecting all his information he then puts together several dominating categories to paste each of these statements in. Once you’ve put together the comments, you’ll see which items are the most important.

Once you’ve went through all this you’ll be able to see exactly which approaches have the best chance of success in your market. And you did it without spending any money. The disadvantage of course is that while you know how to approach the market correctly, you didn’t get any financial numbers back…so you have no idea what expenses it may take to advertise there.

How to Research On An Active Product

Another way to generate good research information without spending any cash is to run exit popovers on your sites where you ask people, “What is their biggest question about _____.”

Or you could be even more point blank by asking them, “Why did you choose not to purchase at this time?”

If you decide you need more in depth information, then you could run a split test script to send a portion of your visitors (perhaps 10%) over to a survey page instead of sales page. You have to judge what percentage of your sales you’re willing to give up to get back good information, but this enables you to keep money coming in while doing the survey.

Your research is NEVER over. Yet, you can do much of it totally for free without affecting the sales of your products and services.

Daily Marketing Calendar

August 18, 2008

Many internet business owners aren’t business owners at all. They’re knowledge collectors.

You’ve probably heard people say, “Just take action.”

I’ve given this advice also at times.

But there is one major problem with this advice. It’s not just taking action that brings success. It’s taking the correct consistant daily actions that bring success.

A lot of internet business beginners jump from system to system every week without digging in with consistent actions even in the face of adversity.

You can’t “try” Google Adwords this week, ezine advertising next week, and then joint ventures the week after.

The keyword I use there was “try.”

Currently I have two clients I would consider absolute masters at Adwords. Both of them have said to me privately they feel it takes a year of experience and practice to really become excellent with Adwords.

What does that mean to the person who tries it for a week?

It means they get in, waste some money, and decide it doesn’t work for them.

The majority of people trying out Adwords for the first do lose some money. The good news of course is because of the budgets you can set, you’re the one who chooses how much you risk. Plus with all the conversion tracking features you can see exactly where results are being produced from your account.

Tip: No one should be using Adwords if they’re not also using the conversion tracking to see which keywords and ads are producing their sales.

All the other forms of advertising may not be quite that intense, but every single one does come with a learning curve. You won’t master it in a week.

Let’s say you want to move into online videos to generate traffic. The first thing you do is pick up a couple of information products to study. Then you start practicing their system.

The first video you produce won’t be even close to your best.

Your keyword selection won’t be perfect and it won’t drive 100% of the possible visitors you could have produced.

In other words, you will improve with experience.

Beginners get stuck in a vicious cycle when they give up on a system too quick because they’re always trying to learn something new without really mastering the skills they’re working on.

That’s where dedication and commitment come in.

Create a daily marketing calendar. How will you promote your business every day?

What activites will you do today and tomorrow to increase your exposure?

If you haven’t seen the free intern program, it’s all about giving you a daily plan to building an online business.

While someone is in the program, they promote my business. When they graduate, they begin using the same strategies to promote their own business.

For example, see the comment Carole Massey-Reyner made recently on this blog post.

“I am a proud graduate of your intern course, Terry, and I can say unequivocally that the Lifestyle Retirement System and the Intern Course gave me every single thing I needed to know about internet marketing.”

I’m not using this an example to just demonstrate how wonderful the intern program is. I want you to see just how important it is to have daily planned actions. People in the program get an assignment each day to follow and promote.

You can create the same strategy for yourself. Monday might be your blog writing day so you write all your blog posts for the week. Tuesday is your video creation day. Wednesday you upload videos to the video sharing sites and work on networking.

Create your own marketing calendar.

Another addition you can make it to add checklists for each of your activities. If producing a good video for promotion requires 7 elements, make sure you put all 7 of those elements into a checklist you can check off. Or if requires a total of 12 steps, give yourself that checklist to follow through.

While I have given steps throughout my intern program, I will be adding more checklists to the programs in my next update through the series. I’m finding they’re essential to having the best production from any of my workers…and even from myself.

5R Research and Conversion

August 14, 2008

My email subscribers received a special gift this week. As one of my blog readers, I also want to give you something (although not the full package the email subscribers received).

Recently I did an interview with Daniel Levis about how to grow your customer and prospect lists four to seven times faster without spending a single dime more on traffic or a hotshot copywriter.

I’ve pulled out a 15 minute clip from this interview to share here. In it, Daniel discusses how to research your audience for FREE along with some of the primary questions you need to answer about that audience.

Pay special attention to when Daniel talks about the 3 things he’s looking for and how he organizes a spreadsheet around this information.

Right click here to save this 15 minute audio clip to your computer.

You can go to the 9 page PDF transcript here…

If you’d like to get the full 90 minute interview and transcript, you purchase that here for $10…

Make sure you check it out as one of the special bonuses is a 76 profit point checklist I put together to help you enhance your profits based on all the information from the interview.

Build Your Blog Email List

August 11, 2008

Are you building a list of email subscribers on your blog?

If not, why not?

Even though RSS (Really Simple Syndication) usage is growing, you’ll still find a majority of your readers prefer email (unless you’re in a very technical market).

You have probably heard, “The money is in the list.”
This isn’t entirely true. The money is in your relationship with the list.

I watch my email subscriptions very closely to see how different posting schedules affect my subscriptions, open rates, and sales. For example, in the past few months it’s become very obvious that my best open rates for blog emails are for posts titled, “5 Ways to…” or “3 Steps to…”

In other words, the best way to get people to open my blog emails is to tell them a specific number of steps along with an end result.

What about building the email list itself?

Here are 5 ways to grow your blog email list faster:

#1 – Give away a valuable freebie.

You’ll notice I give away the free report, “10 Key Strategies for Any Business Owner to Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Life” plus “Live the Internet Lifestyle…Retire Young and Wealthy” when someone signs up for my list.

Think immediate gratification. What value can you give your new subscribers for signing up to your list? Don’t just promote it as a “blog signup” or an “email list.” Nobody is sitting around thinking about how they need to get more email. They’re trying to cut their email. You “sell” your free email list by the offer you give immediately…and you keep them subscribed by the content you provide them regularly.

This gift could be a written report, an mp3 audio, or a video. You could include other bonuses along with the primary gift such as coupons, discounts, etc. (one of your goals should be to sell these customers as soon as possible).

#2 – Focus your design toward building the list.

Take a look at my blog. The most prominent feature on the top right is my email list signup. That’s what I want you to do here. On your first 3 visits to the blog, there is also a subscribe section on the top of every post using the “What Would Seth Godin Do” plugin.

At times I build a subscribe right into the post itself (see the bottom of this post for an example). Make your email subscribe box OBVIOUS to your visitors.

#3 – Add a popover.

This one causes some debate. Some will say a popover is evil and the most horrible thing you could do to your visitors while those who have tested them will often swear by the value of them. At times I run tests with popovers that only appear once (you can also run them to only appear to those who haven’t subscribed yet).

Right now I’m not running a popover here, but I will be testing it again soon. And I’d recommend everyone at least test it on their blog to see how it affects their daily subscribe numbers.

#4 – Run a squeeze page and/or entry page.

Take a look at http://www.theterrydean.com. This is a squeeze page that subscribers people directly to this blog’s email list. While running some paid advertising tests, I’ve found I’m ALWAYS better off driving my paid traffic to a specific landing page instead of the blog directly.

Yes, I said ALWAYS. Using a squeeze page to get people to subscribe produces better results for my blog than sending them to any page on my blog.

#5 – Send subscriber only gifts.

Tomorrow I will be sending out an email to blog subscribers only. They will get an audio and transcript for free which I will be offering for sale later in the week. It will show you how to grow your email and subscribers lists significantly faster.

Your only opportunity to get it for free is to make sure you’re subscribed to the list. This is a reward for email subscribers only.

If you received my normal teaser email about this post, then you’re subscribed to my Aweber blog list. If you didn’t, you need to subscribe below to make sure you get this freebie. The gift will be emailed after noon tomorrow.

Subscribe Now to Make Sure to Receive Your Free Gift Tomorrow!

Also receive the special report "Live the Internet Lifestyle...Retire Young and Wealthy" immediately when you sign up for the blog announcement list. If you're already a subscriber to this email list, you don't need to sign-up again.

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Brainstorming Project Ideas

August 7, 2008

The August Monthly Mentor Club print newsletter is being sent out on August 11th at 9 AM Eastern. If you want to get this issue, you have to be subscribed before then…

This month I’m covering the 5 ways to do in depth research on your market. The person who knows their market the best wins. Find out how you can become that person…

Here’s a quick excerpt from the newsletter:

If you’re like most beginners, you agonize over your first project for months…afraid to make a mistake.

Cut it out!

Just get started. It isn’t a life or death situation on choosing the right market from day one.

Lets say you choose poor market that only produces a few sales per month. That’s OK. This is your first project, not the only project you’ll ever have.

This is where I get mad at many of the biz opp people. They’ve given their customers the idea that success should be instant and easy. If they don’t make a million dollars from their first project, they

That’s WRONG thinking. Your first project isn’t there to produce profits. It’s there to get experience and on the job training. You may make a profit, but it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t on that first
project. You will end with experience.

People go to college for 8 years to become a doctor. That same salary online is much easier to hit, but it won’t happen in 2 weeks. What if it takes you a year, two years, or even three years? It still would mean this opportunity is BETTER than medical school.

Ok, I’m done ranting now.

Where do you start for your first product?

The first thing I’d do is write down a list of your skills and talents. What have you accomplished in your life that others would be willing to pay for?

A lot of people’s first response to that question is nothing…but that’s highly unlikely.

For example, have you ever lost weight?
Have you finished a marathon?
Are you a good golfer?
Do you have dates every other night?
Did you figure out how to raise your children well?
Did you find a unique way to pay for college?
Are you a gardening freak?
Maybe you’re the master at a specific video game?

Look at your previous experiences for product ideas:

Previous Job and Employment Skills – Did you have any training (sales person, teaching, medical, legal, etc.) that others would find valuable?

Relationships – Have you achieved anything others would want (like fixing a failing marriage, finding dates, marrying a model, etc.)?

Health, Fitness, and Beauty – Have you lost weight, gained muscle, found secrets to looking beautiful, eat raw foods, etc.?

Hobbies – Are you a master at video games? Do people come to you for fishing advice?

How will I know for sure I have the right subject?

For your research in this report, but remember this project won’t be your only project you’ll ever do. It is just the beginning.

Here are few of the rule of thumb questions I use to pick the right market:

Do I have a high level of interest in the subject to study and talk about it?

Is there an easy to target market (forums, keywords people search for, large sites with advertising available)?

Are there other products successfully selling in the marketplace? Don’t look for empty markets where there isn’t money. Look for competition.

Is it difficult to find really good information in the first 10 results on Google? It’s much easier to sell an info product if quality info is harder to find.

Do people spend money regularly on the subject? For example, golf or horses are expensive hobbies so I would trend towards them over bowling.

Let’s say you go through all your skills and you can’t pick anything. Are you out of luck? No. The next step is to look at your family members and friend’s skills for ideas.

Maybe your spouse or your children have a subject that is perfect for a product? Or maybe one of your buddies or coworkers has an idea? Look through your circle of influence for possibilities.

Finally you could start a product on a subject you don’t know anything about as long as you’re excited to learn about it.

This would require you to do an interview with an expert. There are experts in every field who would be willing to share your knowledge for the exposure and backend opportunities you would provide them with.

Now you’ve chosen your first market – or you’re actively working in a market. Either way, it’s time to get into the research system.

To get into the research system, make sure you’re subscribed to the Monthly Mentor Club print newsletter before August 11th at 9 AM EST. Click here now to join…

Most Valuable Intern Procedures

August 4, 2008

I’ve been running my current intern program since the beginning of the year and it has been a wild success. Every week I’m getting messages from interns who have completed the program, thankful for everything they’ve learned throughout it.

At times I’ve been asked which procedures do I see as the most valuable ones in the program.

I consider them ALL important. For example, I have incoming links to this blog all the time because of our blog carnival submissions. Look at how many of the “comments” are actually from blog carnivals on the Internet Scams post.

Other procedures involve writing and video projects, which all produce content along with more incoming links for my business. Submitting to social bookmarking sites gives more traffic.

I originally had more procedures I was running in the program, but I deleted a few of them to only highlight the most important traffic steps.

But I still haven’t answered the question, which procedures are the most important?

I don’t feel that question can really be answered as they’re all valuable.

If I could only choose a few though, it would have the be the JV ones.

On several of the procedures I have interns tracking down potential JV partners and affiliates for my products. Even though they are only following the strategies I gave them, they’re often finding potential partners I haven’t contacted before.

This list of potential partners is handed off to a virtual assistant to go back through and contact or we send out a card by mail to these contacts (since we collect address information whenever possible).

I generate visitors through the free search engines, through Google (especially through site targeted advertising), and other bloggers.

If you haven’t guessed from my previous posts, JVs and affiliates are my favorite traffic generation method. If I was limited to only using one form of marketing, it would be JVs.

Think about it. If you find one partner who has a 100,000 person list, all they have to do is a promotion for what you’re offering and instantly you’ll generate thousands of prequalified visitors. Your cost – zero until sales are made. You’re simply sharing in the profits you never would have had anyway.

You can build your list with JVs.
Create products with JV partners.
Sell your products through JVs.
Earn backend profits to your own customer list through JV offers.

Whenever I do a survey (to my list or live at a conference), the most popular subject is ALWAYS how to build an opt-in email list. We’ve all had it drilled into our heads for years that a list is the way to generate profits (and it is). Yet it’s not that large list that’s important.

The money is the relationship you build with your list through providing content, personal stories, and integrity. If you say something, you do it.

Do you realize the relationships you build with other people in your market are just as important if not more important?

How much time do you invest in finding these potential partners and building your relationship with them?

Here’s a quick strategy you can apply in any market. Pick out the 20 biggest influencers in the marketplace (this could be any number from 10 to 100 or more). Then make it a part of your marketing plan to contact them every month.

One month you send them all a thank you card. Another one you send them a copy of your new product. Maybe you offer them exclusive content. Another one you send contacts for interviews. Each month you follow-up in an effort to grow your relationship personally with each of them.

Your investment will be very small compared to other forms of advertising, but it will be building your relationship with the people who can influence your marketplace. And it only takes one promotion from them to equal advertising you would have spent thousands of dollars on.

That’s why I consider tracking down potential JV partners are one of my most valuable intern procedures.

If you’re interested in being a member of my free intern program, click here…

If you’d like to purchase a copy of every procedure in my intern program, plus all the procedures my virtual assistants use, and my complete affiliate training series, check out the Internet Lifestyle Retirement System. Not only do you get access to all the procedures, you also get to use them to train your team members.