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Cost-Effective Online Marketing – Article Viral Marketing Techniques that Generate Free Targeted Traffic, Build Customer Trust, and Increase Google Keyword Ranking FortuNet Solutions www.TrafficVirusEbooks.com by Brad Dunleavy Advertising expenses can put your online business out of business The Internet has changed the dynamics of advertising. Online business owners are embracing new and cost-effective ways to market their online businesses. Viral Marketing is an increasingly popular marketing trend that is becoming a common place expression among online marketers. This simple but effective strategy has turned many average people into multimillionaires literally overnight. Now the average person has a way to compete with the massive advertising budgets of big commercial companies. This is no overstatement. Microsoft bought out the original creators of Hotmail because of a clever viral marketing strategy. The original owners of Hotmail started by giving away free email accounts and advertised Hotmail at the bottom of every email sent out. In a very short period of time they had millions of customers and millions of dollars after Microsoft decided to buy them out. Their entire marketing campaign cost nothing. Table of Contents Executive Summary……………………………………………… ……………… 2 Why Viral Marketing….……………………………… …………………………. 3 What is Viral Marketing?........................................................................ ................ 4 Article Viral Marketing What are Articles?......................................................................... .............. What’s an Article Directory?......................................5............................... What Makes Articles Viral?........................................................................ Other Benefits of Article Marketing…………………………… ………... 6 Disadvantages of Article Marketing…………………………… ………... 7 Conclusion………………………………………… ……………………………... 8 1 Executive Summary This white paper explains a relatively new online marketing technique called viral marketing. Viral marketing is still in its infancy, but online marketers are slowly catching on to this powerful and free form of advertising. The number of viral marketing techniques currently being used online is vast, but article viral marketing, in particular, is ideal for viral marketing beginners. Article viral marketing offers a number of benefits other viral marketing strategies do not. Hundreds of free online article directories have appeared online in the last few years allowing online marketers can take advantage of this unique opportunity. Article viral marketing, if done manually, is 100% free, and the marketer can see results in days. Newer websites get indexed in Google in a matter of days, not weeks. Marketers that take the time to research keywords, and use them in their articles, can benefit from ranking in Google under popular keywords. Articles, if written properly, will build trust in the potential visitor before they even visit the website. Article viral marketing is powerful, but time consuming. To solve this problem, serious article marketers are turning to software applications that automate the article submission process. A new and robust piece of software, call Article Submitter, has completely automated the article submission process to over 200 article directories. The article viral marketing phenomenon is here to stay. It is an innovative marketing technique every online business should implement, or at the very least consider. 2 Introduction to Viral Marketing You may not be bought out by Microsoft because of a clever viral marketing strategy, but this shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of the viral marketing phenomenon. This paper explains how you can implement a very inexpensive viral marketing strategy in your online business using articles. Article viral marketing has a number of benefits that can quickly turn an average online business into a thriving one. Articles not only create a viral marketing strategy, they also increase a website’s Google ranking on keyword searches. Many small businesses starting out have small advertising budgets, and for some advertising is the biggest obstacle to overcome. There’s no better advertising than free advertising. “31% of small businesses say their biggest barrier to marketing online is the cost of buying ads; 18% don't know enough about how to do it.” --Affinity Internet, November 2005 Big businesses spend millions testing their advertising campaigns. Some campaigns are successful, but a majority of advertising campaigns fail. Successful businesses understand that testing the market, as well as the marketing campaign itself, is key to their overall success. Once a “winning formula” is found, it is a matter of scaling the campaign to its maximum potential. Most small businesses can’t afford the number of tests it takes to find a successful marketing formula. This is especially true for new businesses whose income remains constant, while debt continues to increase for months or years (visithttp://www.marktaw.com/Work_and_Business/Why-Businesses-Fail.ht). There are many reasons why businesses fail. Even businesses selling the best product at the best price can fail because no one knows they exist or their sales techniques don’t convert visitors into buyers. Getting the word out about your product is critical if your business is going to have any chance of succeeding. For newer companies, reducing expenses can mean the difference between success and failure. The following pages explain what viral marketing is, discuss viral marketing strategies using articles, and provide information on Article Submitter—new software that automates the entire article submission process; saving time and money. 3 What is Viral Marketing? Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) defines Viral Marketing as a marketing technique that uses pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating processes. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral marketing is slowly becoming a common place term and really means word-of- mouth advertising. Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass along a marketing message voluntarily and creates the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. “Viral marketing campaigns produce 750% more clickthroughs than traditional banner ads.” --MarketingExperiments.com, November 2006 Viral marketing strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to market the message to thousands and then to millions. Like a real human virus, such as “the common cold”, viruses only spread when they're easy to transmit. Viral marketing works on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. The digital world has made copying information fast and easy. Clever viral marketing strategies take advantage of common human desires. The desire to be popular, loved, understood and wealthy; desire is what drives us. Social networking websites such as FaceBook and MySpace have increased the average person’s circle of friends. It’s not uncommon for FaceBook users to be in contact with hundreds of people they have known throughout their lives. Social networks can be ethically exploited using viral marketing techniques. People involved in specific social networks tend be likeminded people—resulting in more targeted traffic than the average advertising campaign. Strategically placing your viral marketing message into an existing social network can quickly reproduce your message throughout it. 4 Article Viral Marketing Printed articles in magazines and newspapers are great ways to get exposure for your business, but they are also very expensive. Posting articles online, however, is free. An online article can be defined as a one or two page online information document that is usually posted to online article directories in order to gain credibility and increase website traffic. An article can discuss almost any subject, for example: How to Build a Potato Gun; Car Buying Secrets; Time Management as a Single Parent. There are no limitations, but articles that turn into a successful viral marketing strategy do possess a number of common characteristics. Articles must contain information that is in demand. If no one is interested in the information, it will never turn into a successful viral marketing strategy. It’s important to understand that articles are not advertisements. The purpose of an article is to inform. Blatant advertisements and sales letters disguised as articles quickly get deleted from article directories, and the website that posted it will be permanently banned from posting articles on the directory. Articles are not supposed to tell the intended audience everything they need to know. Instead, the article should try to peak the readers interest, provide enough quality information to build the readers trust, and entice the reader to visit the website to get more information. What’s an Article Directory? An Article Directory is a information resource website that allows online businesses and people to post and read free articles. There are hundreds of quality article directories online that allow online business owners to post their articles for free. There are articles written on almost every subject imaginable. Anyone can visit an article directory, search an article topic, and read an article for free. Visit www.ezinearticles.com to see an example of an article directory. 5 What Makes Articles Viral? Articles that help people understand something or solve a problem can quickly turn into a successful viral marketing strategy. The level of success depends on a number of factors, but most notably, the market demand for the information, the quality of the information and the quality of the solution. There are three key things that make an article viral: 1. The article provides quality information that is informative. Useless information won’t turn into a successful viral strategy. 2. The article is free. This is a key trait for almost every successful viral marketing strategy. Offering free valuable information will get people to share it. 3. The article has a signature tag. The signature tag consists of the author’s name and website link. When articles are copied and shared among other article directories and websites, the signature tag stays intact. Anyone who removes the signature tag is in violation of copy right laws. Also, it’s a good idea to encourage people to pass around your article. Just write the following below in your signature tag: Please feel free to use this article on your website or email it to your subscribers. Nothing can be altered and the author’s name and website link must remain in intact. Thank you. Other Benefits of Article Marketing Articles do more than just create viral marketing strategies. Articles can also boost a websites Google ranking on keyword searches, get a website indexed in Google within days, and help build visitor trust and credibility. The reasons are as follows: 1. The signature tag links back to the author’s website. These links are known as backlinks. Backlinks boost a website`s popularity. Google, and other search engines, use complex algorithms to determine a website’s popularity; the more websites that link to a website, the higher the website’s popularity score. Google considers websites with higher popularity scores as more important; therefore, popular websites rank higher in search results. Spending a little time researching keywords that target a specific market and using these keywords in articles can go a long way. 2. Articles can also be used as a backdoor method to get websites quickly indexed in Google and other search engines. Google programs frequently search article 6 directories for new content and follow signature tag links. Once found the article and the website is indexed in the search engine directory. 3. Articles also help build trust in visitors before they even visit the website. As the saying goes, “Give first and prove your worth.” Articles that provide quality content that the reader finds valuable are more likely to win the reader’s trust. A customer’s trust is the biggest barrier to break in order to make a sale—especially online. A visitor in a trusting state of mind is more likely to buy. When it comes to selling the math is simple; no trust equals no sale. Disadvantages of Article Marketing The one disadvantage of article marketing is that it is extremely time consuming. Writing the article is only half the battle. It takes time to post them on the article directories. Accounts with user names and passwords have to be set up on every article directory the article is to be posted. Creating hundreds of accounts and managing all the user names, passwords and website address takes a lot of time and organizing. Searching and finding article directory sites is another time consuming process requiring many hours of research. Manually managing an article directory campaign can be quite challenging. However, there are solutions that can automate this process. Article Submitter is online marketing software that automates the article submission process. Article Submitter has access to a total of 374 article directories, saving hours of time trying to find article directories. An article directory account only has to be set up once. Article Submitter stores the user names and passwords for all 374 article directories. One click of a mouse button will automatically submit an article to 210, of the 374 article directories. The remaining article directories do require the operator to be present, but only requires the operator to click a mouse button. It is still faster and easier than manually submitting. When an article is submitted, Article Submitter enters the account information (user name and password) for all 374 article directories and submits the article automatically for the first 210 article directories. Any marketer who is serious about article marketing can save hundred of hours by not spending valuable time performing routine tasks. For more information visit http://www.trafficvirusebooks.com/Article-Submitter.htm 7 Conclusion Article marketing has many advantages. Not only can articles create a viral marketing strategy, but they can also increase a website’s search engine ranking and build trust among its readers. Article directories are free and online businesses should take full advantage of them to maximize their article’s exposure. Manually submitting articles is time consuming. Article Submitter was specifically designed to automate as much of the submission process as possible—freeing up time so you can focus on building your business. For more information visit http://www.trafficvirusebooks.com/Article-Submitter.htm 8
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