Saturday, December 17, 2005

Viral Marketing

You may remember how, in my last post, I talked about an idea that had serious "WOW" factor. Well, we're going to build on that today.


Firstly, what is a viral marketing campaign? It's when something spreads like wildfire, purely through word of mouth. Normally, this happens because the product or idea has "WOW" factor. Well, as you may or may not
know, Jennifer Laycock (of www.searchengineguide.com) set herself a challange: In 30 days, start a business from scratch, using no capital. Well, as of day 22, here's where she's at...
  • Traffic Since Stats Put in Place: 4512 unique visitors
  • Blog Traffic Since Stats Put in Place: 956 unique visitors
  • Total Shirt Sales: $338.74
  • Profit from Shirt Sales: $74.00
  • Profit from Affiliate Sales: $72.34
  • Total AdSense Revenue: $59.26
  • Total Chitika Revenue: $3.23
  • Ebay Sales Profit: $3.00
  • Total Revenue: $211.83

  • -----------------------------------------------
  • Donations to Milk Bank: $4.00
  • Ebay Listing Fee: $2.15
  • PayPal Fees: $1.02
  • Hosting Expenses: $4.96
  • Yahoo! Search Marketing Fee: $5.00
  • cpshop Purchase: $19.77
  • Total Business Expenses: $36.90

  • -----------------------------------------------
  • Total Profit: $174.93
(stats taken from http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/006396.html)

Now, I find this pretty phenomenal. However, is it a fair test?
Well, the answer is part yes, part no.
On the "YES" side, we have the following:
1) She really didn't use any capital other than what she'd brought in.
2) She got to where she is now, without using (as far as I'm aware) any marketing through anything she already did.
On the "NO" side, we have these:
1) She already knew people in the industry (though not everyone, and hey, you only get contacts one way - by doing things like this and getting out and meeting them)
2) She already knew what was involved in starting an Internet business, which a complete newcomer probably wouldn't.
3) She used a Google AdWords voucher, which a newbie probably wouldn't have.

So, the answer is kinda part yes, and part no. However, what it does prove is the effect of viral marketing. How has she driven SO much traffic to the site SO fast?
She posted the challange on forums, and sent press releases to various media people. That meant that she IMMEDIATELY got into the spotlight, so IMMEDIATELY got traffic. She also used Google AdWords to capture traffic.
But more than that, the fact that she gave it a time limit, and has been posting updates, in addition to running the darn thing, has turned a random forum post into a small media sensation. And, all credit to her, it was a great idea, which I'm sure will be greatly copied.

So how can we apply this to ourselves? Simple. Find the WOW factor in what you do. And then exploit that to the fullest. Make people sit up and take notice, and you're going to sell.
Hopefully this will inspire in some way. I know my hat's off to her...
Pete
How to start an Internet business
Internet Business Solutions

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