Friday, June 4, 2010

Get Your Viral E-Mail Forwarded

Getting recipients of your viral advertising e-mail to forward it to their friends and coworkers isn’t as hard as it sounds. The whole trick is to make them WANT to share it and thereby share your advertisement. Neat! Cool! Free!

Because entertainment has value, interactive content like a quiz or test can inspire forwarding, especially if it’s fun. Personality tests, fitness quizzes, or compatibility questionnaires are all things that I have received and sent at one time or another.

A really cool, multimedia experience is always going to achieve some pass-along action. Rich media email is getting a lot of press of late. Someone is always touting the benefits. It does take more time and a little money but the messages have great appeal. Rich media has the advantage of being new and therefore has the novelty and tech factor. That alone is often enough for the message to be seen as valuable and worth forwarding.

There are vendors like RidicalMail and AdTools that have “Forward to a Friend” capabilities built right into their technology. Right now this works but eventually marketers will still rely on the value of the proposition in their message to be enough to distinguish it from the rest.

So should you try to capitalize on viral marketing? Absolutely! You would be a fool not to include things in your e-mail advertising campaign that would inspire forwarding. You should certainly try to reap the benefits of reaching more than your target audience.

You need to stretch those advertising dollars so hard you make George cry. You do, however, need to understand that viral marketing is a tactic that works toward achieving your campaign objective.

Oh…one more thing. No matter how brilliant you craft the offer and no matter how great the message, if the customer visits your site and has an experience less than what was promised, it will come back to bite you.

How to Make Viral E-Mail Legal

Concerns over sending unsolicited email is at the heart of the legality issue of using viral advertising. By using viral marketing tactics carefully, however, marketers can avoid the negative reactions and gain an excellent return on investment (ROI) t as they increase the reach of their marketing message to a targeted group far beyond their original audience.

Here are a few insights on how to execute a viral marketing campaign most effectively.

• Offer an incentive. Viral marketing works best when a valuable and tangible incentive is offered that will encourage people to forward an e-mail message to their friends. Marketers should, however, cap the incentive to a specific quantity to avoid spam-like distribution of the message.

• Do not consider the referral an opt-in. When a customer refers a friend, the referral shouldn’t be considered an opt-in. A name and e-mail address given by a person’s friend does not constitute an opt-in by the individual, so the data should be deleted immediately after the referral email is sent. The referral email should provide the recipient with the option to opt out if he or she does not want to receive future mailings.

• Personalize the referral e-mail. Response rates increase dramatically when users can see that a message is coming from a friend, so it is always best to personalize the e-mail message to show that it is coming from a recognizable source. The subject line is the key component in a viral marketing e-mail because it can immediately identify the e-mail as friendly. A good subject line might read, “FYI: Jane Doe thought you’d like 20% off at”

• Continually promote friendly referrals. Marketers who would like to have their messages forwarded frequently should place a viral marketing offer in every relevant outgoing e-mail message.

Using E-Mail as a Viral Marketing Strategy

Using E-Mail as a Viral Marketing Strategy

Viral Marketing using e-mail is not an objective. It is part of a campaign strategy that is used to achieve objectives. In order to achieve greater branding success exposure, you craft your e-mail message or offer in a way that it encourages pass-along.

Viral marketing is all about producing a message with a quality offer or incentive for pass-along.

Just suggesting that email recipients forward your message to their friends is not viral marketing. Just a message at the bottom of your email that says, “Feel free to forward this message to a friend” is certainly not viral marketing at its best.

You must offer something worthy of being shared… a valuable discount, vital and timely information, a bit of humor, or a quiz or personality test. Offer an incentive for sharing like additional entries into a sweepstakes or an added discount. Viral Marketing happens naturally. It is very often quite successful.

Let’s say that you receive two e-commerce offers in your in-box. Both of them are for an electronic product that you are interested in buying yourself or know that a friend is shopping around for. One offers a discount…a good one of maybe 25%, and the other offers free shipping. Shipping costs are high today but free shipping is pretty much expected. A 25% discount is certainly attractive. Of the two offers, which offer are you more likely to forward to a friend?

Relevant information, research, or studies are all examples of content that may be viewed at possible Pass-along material. Interactive content like a quiz or test com inspire a recipient to forward an e-mail… especially if it is fun. I have forwarded personality tests, fitness quizzes and compatibility questionnaires myself…haven’t you? Entertainment has value.

The bottom line is that the message must be perceived as having value in order to get recipients to forward your message.

Viral advertising using email

Viral advertising using email was the earliest form of this phenomenon. Everyone wants his or her marketing message to be viral, or have a viral aspect and capitalize on viral marketing. Why not? It’s free and effective. The problem is that most people don’t understand what it is that makes their marketing email message worth of being passed along.

The concept of making an advertisement on email become viral is actually pretty simple. You put something in there that people will want to share with their family and friends, something they will want to spread around. Something interesting or funny that will get your message forwarded and forwarded again. The forwarding is what makes it viral. If it gets deleted or just ignored it isn’t going to be viral.

What won’t work:

1. Simply suggesting that your email be forwarded is ineffective. A note at the bottom that says “Feel free to forward this message to a friend” isn’t going to make it happen.

2. An email that offers nothing more than information about the product or service you are trying to sell won’t work either. Competition is stiff on all fronts.

What will work:

1. The message must be perceived as having value. Relevant or timely information, research or studies are examples of content that may be viewed as potential pass-along material. Interactive content like quizzes or personality tests are things that do get passed along because they are entertaining.

2. Multimedia experiences get passed along. Rich media email is getting a lot of press of late. People, myself included, are always touting the benefits. Yes, it is does take a bit more time and money investment but the messages have a great appeal and they do get shared with others….which is the objective of viral advertising.

Use Your eBook to Build Your List

Using your eBooks, e-reports and e-courses is a great way to build your list. You can use all these things as an “incentive” for joining your affiliate program as a “thank you” for visiting your web site or as a “bonus” when someone purchases a product or service from you.

A lot of e-Businesses use them but some are make two big mistakes when they do.

Mistake number 1: They upload these things to their web site and publish the download link without capturing a name or an email address. They are missing the point of using these things. The point is to build a list. You don’t market to ghosts.

Instead of uploading your items to your server and just publishing the download link, be a little smarter. Set yourself up a mini-site where you can direct people to and for the price of their email addresses and names they can have the link sent to them.

Now you not only have a person to market to, you also know they are interested in your product or service. Presto! Your list just grew.

Mistake number 2: They just don’t take the time to customize eBooks, etc with their own links inserted into them. The thing is….if you are giving away an eBook with someone else’s links in it then all your marketing is paying off all right….for the person whose links are in the eBook. Why would you do that? You are working for them instead of helping yourself.

So do you want to be “they” or do you want to use eBooks a little smarter? Take the trouble and go to the expense of getting a customization license. It’s worth it. If others don’t…then they will be marketing for you. Search the Internet for “customization license”.
Leverage on Email Marketing

What to do with your eBook

Once you have your eBook written and checked and re-checked and checked again for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and that the links all work, you are ready to put it to work for you. Be absolutely certain that the links to your pages and especially to your sales page all are working links.

The object is to get your eBook to as many different places as possible. Some of your readers will help you to get it to different places and each place it goes it becomes a new salesman for you. Post your eBook to as many of the eBook directories as you can. Many will let you post it for free or will let you post a link on their site to your eBook. To find these sites go to Google and type in “ebook directories”. This is now your personal viral marketing system. Once it gets going, you can’t stop it…..not that you want to stop it.

It is certainly not a requirement but it is a good idea if you can create a cover for your eBook. Some sites offer free eBook cover templates. You just choose a pattern and then add the text. You can buy cover templates. There are even sites that will create a cover just for you and do it for free. Statistics prove that an eBook will be downloaded more when a nice cover is displayed. Search the internet for these sites.

The traditional book is here to stay. Advertising on paper is here to stay, as well. The marketing eBook as a viral salesman is here to stay, too. Don’t discount the value or underestimate its worth to you and your online marketing. It can be one of your best marketing tools and it is free.

eBook Formats

eBook Formats

At first most of the marketing eBooks came in EXE format. The eBook is delivered to the reader in one EXE file which can be opened from windows like a program but lately more and more eBooks are being published in PDF format. The PDF format required that a reader have an Adobe reader. Adobe readers can be downloaded free.

There are advantages to both the EXE format and the PDF format.

The advantages of the EXE format are that you can take HTML code and compile it into an EXE format eBook. It can be used Off-line. You can put just about any feature into an eBook in EXE format that you can put into a web site including sound, animated graphics, hyperlinks to other parts of the eBook and hyperlinks to web pages. You have a lot of flexibility using the EXE format.

The advantage of the PDF format is that you can very easily and quickly convert a text document to the PDF format. The document need not be created in HTML first. You can have images and hyperlinks to web pages in a PDF eBook. One of the biggest advantages is that the PDF format can be read by both windows and MAC users.

One disadvantage of the EXE format is that MAC users cannot read them and that if you want to make your eBook using Microsoft Word, you must take the time to add the HTML code to the document. It isn’t all that hard to do but it can be time consuming. You do get faster, however, with a little practice.

The disadvantage of the PDF format is that you can’t put a lot of the fancy stuff in that you can when you use the EXE format. PDF format books read more like a traditional book.



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