|Dear Internet visitor,
My intention is
to help you own a profitable Internet
Internet Home Business course that will help and guide
you to start off your Home Business on the Internet.
10 COMMON ONLINE
METHODS (Continued )
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In our last lesson, we gave a brief
description of the first five of the 10 most common
Internet marketing methods used by successful SFI
Affiliates. In this lesson, we will briefly describe the
last five. While space prohibits us from giving you more
than a brief introduction to these last five methods in
this lesson, future lessons will address each of these
methods in more detail.
Recall from our last lesson that we
enumerated the most common Internet marketing methods,
particularly useful in promoting the SFI affiliate
program, as follows:
1) Gateway Pages and Search Engine
2) Banner or Textual Ad Placement (Exchange Programs)
3) Banner or Textual Ad Placement (Online Classifieds)
4) Banner or Textual Ad Placement (Affiliate and Paid
5) Building Your Own Content Rich Website
6) Utilizing an Opt-In Program
7) Hosting FFA Pages
8) Using Safelists, Announcement Lists, and Viral
9) Press Releases, Relationship Building, and Offline
10) The Latest New Technique
Also, in the last lesson, we briefly
described the first five. Here's a brief description of
six through 10.
UTILIZING AN OPT-IN
E-mail is a vehicle that works in
conjunction with other interactive features of a Website
to create a flow of communication with your prospects.
In order to avoid spamming, you have to have consent
from a prospect to send them e-mail. The best way to get
that consent is to have them do something on your
Website that establishes that consent. Such devices are
called "opt-in" programs.
The simplest example of an opt-in
program is to have a line on your Website which says
"Join our Newsletter" and provides a form for the viewer
to submit his or her e-mail address. From there, the
extent and variety of opt-in programs that can be
created is limited only by imagination. Often effective
are contests. Viewers enter a contest to win something
by entering their e-mail address. Often, there are
interactive games which pit the viewer against other
players around the world, and the scores and results of
the games are communicated to the participants with
e-mail. Particularly interesting is one which has a slot
machine interface on the site which you can play for
free, but if you accumulate any winnings, you have to
opt-in to collect your money.
There are many types of opt-ins. You
can sign up to receive news, weather, stock tips,
pictures, and many other types of information to be
received by e-mail. There are many educational opt-in
programs for school children (and adults) including
"science facts," "strange animals," "today in history,"
and other education subjects. A prayer of the day, week,
or month is available from many different sources.
You can also allow people to post
information on your Website and thereby gain consent to
e-mail them. Examples of this are business directories
and FFA pages (discussed below), among many others.
Remember, imagination is the only limitation.
It is both intuitive and supported by
research that an e-mail inbox is a much more effective
place to communicate with a prospect than a Website.
But, it takes the Website to get the necessary
permission to communicate by e-mail. Thus, the "Opt-In"
program is a crucial step in an effective Internet
One of the most effective opt-in
programs on the Internet is the SFI marketing Group's
affiliate program. As an SFI affiliate, you need only
point people from your Gateway page to the SFI page for
this very effective opt-in to be made available to your
HOSTING FFA PAGES
"FFA" stands for "Free for All" which
is short for "Free for all to post here." FFA's are
Websites where you can post a link and perhaps a short
description to your Website without having to pay an
advertising fee. When you post on one of these FFA
sites, you will receive an e-mail from the site host
confirming that your link was placed and, in all
likelihood, containing an advertisement as well.
It is not an effective use of your
time to individually post your link to these sites.
These sites are actually rarely seen by anyone. Plus,
almost all these FFA sites have a maximum number of
posts that will be displayed. The old ones are dropped
to make room for the new ones. In many cases, this
process occurs in just minutes or hours so that your
link is not on the site long enough for it to do you any
good at all.
There are FFA submission services that
will post your link to hundreds of these sites at once.
That makes it somewhat more time effective, but even
with that, this is still not a terribly effective way to
promote your Website. Should you use one of these
submission services, be sure to create a separate e-mail
address to use. You will receive confirmation e-mails
from several hundred FFA sites after using one of these
submission services. It will choke down your e-mail.
Thus, do not use your everyday e-mail address when
making such submissions.
An effective way to use FFA sites,
however, is to HOST an FFA site. When you host an FFA
site, you get to send out all the confirmation e-mails -
with YOUR ad in them! There are services on the Web
which will allow you to host an FFA site on their server
without charge or for a small fee. There are also
autoresponder services available (for free or a small
fee) which you can connect to your FFA site to send the
There is helpful information on
posting to and hosting FFA sites on the SFI DBoard
ANNOUNCEMENT LISTS, AND VIRAL MARKETING
Safelists are e-mail lists which allow
you to join and post advertisements in exchange for
receiving advertisements from others. You and other
members send your e-mail to a list address and from
there it is distributed to the members of the list.
There are several such lists at Yahoo! Groups and other
e-mail list services. These also are only effective if
done in bulk. That is, you must create a separate
"throw-away" e-mail address to sign up for these and use
group mail software to send to hundreds of lists at
once. The e-mail you will receive from being a member of
hundreds of lists will be in the thousands per day.
Thus, it is imperative that you use a different e-mail
address from the one you use for daily correspondence.
It is not easy to use safelists
effectively. Until you are experienced, you should seek
the tutoring of a more experienced Internet marketer in
setting this up properly. You can begin to learn,
however, by going to Yahoo! Groups and searching for
lists that allow advertising. For now, just join one or
two groups to become familiar with the process. Do not
expect any results from the ads you post to just one or
two groups, but use it as a learning process. It will be
much easier for you to master the skills necessary to
effectively market with safelists in bulk if you have
had some hands-on experience with the lists first.
Announcement Lists are similar to
advertising lists but with a slant toward announcing new
sites rather than advertising per se. Unless you obtain
a list of "safelists" from a very trusted source,
carefully read the rules for each list before you post
and keep your posts within the guidelines for the list.
The next Internet marketing technique,
VIRAL marketing, is interesting but not very effective.
Viral marketing is designed to circumvent the spam rules
by hoping the recipient of the e-mail will forward it on
to the people on his or her forwarding list. Since you
have not sent the e-mail to these other persons
directly, you can not be accused of spam. The concept is
that the e-mail will spread out to many recipients like
a virus - being passed from one to another to another.
Each recipient receives the e-mail from someone with
whom they have a pre-existing relationship. Since a
pre-existing relationship is an exception to most spam
rules, the e-mail is not considered spam.
All of us have had the misfortune (or
perhaps good fortune, if you have a lot of spare time)
of being on a number of our friends' e-mail forwarding
lists. Every time they receive a joke that they think is
funny or the latest urban legend ("Watch out for
AIDS-infected needles hidden in theater seats or gas
pump handles."), they very generously pass it on to us
and the 15 or more other people on their list. Many of
the people on their list then pass it on to 15 or more
other people. Observing this phenomenon, it occurred to
a number of enterprising Internet marketers to try to
harness this distribution technique for marketing.
A consulting group I organized ran an
experiment on viral marketing about 18 months ago. Our
results were interesting. What we found was that in
order for the distribution to be effective (i.e. for
people to keep passing it on) it had to be either of a
"hysterical" nature (ex: hidden AIDS needles or people
stealing your kidneys) or it had to be humor or complete
nonsense. Otherwise, it died in two generations (that
is, it was not passed on more than twice). In theorizing
about these results, we considered the effectiveness of
an ad traveling along with one of these hysterical or
nonsensical e-mails which would survive several
generations. We concluded that the state of mind induced
by either the hysteria or the nonsense of the primary
message was not conducive to generating response to the
ad. In other words, the ad did not flow with the
material and thus would not be effective.
One of the funniest things I have seen
was the viral e-mail that convinced the reader that the
technology now existed for an ordinary computer monitor
to take someone's picture like a camera. You were then
given a link to a page where you were instructed to hold
your face in front of the monitor and then click a
"shutter button" and count down the exposure time. To
see the results, you were taken to a full screen picture
of a surprised looking monkey - which was a pretty
accurate picture of you at the time! This particular
viral achieved extremely wide distribution. However, it
could certainly not be used effectively for marketing.
Who wants to buy or join something when it has just made
a monkey out of you?
Thus, while viral marketing per se
does not appear to be an effective Internet marketing
technique, an understanding of its limitations can lead
us to consider the most powerful technique of all -
sincere communication. People decide whether to pay
attention to e-mail based on two obvious factors: the
source and the subject. Viral e-mail, by definition,
comes from a trusted source. It also has an attention
grabbing subject. Its limitation is that it is either
not serious at all (just humor or a practical joke) or
it is too serious (warning of some bizarre danger).
There is a somewhat slower, yet very
effective process, however. You can send sincere
communication to someone you know (and who you know does
not mind receiving e-mail from you) and sincerely tell
them about your successful experience with an affiliate
program such as SFI. Do not make it sound like an ad in
any form or fashion! Rather, let it just be a sincere
sharing with them of your experience. Mix in other
things about your life and inquire about their lives so
that it is not just a single subject e-mail. They, in
turn, may become interested in your program and may
later join. If they do, they may later share their
successful experience with others that they know. And so
it continues and grows! Let's not call this process
"viral marketing." Let's call it "infectious
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING, AND OFFLINE PROMOTION
While the offline world does not exist
to the exclusion of the online world, neither does the
online world exist to the exclusion of the offline
world. Although the SFI program is primarily online, you
can certainly use offline marketing in conjunction with
your online techniques. You should combine offline and
online efforts in effective ways. For example, you can
send classified ads and press releases by e-mail to
newspapers, which will then appear in print
publications. The printed announcements and ads can then
direct people online to your Website. Successful SFI
Affiliates use the two together effectively.
You can use the relationship building
techniques effective in the offline world in the online
arena as well. Relationship building and "infectious
enthusiasm" are things that occur both online and
offline. You can meet people online and then build a
relationship which carries over to the offline world.
You can communicate with people online that you have met
and known from the offline world. The bottom line is
that it takes trust to induce someone to buy or join. It
takes a relationship of some sort to build trust. These
principles have always been true in the offline world
and they are still true in the online world. The
relationship begins when people first see your ad and
they continue to judge you by everything that follows.
An ad does not sell—it starts a relationship. The
resulting relationship sells—provided it becomes a
THE LATEST NEW
Have you heard of "vortals"? They are
single subject portals and they are the latest buzz.
And, hey, what are "portals" anyway? Isn't that what we
used to call "Search Engines" before they added a bunch
of new features and some personalization capabilities?
The only thing constant about the Internet is that it is
The latest tip is that you should be
on a constant search for new subject specific portals (vortals)
dealing with your subject and make sure your site gets
listed there. Search for these vortals through the
search engines by searching for words dealing with your
product or service. When you find them, read the rules
for posting and post a link to your site there.
One constant is that you should always
stay on top of what's new on the Internet and be one of
the first to take advantage of each new technique as it
becomes available. You will need to stay informed and be
adaptive to be successful in Internet marketing. How can
you do that? There are a bunch of experts at the SFI
sites just waiting for you to read their articles and
ask them questions. Hang out with the right people and
you can not help but be successful.
Remember that these last two lessons
have been just a brief introduction to many different
concepts. Do not be concerned if you are still a little
confused. Things will become clearer as we address each
method in more detail as this course continues. You can
get more information immediately by joining FCS and
consulting the experts there.
WHAT'S COMING NEXT
In our next lesson, we will discuss
the history and evolution of affiliate programs on the
Internet. You will see how the SFI marketing Group has
established itself at the forefront of the new
revolution, empowering home-based entrepreneurs by
drawing from the best of the traditional networking
concepts and applying them successfully to the digital
by George Little
Copyright (year) Panhandle On-Line, Inc.
License granted to Carson Services, Inc. for
distribution to SFI affiliates. No part of this work may
be republished, redistributed, or sold without written
permission of the author.
For more information on the Internet Income
Course and other works and courses by George Little, see
For Web Hosting services specially designed for
SFI affiliates, see www.profitpropulsion.com.
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