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Internet Marketing and Leveraging the Power of Networks
Creating a network -- meaning a community of users -- for your company is something that has always been valuable, but has become virtually indispensable to the success of any Internet company. The leaders of the Internet -- such as Google and Yahoo! -- all apply the idea of creating a network, and have profited substantially from it.
The best way to create a network is to provide your users with free services. This accomplishes two vital goals:
Attracts Users. Getting qualified traffic to your site is one of the most fundamental objectives of any online business. If you don't get people to your site, you're probably not going to make any money.
Giving away quality content and/or services free from your site is probably the best way to attract users. You increase the likelihood of other people linking to you -- as your site will have quality content worth linking to -- and thus will boost your rankings in search engines. By giving away something for nothing, you also encourage word of mouth; people enjoy informing others of free offerings, and virtually all of us love the idea of receiving something for nothing. As a result, giving away free content and/or services can be one of the most cost-effective ways of getting new users to your site.
Builds Trust. One of the biggest factors in determining how easy it will be for you to sell products/services online is how much the user trusts you. The more expensive your product/services are, and the less recognized your brand is, the more trust will be required of you for you to sell your product/service.
When you provide your users with a quality product or service that is free, they are going to like you. They are going to realize that unlike the vast majority of other companies out there, your firm actually offers something of value -- and best of all, does so for free. As a result, you have earned the trust and credibility needed to sell other products/services to them.
So, what should you offer as a free service? That depends on what industry you're in. One of the best free offerings a firm can deliver, though, is digital content. This can be as straightforward as text or as complex as video editing software. Digital content is a great free offering for two reasons:
1. Digital information is one of the few assets that one can give to another person without losing it oneself. This encourages the spread of your freely distributed product/service, which in turn increases its value to you as a promotional tool.
2. It has no variable costs. Once you've created it, the cost of distributing it is probably close to negligible. As a result, the marketing tactic of delivering a free product/service will not cut too deeply into your bottom line.
Once you have a free product that can attract a large user base, you should be in a great position to sell services to your user base. If your product/service is particularly good and is one that is conducive to repeat usage, you can easily sell services based around your free offering. This can be extremely effective and lucrative if done properly.
Generally speaking, there are three categories regarding ways you can develop revenue streams around your free offering:
Let's explore each method in greater detail.
Selling services essentially involves selling expert consultation or customization to the free product that was offered. The concept is best illustrated through a few examples:
Software companies: An increasingly common practice amongst software developers is to distribute a version of their software that is completely free. No functionality is withheld; the product is available free of charge in its fullest form. Many of the users, though, will require customization to the software -- which the developers of the software are in a prime position to provide. As a result, some software companies are beginning to distribute their product entirely for free, knowing that they can sell custom services to a given percentage of the users. In this way, the free offering becomes a marketing tool that paves the way for closing sales. Such marketing tactics are increasingly replacing advertising as a more effective means of obtaining clients and establishing a brand name.
Consultation: At the turn of the millennium, Internet marketing guru Seth Godin published his book Unleashing the Idea Virus -- and, instead of accepting the hefty advances and publishing deals he was offered, decided to distribute the book for free online. The decision, which was greeted with much skepticism at the time, seems to have been a wise one: the ebook has been downloaded over 1 million times, thus helping to establish Godin as the premiere Internet marketing consultant, and allowing him to command a premium price on consultation and public speaking services. The free distribution of content attracted users and allowed him to earn trust. He could then monetize this by offering service components such as consultation and guest lectures.
Selling Add-ons and Accessories
Another method of creating revenue streams around your free offering is to offer add-ons and accessories that supplement your free offering. One of the most prolific examples of this occurred when bookseller Barnes & Noble began to offer free online courses in a variety of topics. The courses are completely free, but students are encouraged to buy the books that serve to supplement the education provided in the classes. The strategy has proven to be immensely successful, as Barnes & Noble's online courses are a prominent part of the company's offering to this day.
Selling Network Access
With networks being the fundamental concept that drives everything about the Internet, creating a network around your free service - and then monetizing that network -- is something that most certainly can be done. This is most typically done through advertising, premium interaction, or matching services.
Now that you understand the basics of creating a network the last and most important step is to start implementing a network building strategy and test out your ideas in real time.
This article was written by David Waring, CEO of The ActoNetwork. For more information on the power of networks and online marketing in general check out our free Internet Marketing eBook located at http://www.actonetwork.com.
Dont Tell Me What I Cant Do!
Have you ever watched ABC's hit TV show Lost? My favorite episode was titled "Walkabout". In it, we learn that the mysterious outdoorsman Locke was actually paralyzed from the waist down before getting on the doomed 815 flight which crashed and, somehow, gave him the use of his legs back.
How to Use Viral Marketing for Online Profit
When Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith founded Hotmail.com they promoted it with a simple idea they called "Word of computer" advertising. Every message sent by a subscriber had a one-line promotional message attached?."Get Your Private, Free E-mail from Hotmail at www.hotmail.com". Within the first 18 months of business they claimed 12 million sign-ups to their service? more than what CNN and AOL could garner in the same time period. With a cost per acquisition of just 4 cents this was a resounding success and a brilliant use of Viral Marketing Technique.
4 Ways In Which You Can Achieve Critical Mass
Critical Mass Website Promotion is the elite goal rarely attained by website marketers in any industry. Reaching critical mass and getting targeted website traffic on autopilot (meaning you don't have to promote your site for 6 months and the traffic NEVER declines) is the Holy Grail of internet marketing.
Networked Markets Are Democratic, Structured Markets Are Republican
Today I was checking out Michelle's A Small Victory. There are threads on self-publishing that mutated into a dispute about trolls, who was a troll, and whether linking to Little Green Footballs was as "un-nuanced" as linking to "Democratic Underground."
3 Reasons Why I Never Delete Spam Immediately
All of us hate spam and all of us have our own methods of fighting it. Unfortunately, all the methods in the world cannot help us to succeed completely. A long time ago, I heard the expression, "If you can't beat them then embrace them".
With Todays Internet, Is Banner Advertising Worth Your Time?
A banner exchange program is a network of websites that group together to promote each other's website. This is a free service and to join you simply submit your website with the network.
Creative Offline Website Marketing Techniques
Although the vast majority of website traffic is the direct result of search engines, there are many offline marketing techniques that can be used to draw customers to your website. The examples listed below are but a few ways in which you can market your online presence to an offline audience in an inexpensive manner. Some of the examples listed below even can be implemented at no extra cost!
The Secret Weapon of Successful Web Marketing Is
Impulse shopping in the checkout lane may be what drives grocery store profits, but chances are it doesn't do a thing for your business. Your customers are far more likely to need up to nine contacts from you before they trust you enough to buy from you.
10-Essential Points When Considering Pop-Under Advertising
I have been running tests on the use of Pop-Unders to promote several types of products and services. Note that I am discussing POP-UNDER'S... not Pop-UP's. I consider Pop-Up's too intrusive. Pop-Under's on the other hand load in the background when visiting a site and, therefore, are not perceived in the same way as the much more intrusive Pop-Up.
Multiple Streams Of Internet Income
Make your website pay?in millions
Are You Willing To Pay The Price?
Do you believe that there is a price to pay in anything and everything? I do. But I am not necessarily referring to monetary terms. I am not strictly talking about the dollars you hand out when you buy something either.
Have You Got Your Ear To The Ground Or Your Head In The Sand?
What happened on your website yesterday? What about last week or last month? How about in the past hour? How many visitors come to your website as a result of using a search engine? How long do people stay on your website for on average? Which pages do your visitors go to?
Arrgh. . .Those Stupid Internet Marketing Cliches Are True!
If you have read any internet marketing resource ever created, you have no doubt seen simple, one sentence, pot-shot solutions to all of your problems: You will only be successful if you think you are successful. You will make money if you work hard. Think outside of the box. Content is king!
Catapult Your Marketing Success With Joint Ventures
There are many ways to make money on the internet. All methods however, come with a price-tag. For starters, you will probably need to purchase basic business software and relevant learning materials. Planning and developing your ideas will definitely require dedication and perseverance all along the way.
4 Ways to Make Money from People Who Are LEAVING Your Site!
Oh no... are people leaving your site without buying?
How Do You Live the Internet Dream? Automate, Automate, Automate!
There's no doubt that one of the things that excited you about operating your online business was the thought of making money while you sleep. Having free time to spend with your family while - at the same time - generating an income is something almost every person on earth wants. But as you've moved further and further into the Internet business realm, you've most likely discovered that this is hard work!
Finding The Right Internet Marketing Technique For You
Finding the right Internet marketing technique that works best for you is probably going to be trial and error. Different web marketers have found their successful by using different marketing ideas. Each person's target market is different as well. You will have to try a variety before you find the Internet marketing technique that works best for you and your web-based business. Here we will throw out a few suggestions to try and see what works for you.
Three Key Steps to Invention Marketing
Ever see a new product and say to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?" Well, if you stop to think about it, probably everyone one of us has either had an idea for a new product, believe we are capable of a new product idea or knows of someone else who has had a new product idea.
How to Start an Internet Business
The first thing I must say is it's a mine field out there, and you must take time to look at what it is you are going to do in your business.
How to Succeed and Stay on Task with Your Internet Marketing Promotion Strategies. A.C.T.I.O.N..
How to Succeed and Stay on Task with Your Internet Marketing Promotion Strategies. One Simple Word. A.C.T.I.O.N.
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