Posted Monday, August 16, 2004
Viral marketing is probably the number one method for generating traffic and sales - IF it is set up properly.
Take the case of a viral ebook - which means a book that can be passed from one person to another bringing benefits (profits) for each party in turn.
How is this achieved ?
The basic concept is that the book contains links to affiliate products. When a reader of the book makes a purchase from a link then the affiliate receives the commission.
The creator of such a book will allow some of the links to be 'rebranded' which means a person (who we will refer to as the rebrander) can replace them with his own affiliate codes thus collecting commission. This is the obvious incentive for him to pass the book around and begin the viral progression.
If we want to maximize the benefits for everyone and create the perfect viral ebook we need to have THREE key factors in place.
1) Wide Distribution
There are many permutations in the ways that you can offer an ebook. It can be free or paid, and for either option you can charge for rebranding or offer it free; plus you can have part customization or full customization. On top of that, for a paid book you can offer resale rights and even the right to grant resale rights.
Let's keep it simple.
What we want is the widest possible distribution so that we get
the most commission from the affiliate links.
So we will have a FREE book and FREE rebranding rights.
2) Quality Affiliate Links
It goes without saying that your book should contain good content on a topic of interest.
But will readers click on those affiliate links ?
The answer is 'NO' if you copy the poor example of many authors, for instance:
- have you ever opened an ebook and been faced with a barrage of affiliate links ?
- or seen affiliate products which have nothing to do with the theme of the book ? For example in a book about hypnotism you get a link to a web hosting company.
So what is the best way ?
The secret is to have highly relevant links and weave them naturally into the content in a low key style without appearing to push for a sale. So when you discuss a particular topic and want to show where more detail can be found, or how a particular problem can be solved, that's where you can mention the affiliate product as a source of further information. If you want to see really good examples of how to do this read the free book at the end of this article.
See - that last sentence was an ACTUAL working example of how to weave in a link.
3) Maximum Return For Both Parties
You need to get the rebranding balance right.
If you give away an ebook and allow all the affiliate links to be rebranded that is a great deal for the rebrander - but what do you get out of it ? No affiliate commission, just subscribers maybe for your mailing list if you have a sign-up form in the book.
Conversely if you hand out only a few affiliate links for rebranding then that provides little incentive for the rebrander to distribute the book.
Ideally what you want is the maximum motivation for your rebrander which would be
* to allow free rebranding
* to allow ALL the links to be rebranded
but in a way that you can still benefit.
Can that be possible ?
Fortunately it is, using any of 3 different methods
* if the links in the book are for your own products
* If the links are for products for which you have resale rights
* If the links are for 2-tier affiliate programs so that you collect the 2nd tier commission when a rebrander, who has signed up under you, makes a sale
And so, if you use these techniques you can begin a viral marketing campaign which will continue to generate traffic and sales with little on-going effort on your part.
EXCEPT for two issues we need to resolve
1) What happens if everyone rebrands the book and only makes purchases from their own copy ?
Well, I have found that in practise only a minority (say 10%) will take the time to rebrand a book which means that the majority (90%) will be reading your book and purchasing from YOUR links.
So there's no problem here.
2) Suppose you plan to produce a viral book. It's about a popular topic - so it's bound to have a wide circulation - but you can't find any of the three types of suitable links to put in the book, i.e. links to a product of your own, to products with resale rights or for 2-tier affiliate programs.
Is there a solution ?
There is and you can find out the answer in my book "101 SuperTips" - it's actually tip 100.
As you might expect this book is free, with valuable information linking to highly relevant products, and you can rebrand it, again for free.
By all the rules above it's a candidate, I hope you agree, for 'the perfect viral ebook' and a profitable source of revenue for you.
About the Author
Harvey is the author of several viral ebooks including 101 SuperTips, a collection of unique Internet Marketing tips, which you can collect at (http://www.supertips.com/101/)
As a further example of viral marketing you can reproduce this article and change the URL to point to your own rebranded version.