Facebook. Myspace. You've no doubt heard of these social networks, even if you haven't used them. They are a potential goldmine, so it would be negligent to not discuss them – at least to give you an understanding of the potential profit that can be earned from their proper use in a marketing context.
Before social networks existed, there were newsgroups. Their limitation was that they were a completely linear model, much like a broadcast email.
With social networks, the ability to add to your list is multiplied. There is nearly unlimited potential due to the member's ability to cross-communicate. In addition, groups are formed around specific interests. This creates a gathering of individuals who share a common interest. Because of this ability combined with the gathering of those individuals, we can now use it as a form to make money.
To utilize this technology, find a few groups to which your product may appeal. You can now browse through these interest groups and select a broad base of people to receive your message. Just as with article posting, you will want to post and leave your link. Don't just post your link on the message boards, telling people to check you out. Remember, know like and trust. You have to be credible as well as add value in order to gain their interest.
Once you have identified those groups, reach out to your audience and get them interested in what you have to offer. An example would be if you wanted to sell a new mixer. You wouldn't want to go into a shoe store, they would have no need for it, but if you went to a bakery, that would be a start. Make sure that you know the difference between features and benefits, but don't expect them to get from one to the other.
Keep in mind we aren't telling them to make a purchase; we're not door to door salesmen. One of the advantages of the internet is the ability to form these relationships with multiple people and do so quite easily.
Get them interested in your product or knowledge. As you do so, they will be hitting your squeeze page and adding themselves to your opt-in list. Then they get your free gift or eBook. This gives them a taste, and builds what is called social equity. This is your reputation, simply put.
Now that you've gone into these groups, give them that first glass of water. Get them interested in your product or knowledge and sell them the second glass. You potentially have more clients when they pass the information on to their contacts. This is how you can get other groups interested that may not have had a previous interest.
This is one of the key points about so called "viral marketing". If you have 100,000 people, in 100 groups, you can access 100 key individuals who will then access the 100,000 for you. Through this principle of leveraged effort, combined with your website's leveraged time, you are now working more than 24 hours a day in essence, with little to no effort.
What you now have is an effective marketing tool that builds on your existing infrastructure. Ideally, you should be adding contacts every day. When you have people adding to your list every single day, that never saw your original message – you truly have cause to be excited.
Your goal is to create such an initial impact, that you will have an effort free "positive growth matrix". This essentially is when without any additional work on your part; the number of people adding to your list exceeds attrition, or the rate at which people leave your list. Once this happens, you've reached a "critical mass". When the existing base adds say 1% to your list size every week, the effects are much like compound interest.
This does NOT mean to let up your efforts. If you are growing your list, and thereby your profit with no effort, how much can you increase it by not letting up? This is your personal challenge, and you're competing against yourself.
Make sure to track your efforts, and continue expanding to other groups or even other social networks. You will certainly be pleased with the results. You've almost got all of the tools in place. How exciting is it to know that once you've reached this critical mass, you have a source of income which isn't based upon additional effort? Imagine taking a paid vacation - after all of this work, you're almost ready for one, aren't you?
E. Alan Cowgill