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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I remember a post ealier that TrustNo1 started about marketing outside of the search engines. There were a lot of offline solutions like buying billboard space, starting a newsletter and passing out business cards.

    Now my problem with all of these solutions is why advertise offline to people who aren't online. This got me to thinking and helped me realize a solution that has been proven to be quite successful. I'm talking about a service that started around December of 2003 called Friendster. This program uses no search engine optimization but quickly climbed to one of the top 100 websites on Alexa in just a matter of a couple months.

    I really have to admire their word-of-mouth advertising campaign. They created a system for people to email their friends into the system. They made it so enticing to it's users that they felt almost obligated to collect as many friends as possible by sending out an email asking for participation. This has to be one of the most successful online advertising campaigns that I've experienced without any use of SEO.

    I love this idea so much that I'm trying to program it into my sites in one way or another. Who has thought about this or even tried it? It's such a simple idea, yet very powerful when done right.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
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    Well, Google have done exactly the same thing with Orkut. I got invited, got half way through an endless form asking me about my politics, sexuality and sense of humour, thought sod this and left. Good luck if you're going to try something like this - I can imagine it would just eat bandwidth and give you very little in return.

  3. #3
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    "Now my problem with all of these solutions is why advertise offline to people who aren't online."

    So when they get home, they'll go online

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    "I can imagine it would just eat bandwidth and give you very little in return."

    I think this really depends on the niche you're working with. Of course Friendster isn't a great niche since it really has no specific draw. In any event, with the amount of traffic they generate and the price to advertise on their site via MarketBanker ($500 for 7 days), I estimate they're making a very decent monthly income.

    Now back to your point about wasting bandwidth. We've been discussing content vs products for some time and I've concluded a good balance is abosolutely necessary to maintain success for the long term. I really hate to rely on search engine traffic unless it's stable. I've seen plenty of ups and downs to realize I really don't want any more downs. The only way to do this is to gain a strong level of support by incoming links and dedicated users.

    Of course the strategy I mentioned above is not *the* solution to inifinite wealth. It's really just another means to traffic. You really have to offer something valuable that people can enjoy so much that they'll invite their friends.

    Bandwidth is cheap, I have over 1000 gigabytes of bandwidth at my disposal every month for the cost of 10% of my profits. It's really my only expense since I don't use PPC. I love traffic and I love content. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing your traffic work for you. I have editors who surprise me day after day with their dedication to my websites. When I can't have income, I can always have dedicated viewers. They help manage my content, monitor my traffic and even write me reviews. Just the other day somebody wrote me a very nice set of guidelines for one of my forums. He's my #1 poster and really offers me more dedication than Google, Yahoo or MSN.

    It's the people that give you value, not the search engines.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  5. #5
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    I think forums are a great marketing technique. I'm starting to see many oppurtunities here. Just launched 1 for one of my sites last nite. What i like about it:

    There are plenty of merchants for what the forum is about.
    You have a nice forum, good atmosphere, the posters there will tell their friends and it just grows from there. Nothing like free word of mouth advertising.
    I link the forum to my site and have already seen a nice little increase.
    I have about 18 different boards on the forum and 1 dedicated to deals and coupons. So people can go to that forum and shop if they want.
    Another thing i love is just by having this forum i can keep up to date on what's hot and happening. What people like and don't like. This gives me lots of ideas on what new pages i can build.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I totally agree. I base every website I build with at least a user registration system and forum. A private message system also really helps in situations like this. Not only is it a great means to collect interested users, it's a great way for them to interact and offer you free information.

    The more interactive features you can offer, the more fun your visitors will have and the more likely it'll be that they return for more.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    BTW, Thanks for the idea Trust!

    I've just created a coupon and discount forum on one of my sites

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> why advertise offline to people who aren't online. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    [adcopy]Do you Yahoo?[/adcopy]

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Okay, I admit that probably wasn't the best statement for me to make. I realize that Yahoo and other internet based companies do advertise offline. My point was that there weren't many online solutions to the question posed.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, that thread i started was just about offline advertising ideas. There were some good ideas, but some also added online ideas. Maybe we should start another thread about online ideas to get traffic to your site besides search engines and PPC and brainstorm that. Like the idea you started this thread with. I think forums are a great idea.
    I read where Patagonia was doing this:

    http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=11542

    Not to sure about that. Besides search engines and offline advertising, there are lots of other online ways to get traffic to your site.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Forums are just a start though, they aren't the answer at all. I always build on top of my forums by adding other interactive features. For example on my file download site, people with a forum account can upload files for review, submit programming code examples, comment on files and code and if you're good you might even become an editor where you can review and reject file submissions.
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  12. #12
    Full Member dak142's Avatar
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    Has anyone here ever evaluated all the Forumn scripts out there. I took a look around and there are many, ranging both quality and cost. I would be curious to know of the experiences of others when it comes to forum script/software.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I use phpBB. It does everything I need and looks rather presentable. Of course some of the code is outdated, but I know it well and can mold it into most anything I want. I've heard about Invision Power Board which might be worth checking out. If you aren't good with PHP and would like to try phpBB, I'd stay away. It's very complicated and has taken me months to tear it apart well enough to make it seamless within my sites. If you don't want to modify the code and leave it as-is, it's everything you need.
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  14. #14
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Even I've been thinking of starting a forum on one of my c*ntent sites.

    How do you get people to register and start posting? I've seen a lot of sites with empty forums...what are they doing wrong?
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  15. #15
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    That's the thing about starting a forum, getting people to participate and get it going. I've had a cheapy, free forum for about 2 1/2 years and basically said i will be closing it within a month and come check out the new forum. There are lot of people addicted to that forum so i know they can't stay away from the new one So that helps a bit.

    At the beginning maybe start some threads out yourself if nobody else is breaking the ice. Have some friends or family help out. At the beginning i see myself participating a lot just to get it going then it should take off on its own.

    There was a thread about this same exact thing awhile back and i can't find it. Someone suggested getting a multiple personality and post under a few names, than kinda thing.

    I think i had a decent start. Launched it last nite and have 52 registered and had 22 online at the same time today.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    "How do you get people to register and start posting? I've seen a lot of sites with empty forums...what are they doing wrong?"

    That's the problem isn't it You need to give people a reason to use your site, offer something other than the forum. Also, never underestimate the value of a "Register" button. People register without even posting a lot of the time. I don't know what they're expecting, but they just like to drop their address.

    The cooler you can make your site, the more real people you'll collect and the more loyal traffic you'll accumulate. If anything post the deals you know about that appear here on ABW. Sometime people trust a forum post more than a 'Coupons' link.

    Just be smart about it. People will come back if they know the webmaster is smart.
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  17. #17
    Full Member dak142's Avatar
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    Since it was not that long ago, I can tell you I found ABW because I was desperate for affiliate help and knowledge. And frankly, there is not much else out there that can shake a stick to ABW. That said, I guess you need to find others searching for information not readily avaiable elsewhere.

    I can think of a few topics I go looking for on google, and do not find the answers I want. Maybe I'm not asking the right questions, or maybe I am, and there is a need.

  18. #18
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>why advertise offline to people who aren't online <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Because they want to shop online and need a reason why. So give them a reason.

    If half the US is online already, market to those that aren't there, give them a good experience and wow, you've got a great new market!!!
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    About the forum method of advertising. I use two forums to advertise my mall and I get steady traffic from both. Best of all the links are there all the time for other new people to see.

    It's just a matter of keeping them interested and coming back.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  20. #20
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    Forums are a great idea but they do take work to build up the traffic and then work to moderate to keep them active and to delete all the Spam and porn.

    I moderate another AM forum besides the one I have here and it can be alot of work to keep things on track, continually start new topices to keep things active and spray water on the flame wars. But it's fun!

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I agree they do take a certain amount of moderation, but doesn't every website need some pampering from time to time. I think with forums and interactive features, an affiliate doesn't need 50 websites to be successful. This is just my theory, but if I can have 5 to 10 strongly interactive websites with a solid product base, that's all I'll need to keep me happy. Afterall Google only needs one Google and Yahoo only needs one Yahoo. It just depends on how interactive you make things.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  22. #22
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    Do a search for viral marketing. There are a lot of good e-books about this topic.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Also, never underestimate the value of a "Register" button. People register without even posting a lot of the time. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I thought maybe that was the problem with forums. People DONT want to register and give out their email address, afraid of getting more spam. Is there some forum software that doesnt require registration?

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