Chapter 1 Introduction to Article Marketing ?You can have brilliant ideas, but if you cannot get them across, your ideas will not get you anywhere.? -Lee Lacocca It is a well known fact that businesses need marketing to survive. No matter how good is your product or how excellent are your services or ideas, you need to reach out to masses in order to generate sales, otherwise you will get to nowhere. The importance of marketing was also highlighted by the CEO of Nike, Phil Night who once said that, ?The most important thing we do is market the product. We have come around to saying that Nike is a marketing-oriented company, and the product is our most important marketing tool?. -Phil Knight, CEO Nike As we all know that, products and services changes with demand and so does the marketing techniques. Previously print media, radio and television were considered to be the sources of marketing but now with the advent of internet, online marketing is flourishing day by day and is becoming the fastest and the inexpensive source of sharing information almost everywhere around the world. As internet is evolving as a social web site with interactive communication, internet marketing has gained popularity. Various statistics reveal that online advertising has grown to be worth tens of billions of dollars annually, in just a few years. According to a report published by Price Water House Coopers (PWC), that in the year 2006, 16.5 billion US dollars was expected to be spent on online marketing in the United States. Also in UK, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that, internet marketing has flourished in recent years becoming a multi-million pound industry.( Source: wwwdotiabukdotnet).According to a study by the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) , spending on online advertising in the UK might reach to 1 billion pounds for the first time, fuelled by increased use of broadband. These figures advocate the growing importance of internet marketing as also reaffirmed by David Silverman, Partner, Entertainment and Media Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers, who said that: 6 "The latest results reaffirm the internet's growing importance for marketers to integrate online advertising into their overall media plans." This is the reason why companies are constantly engaging in adopting various successful internet marketing strategies in order to reach out to their target markets and Article Marketing is one of the most effective of all. This book is dedicated to impart you with an in depth information about Article Marketing. If you want to become a successful online marketer and want to stand out of your competitors through incorporating effective article marketing tactics than this book is essentially worth reading for you and will help you explore what is article marketing, its importance, its scope, its benefits, how to create an effective article strategy and employ valuable article marketing tactics and much more. But before getting into much depth, first let?s have an introduction about article marketing and how it is associated with viral marketing another online marketing phenomenon. What is Article Marketing? Article marketing is a form of online marketing that companies incorporate to advertise products and services to the potential market. The term article marketing is not novel to us, although its form has been changed prominently. Traditionally article marketing was done through print media as it was the only medium of mass communication. Companies or businesses in an effort to increase their customer base used to supply useful content in the form of an article to leading newspapers free of charge. Newspapers in turn publish these articles and in return prints the companies contact information with the article. For example visa consultants may submit an article on the latest visa regulations and newspaper might publish this article with the name and contact information of the visa consultants. Hence it is a win-win situation for both the players. Today with the internet revolution, article marketing has taken the form of internet article marketing. Companies today in order to market their services and products to the customers and to create brand awareness are engaging in article marketing activities via various online article directories like ezine and many others. By posting their articles in various article directories and linking articles with pages of their own websites companies can generate leads for their businesses in order to flourish. Some online marketers often in order to maximize their online article marketing campaign results try to submit their articles to multiple article directories. 7 Importance of Article marketing As we have mentioned earlier that internet is becoming a wider source of communication. This fact is in itself sufficient to manifest the growing importance of online article marketing. Companies today are widely launching article marketing campaigns to develop more and more leads for their business. Before exploring more about article marketing, it is essential to mention that, the success of article marketing hugely depends on the strategies used by a marketer to develop and run an online article marketing campaign and as internet is becoming more and more of a social medium, Viral Marketing is becoming essential for any type of online marketing campaign including article marketing. Marketers who want to market their products and service via creating and publishing articles online should implement effective viral marketing campaign to enhance the affectivity of their article marketing efforts. In the rest of this chapter we will explore about viral marketing, its scope and its importance. What is Viral Marketing? ?Viral marketing is basically word of mouth marketing that is generated through social websites. It is defined as a marketing technique that uses pre-existing social networks like You Tube, Face Book, Twitter etc to increase brand awareness, improve sales and to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes.? Viral marketing is a latest marketing strategy that can get you thousands of new subscribers without incurring huge costs. It is a marketing phenomenon that is characterized by the high pass along rate from person to person as it is being linked from one profile to the next profile. Thus due to its self- replicating nature, it facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message more quickly and more widely to a larger number of audience. This is the reason why it is referred to as Viral, as the term viral is analogous to virus and the messages through viral marketing spreads as quickly as the spread of virus or computer viruses. How Viral Marketing Works? 8 Viral Marketing is all about connections and developing links. The more quality connections a company can make the more business leads they can generate. The more business leads they create the higher the chances that the lead will end up to purchase a good or service. Today many organizations are hiring Viral Marketing Services (VMS) to seek their professional insight in advance internet technology and expertise in effective marketing strategies. By incorporating a social profile gathering system, a VMS company creates interconnections with web sites and social media groups specific to their client?s target market. Not only to common social media web sites like face book, twitter etc, the internet is home to over 300,000 social community web service providers, that has a huge community of active users. Hence, by actively maintaining an extensive analytical database of these connections, a VMS company can successfully link a business to its targeted customers. It is also essential for a marketer to create and develop message that generates interests in the audience. This message can be anything ranging from an article, an e-mail, an eBook, a video, a Flash Game or even to a software that can be downloaded. It is the sharing of any of these that actually makes the item "viral". Most of the websites offer free commercial information online in the form of e-books, journals, articles etc to their subscribers. In such case, the free material being provided should be viral and if one likes it, the message can spread vastly among others. Hence through incorporating viral marketing tools one can implement an effective marketing strategy and promote any kind of marketing example article marketing, e-book marketing, etc. Scope and Importance of Viral Marketing Viral marketing has a potential to generate buzz about your business quickly. Once a marketer launches a viral campaign, its self-replicating nature spreads the message to masses of prospects and also the viral nature makes it a low cost and low maintenance marketing campaign. In addition to that it is also considered as a more trusted source, as your message or products are pushed through people and not you, hence it is generally more trusted by your prospects and build positive brand image and develop better prospects for your business. Also with ever improving technology the scope and success of viral marketing has also enhanced. Statistics reveals that nearly two thirds of the world?s Internet population now visits a social network or blog site weekly. Also a latest study from Pew Internet reflects that social networks are becoming a 9 popular source of information and almost 89% of people forward news, events, and vendor specific information to people in their network. In the presence of such statistics it is evident that, companies either big or small cannot withstand the growing significance of viral marketing and they must integrate viral marketing strategy to ensure success of their online marketing campaign and hence it proves to be one of the effective tools for the success of article marketing efforts. Now having discussed the role of viral marketing let's explore further knowledge about article marketing in the rest of the book.