Business of Marketing Free

Survivors of the early Internet or Web 1.0 undoubtedly remember that the business of marketing “free” online was all that was required to secure millions of dollars in venture capital funding. The business of marketing went something like this in 1999: Dream up a great widget (no need to flush it out); build a website; show venture capitalists your website; tell them a great story about how it will scale if they just add money; get the money and build up the website; give widget for free to get subscribers and a few customers; make a few dollars back on a few million dollars worth of investments; file for IPO; cash check; repeat. Simple, right?

Of course I left a few details out of the above marketing process in order to make this article short, but the main story back then remains the same … build it, give it away for free, and they will come. You can always make up the dollars you lose to acquire each customer by your volume. The scary thing about this marketing scheme was that it almost worked. Some of these Web 1.0 companies built up subscriber lists of hundreds of thousands. A few built lists of millions. Today we realize, as they did back then, that a confirmed subscriber list with full contact information is worth a lot of money. The problem back in Web 1.0 was that they did not have a back end strategy to their marketing funnel. So they spent the money to acquire the subscriber list but they didn’t have a way to make money off of that list.

Here is how you can make money today in the business of marketing free information. You can do this in 7 easy steps. Keep in mind that this is but one strategy. Be creative. There are many ways to build a list of followers online using Web 2.0.

1) First you will need a place to store your subscriber list. I’ve tried many services, both free and paid, and this service is the best in terms of deliverability of your email and ease of use. Sign up at their website below:

2) Create a 10 part how-to video series or a 10 part how-to article series or a 10 part how-to audio series on something that you know how to do really well. One example might be on how to use Photoshop to remove wrinkles or shrink some wide body curves. Another example might be on how to make the best smoothies that rival Jamba juice. A third example might be on how to remove spyware from your computer without having to spend a lot of money for a technician. Use your talents and know-how to create this free information series.

3) If you created a video series, post it on YouTube. But here is the trick: Take the signup email that you received from and put it as the first piece of text in your YouTube video description. YouTube will make this a hyper-link. What this means is that when viewers click on the link to learn more about your really useful how-to video, they will be prompted to sign up to your list to see the next video in the series.

Here is how to test the sequence: Show video one, then ask them to click on your YouTube link to see video two. Use lowcostautoresponder to send them to video two without much fuss. However, put a note at the end of video two and in your confirmation email that if they want to see video three, they will have to confirm their subscription to your list. If they confirm, they will be sent to videos three, four, five, and so on. If they don’t confirm, you’ll know right away that your video was not very appealing to them. You don’t want that prospect on your list anyways.

4) Post videos three, four, five and so on on Google video and make them private. This prevents the general public from being able to find your video. Take a note of these video URLs on Google and put it in your autoresponder.

5) Advertise your YouTube video by:

a) Asking your friends to rate and comment on it.
b) Point links to your video by submitting the very same video on other video sites like Veoh, Viddler, Google video, Yahoo video, and so on.
c) Ping your YouTube video URL.
d) Hand bookmark your video URL.
e) Write an article about your video and submit it to with a link pointing to your video. Then ping your article on Goarticles and bookmark it too.

6) Once people subscribe to your list, write a series of 10 to 20 autoresponder messages. Talk about your how-to subject in more detail. Let them know that your “ezine” or “newsletter” is supported by sponsors. If you need sponsored offers to use to make money from your list, I suggest you sign up here for free. They don’t accept every application, but if you mention that Alex Tran sent you, you will stand a better chance of getting in.

7) Ask them to go to your YouTube videos and rate them and leave their comments.

That’s it!! You can do the same for your how-to articles or your how-to audios.

Good luck and happy subscriber list building. About the only piece that you will have to pay for is the autoresponder. It sure is a whole lot cheaper than VC money though. Trust me on this…

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