Monday, February 23, 2009

Web Secret #40: Dropbox

Imagine that you had a magic folder in your "My Documents" folder and any time you dragged a document or a photo into that magic folder, it was instantly backed up to a magic online account that you could access from anywhere. In addition, the files would magically appear in a similar folder installed on your colleague's computer or your iPhone.

Magic? No, Dropbox!

After installing Dropbox, (which takes seconds), there is a folder placed in your "My Documents" named “My Dropbox”. To sum the service up in 1 sentence: any files placed into this folder will synchronize and be available on any other computer you've installed Dropbox on, as well as from the web. Also, any changes you make to files in your Dropbox will sync to your other computers, instantly. After the installation, there is nothing to manage.

If you have a single computer, this Dropbox folder is effectively a backup solution. If you have more than one PC (or Mac) in the account, any files placed into this folder on one computer will automatically be synchronized onto all others running Dropbox in the same account.

This creates a nice way to send files to and fro to a colleague – you just share the same Dropbox account - effortlessly.

There are two other great DropBox features.

The first is that Dropbox features a versioning system. Huh? For those not familiar with versioning systems, it allows you to keep multiple versions of a file. This helps in case you need to roll back to an earlier version of a document, or just for general use and tracking of updates.

The second is a built-in photo gallery. Drag photos to the “photos” folder and they are automatically available for viewing on the web in a simple manner.

To truly appreciate the power of Dropbox, I encourage you to watch their highly entertaining 10 minute online video.

And all this can be yours…for FREE! That’s right, 2GB of storage is yours for ZERO dollars. Nice in these recessionista times. But if you need more, 50 GB of storage is available for $9.99 per month.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Web Secret #39: Whopper Sacrifice

If you read my Web Secret #9 you know that viral marketing refers to techniques that uses pre-existing social networks (eg Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to produce an increase in brand awareness or achieve other marketing objectives.

Recently I read about a viral marketing ploy used by - of all companies - Burger King, that is so clever, elegant and thought provoking, I just had to share it with you.

Basically, Burger King created an application for Facebook, called Whopper Sacrifice that rewarded you with a coupon for BK's signature burger for every 10 'friends' you managed to delete from your massively cluttered list of Facebook friends. The application then sent a notification to the banished party via Facebook's news feed explaining that your desire for a Whopper was stronger than your love for the unlucky former 'friend.'

The app also added a box on a user's profile page charting their progress toward the free burger with the line, "Who will be the next to go?". Sacrificed friends had the option of sending an AngryGram to the axing perpetrator.

The marketing ploy was so succesful that visitors to are now told that "Facebook had to disable Whopper Sacrifice after your love for the Whopper sandwich proved stronger than 233,906 friendships."

I figure that for the cost of about 23,000 burgers, Burger King probably reached 500,000 potential customers. And they got a ton of free publicity for their innovative viral marketing tactic.

Now it's your turn. How will you virally market your products and services? The majority of viral marketing techniques don't cost a penny. Just brain power.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Web Secret #38: 7 Ways to Get People to Read Your Blog

Just read a clever blog post on ProBlogger: "7 Dark Truths: Why Readers Really Become Subscribers" written by Nick Cernis.

Nick believes that all regular readers of a specific blog fall into one of seven categories. I have adapted his thoughts to serve you, my readers.

1) They want to be you
I left my social work gig to become a full time geek. So I read the Fried Social Worker blog because sometimes I want to remember those days.

2) They want to be with you
One of the most powerful blogs on the planet is The Huffington Post. Ariana Huffinton goes to amazing insider events and hangs with all kinds of bright, interesting people. So I read her blog and pretend she's my BFF.

3) They want your brain
Read my blog, and know what I know.

4) They want your goodies
Are you always giving away great kernels of wisdom and links to valuable resources? They will come.

5) They want your wit
Day in day out, the funniest blog on the internet is The Sneeze. Guaranteed I will feel better if I eat chocolate. Guaranteed I will laugh my head of when I read any gem in the "Steve Don't Eat It" column. My favorite is "Pickled Pork Rinds".

6) They want to stay ahead
Do you regularly read your competitors’ blogs? You should - it's the best way to stay ahead. Chances are, a lot of your readers are your competitors. It’s how they keep abreast of what you’re doing and try to stay in front.

7) They want to check up on you
OK that may be a little paranoid.

So Nick believes that all you need to do if you want more readers, is to use the seven categories for your own blog marketing purposes:

1) Become a superstar
If you become well-known expert in a specific field, people will want to be you and read you.

2) Become a heart-throb
I'll quote Nick here: "If you write openly in a way that tugs on people’s heart strings, chances are they’ll want to hear from you again. It’s rare to find bloggers who spill their soul in a mature way that you can learn and grow from."

3) Become an expert
If you become an expert superstar, readers will flock to you.

4) Become generous
Think differently: what could you offer your readers for free that would be invaluable to them? Free website advice? Free marketing help? A free podcast?

5) Become funny
If you can be funny, people will read you.

6) Become a market-leader
If you can create something that’s truly remarkable, there’s a good chance you will get more readers

7) Tell your Mom
Tell your friends and family about your blog.

Go forth and use your new knowledge to gain the readers you deserve!