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Ken McArthur’s Grand Viral Marketing Experiment

April 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment · Abundance and Prosperity, Customer Service as Marketing, Marketing Techniques and Philosophies, People Helping People, Publishing, Web 2.0/Social Media

For years, I’ve been a proponent of viral marketing; as one among may examples, it’s the main tool I’ve used to gain support for the Business Ethics Pledge.

One of the best viral marketers I know is Ken McArthur, known for his joint-venture Internet marketing conferences. I met Ken several years ago at one of Fred Gleeck’s book marketing conferences, and then again a few years later at Mark Victor Hansen’s book marketing conference. We’ve stayed in touch. And since meeting him, Ive noticed that he crops up absolutely everywhere.

Yet even though he’s obviously been gong to book marketing conferences for years, he didn’t have a book. Now, he’s finally about to release IMPACT: How to Get Noticed, Motivate Millions and Make a Difference in a Noisy World (yes, its an affiliate link). I’ve been one of his many informal advisors, and even commented to him a few months ago that I also have a book title that ends with “in a Noisy World” (Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, published in 2000 by Chelsea Green

Frugal marketing genius that he is, Ken wouldn’t be content with an ordinary book launch–so he created one of the most powerful viral marketing ideas I’ve ever seen. I wish I’d thought of it.

You know the concept of internships: students donate labor in exchange for training. Ken has taken this to an extreme: he recruited over 100 people to be his unpaid Internet marketing corps, in exchange for learning all his tricks via a series of conference calls. What a perfect example of the Abundance Principle at work! The six-week program started tonight.

I decided that one of my contributions to the effort would be to chronicle it here. So thus, my key takeaways from call #1:

  • 100 people can have a huge impact in a number of ways, for example all contacting the same key influencer, or divvying up John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Book (fewer than 10 ideas per participant)
  • Not only are affiliate commissions an effective motivator, but you can motivate your affiliates further by making the deal open-ended. When people sign up for Ken’s affiliate program, they will not only earn a couple of bucks on the book, but also on all sorts of backend products from now to eternity–products that will pay many times better than the book sale.
  • Ken is providing tasks and thus not only training others but outsourcing the ground work. He asked participants to generate lists of key contacts, blogs, forums, and potential joint venture partners.
  • This is an easy one for me, as I know a lot of people in the independent publishing sector. Except that I can’t really separate influencers from JV partners. But because what he’s doing is newsworthy in the publishing world and in the Internet marketing world, I have a number of people I could approach to let them know about what’s going on, including John Kremer, Dan Poynter, Fern Reiss, Patricia Frey, and Joan Stewart–all very big names in the world he’s trying to reach.

    Ken being Ken, he makes it quite worthwhile to visit his site, offering a truckload of quality resources just for dropping by.

    Is this your chance to learn from a master launcher, without paying thousands of dollars for a product? I think it might just be.


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