Public speaker and life coach Eli Davidson clicked on YouTube.com a year ago to watch a 30-second video of a dog falling asleep.
Then she noticed that 1.5 million people had clicked in to watch the snoring hound.
"That's kind of how I got the idea to do all this," said Davidson of Los Angeles. "If 1.5 million people watched a dog fall asleep, I figured some of them would want to see what I have to sell."
What she was selling was her book, "Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Strategies for the Savvy, Sassy and Swamped," a self-help tome designed to help readers take control of their lives.
To market the book, an old-school form of media, she turned to a couple of the newest: video file sharing and online social networking. She created a video spot for YouTube and her own Web site on MySpace.com.
"Because of YouTube and MySpace, I have access to 30 million people," Davidson said. "The reason it's translating into sales is that my videos are seen by all these people."
Davidson said in the last month, more than 4,000 people saw and responded to her MySpace site, which included a promotional interview with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Davidson has a few tips for anyone looking to use the Internet to market:
- Get college students to film and edit the material because they're inexpensive and they know how to do it.
- Make sure your Web site address is at the end of your video.
- Remember parents and grandparents are on YouTube and MySpace, too, and tailor your message accordingly.
- Ask people to rate and comment on your video to make it go higher in the ratings.
- Tag your video with relevant keywords.
- Throw away the vidcam on the computer. They're unprofessional.
- Make your videos under two minutes.
Joan Stewart runs a small Web site called the Publicity Hound, which provides information and directions for anyone looking for free publicity.
Stewart said she doesn't like to sell herself as a consultant on the Internet. She wants viewers to click in and buy her products.
"I have more than 100 information products on a wide variety of topics dealing with free publicity," Stewart said. "I sell a CD on how to get onto 'Oprah,' for example."
She also makes money representing e-books.
Stewart said her revenues hover around $100,000.
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