Viral Marketing

If you’re not utilizing the power of viral marketing, you may be missing out on a very effective new tool. This form of Internet-based marketing relies on the use of blogs, seemingly amateur Web sites like YouTube, and grassroots media campaigns to generate widespread word of mouth interest and “buzz” for a new product or service. A typical viral marketing campaign aims at generating media coverage via unusual, stories, funny video clips, interactive advertising games, images, and text. These are then passed from user to user at an extremely rapid, exponential (“viral”) pace, often reaching hundreds of thousands or millions of people for far less cost than would be possible using traditional marketing tools.

Due to its ability to generate extremely a high, rapid response rate for a relatively low cost compared to traditional marketing methods such as direct mail, viral marketing is a very popular and powerful medium. The following quick guide will help you create your company’s viral marketing campaign.

Give away products or services

In the world of viral marketing, it’s usually a good idea to give away something for nothing. Most successful viral marketing campaigns provide a free product or service to attract attention. Giveaways could include a complimentary brochure or software program with limited functionality, or a free button or pin. A discount on a service or product may generate interest, but “free” typically accomplishes the task faster and draws more people.

Make it Easy to Pass along Your Message

Like actual viruses, a viral marketing message spreads fast when it’s easy to transmit.

The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate.

Use e-mail, a special Web link, or graphic, or provide a free software download. Viral marketing works because it’s so simple and inexpensive, so use a digital format to make copying easy. Also, viral marketing is most effective when the message is short and direct.

Make Sure Your Mail Servers Are Ready

If you’re using e-mail as the core of your viral marketing strategy, you must ensure that your mail servers have enough capacity to handle exponentially larger amounts of traffic.

So it’s a good idea to plan ahead for easy and rapid addition of mail servers. This will put you in a good position to manage the campaign. You must build scalability into your viral model.

Utilize Existing Communication Networks

Most people are social and develop a close circle of friends, family, and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of hundreds or thousands of people, depending upon his or her job or social status. People on the Internet develop networks of relationships, consisting of circles of people with whom they regularly communicate. So it’s important to leverage such things as popular Web sites that draw large volumes of traffic or permission-based e-mail lists that potentially can reach millions of people simultaneously.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope that you enjoyed this article and that it will help you supercharge your marketing effort, leading to increased sales. Thanks for reading!

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)

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