The Sneaky Nature of Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is an emerging yet vastly popular technique.
But what is it exactly? And how do you incorporate it into your
Viral marketing, however offensive the term may seem, has come
Viral marketing refers to stealth marketing techniques that
produce an increase in brand awareness exponentially through a
self replicating process, sometimes compared to the spread of a
Through the Internet, viral marketing reaches a large number of
people fast. Viral marketing has the ability to execute a
low-cost marketing campaign, and obtain response from a large
number of interested people. A real marketer's dream: high and
rapid response, at a low cost!
As a strategy, Viral marketing encourages people to pass on
marketing messages to others, and create a potential for
growth, exponentially. For many people, the term viral
marketing is quite offensive, reminiscent of the virus that
replicates over and over again, with no end. Viral marketing is
the word-of-mouth equivalent of the off-Internet marketing
strategy. Viral marketing, however offensive it may seem to
some, has come to stay.
The start of Viral marketing is attributed to Hotmail, one of
the first free email services. At the bottom of each of free
email sent out was a small message "Get your private, free
email at hotmail.com." All the recipients of the sender's
emails, their friends and associates, would see the message,
sign up for the free email service, and help send the message
further to their own list of friends and acquaintances. This
carefully designed viral marketing strategy sent a small
message rapidly across, all over the Internet.
The Elements Of Viral
If you are thinking of incorporating Viral marketing in your
overall strategy, this is what you can do. Some may work and
some may not, and not all will work as easy as the Hotmail
strategy did. A look at some of the elements:
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Giving Away Products And
Services: This is the primary element of
Viral marketing, giving away free products and services.
Free e-mail services, free information, free software
programs that perform powerful functions (later, you can
hit them with the pro version). Free generates more
interest than cheap and inexpensive, and soon this will
generate enough interest for the businesses to generate
income. This is the basic strategy, you give away something
first, and then sell later.
Transfer: To make the virus of viral
marketing spread, you need a viable medium. A medium that
will help transfer and spread your message with ease and
comfort, something like an e-mail, website, graphic,
software download, etc. Internet offers the best, instant,
and a very inexpensive way to transfer and replicate your
message. Make your Viral marketing message short, compact,
and compelling so as to be able to transmit without
Building Scalability: For
your viral marketing strategy to work, it must have the
ability to spread rapidly from small to large. As in the
case of Hotmail, it was limited by the spread of the
message only over its own servers. You need to plan ahead
in your strategy, and build scalability in your model.
Utilizing Existing Communication
Networks: Humans are social animals, and
every person has a network of 8 to 10 close friends,
family, and associates, with whom he communicates. Some
people, depending, have scores and hundreds with whom they
may be communicating on a regular basis. Today, people have
developed a network of relationships through the Internet.
They have a network of emails and favorite website URLs.
Your viral marketing strategy must include ways to place
your message into these existing networks to multiply and
Using Others Resources: Your
viral marketing strategy must include the use of others
resources, such as placing your text or graphic links on
others websites. This way, other peoples websites are
relaying your messages, which can be seen by hundreds of
visitors visiting those websites.
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