Refers to a method of marketing whereby consumers are encouraged to share information about a company’s goods or services via the Internet.
What does a virus have to do with marketing?
Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.
Off the Internet, viral marketing has been referred to as “Word-of-mouth,” “Creating a buzz,” “Leveraging the media,” “Network marketing.” But on the Internet, for better or worse, it’s called “Viral marketing.” While others smarter than I have attempted to rename it, to somehow domesticate and tame it, I won’t try.
Elements of a Viral Marketing Strategy
Accept this fact, some viral marketing strategies work better than others. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy:
- Gives away products or services;
- Provides for effortless transfer to others;
- Scales easily from small to very large;
- Exploits common motivations and behaviors;
- Utilizes existing communication networks;
- Takes advantage of others’ resources.
Giving Away Valuable Products or Services which is “Free”, is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention. Free email services, free information, free “Cool” buttons, free software programs that perform powerful functions.
Your Medium is the Key
The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate: email, website, graphic and software download are all vital.
Viral marketing works famously on the Internet because instant communication is easy and inexpensive. From a marketing standpoint, you must simplify your marketing message so it can be transmitted easily and without degradation.
Exploit Common Motivations and Behaviors. Clever viral marketing plans take advantage of common human motivations. Design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission, and you have a winner.
Social scientists tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in his or her network of friends, family, and associates. Network marketers have long understood the power of these human networks, both the strong, close networks as well as the weaker networked relationships. Affiliate programs exploit such networks, as do permission email lists. Takes Advantage of Others’ Resources The most creative viral marketing plans use others’ resources to get the word out. Now someone else’s newsprint or webpage is relaying your marketing message.
Nowadays, powerful tools and software automate the tedious and repetitive tasks involved in creating, launching, and tracking these viral marketing campaigns. Our favorite is UpViral which creates an easy to use, centralized, and systematic approach in creating, managing, and tracking campaigns. It offers excellent templates and ready to use features which allows seamless campaigns. Find out more about UpViral here.