The words viral marketing sounds quite strange. After all, what does a virus have to do with marketing? Although we may not like being afflicted by all those diseases caused by a virus but you have to admire the sheer strength and the strategy of these parasitic creatures. They straddle on to a host and bid their time until their numbers have grown to such an extent that they finally explode on to the scene. Moreover, they do not need to mate and can just grow by replicating themselves. This is the basic essence of viral marketing, also known as buzz marketing or "word-of-mouth" marketing. Let us understand this potent form of advertising.
Viral Marketing Definition
Used to describe the chain of emails that advertised a product, the word was coined by Harvard Business School graduate, Tim Draper and faculty member Jeffrey Rayport. Rather than relying on traditional marketing measures, the viral marketing strategies rely on individuals to pass on the marketing message. So a tiny pebble thrown into the pond creates a far reaching ripple effect and the opportunity for multi-level-marketing as well. One of the best examples of viral marketing is Hotmail, an email services company which gave away free email services, and at the end attached a tag which said that each one could get their personal email addresses for free. This sparked off a fast marketing campaign for the company as increasing number of people publicized the service to their friend and services without even knowing it. The result: an astounding 12 million subscribers in eighteen months. If you want to replicate some of the success stories of this form of marketing, here are some important marketing ideas that will help you understand and implement the concept to the fullest.
Viral Marketing Techniques
"Free" is the Buzzword: People love free stuff. Well, I am not suggesting that you give away your products for free but the basic idea is to first offer free services and once you have attracted their attention, to then give the entire package. In some cases where this delayed gratification may not translate into customers, the idea is to create positive feedback for the company, e-commerce sale opportunities, and advertising revenue. Make sure that when you are distributing the freebies, you include an ad for your product.
Simplicity Yields Results: Make your marketing message simple and easy to understand. This aids in transmitting the message quite fast. This is one of the main reasons why viral marketing works best on the Internet platform. So whether you are including a message at the end of each email or helping the user sign up for a free newsletter, make sure the process or the message is compressed and effective.
Understand User Needs/Motivations: This is the basic strategy of any marketing model and applied to viral marketing as well. If your strategies are tuned in with the motivations or needs of people, it is sure to be a success. For example, with multiple referrals people can earn small rewards. This keeps the users happy and motivates them to spread the word faster.
Using the Resources: Social networks have made viral marketing a walk in the park. Rather than sticking to just one network, spread the word through the vast array of social network. Permission programs and affiliate lists all work well to exploit the medium to the fullest. A referral system within the normal communication framework enables the word to be spread easily.
An understanding of the basic strategies enables you to beat the advertising traffic and eases the market entry friction and proliferation. Use this in sync with your existing market plan to influence people, highlight your product, spread the "virus", and basically create a strong buzz for your product.