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Viral Marketing Power

Viral Marketing Power

Article by Gopal Dev

The term viral marketing often evokes confusion and sometimes a little fear, but let me assure you it is harmless. If anything, when applied correctly it can be one of the most powerful tools for your business. Viral Marketing describes any strategy that encourages people to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Similar to viruses multiplying, the message can reach a huge audience in very little time. Unlike computer viruses, Internet viral marketing requires the message to be appealing in some way, in order for people to consciously and willingly pass it on.

Long before the Internet ever existed, viral marketing has been practised as “word-of-mouth” promotion, using the media (press/radio/TV), or direct mail campaigns. If you are going to implement an Internet viral marketing campaign, you will need to create what is called a ”viral agent”. This is the item that you will use to illicit a positive reaction from your recipients and makes them volunteer to pass it along to their contacts. The quality of your viral agent will decide whether people do so or not. It’s also important that the message can be passed on easily. This might mean including a ”please send to a friend” button, or at the very least making sure that it can be easily passed on by email. It is particularly effective to have your viral agent hosted at one particular location, as people will be able to send their friends a simple link to it. This will also benefit the viral agent’s exposure in the search engines, allowing even more people to see your message.

A lot of planning should go into setting up an online viral marketing campaign. Not every campaign will work, or at its full potential so here are the main components that should be included in your viral message, in order to maximize its effectiveness.

1) Give away products or services for free (picture, audio, video, software, game, cartoon, poem, joke, survey, tip of the day etc.). “Free” is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary. Viral marketers may not profit from their efforts today, or tomorrow, but if they can generate a groundswell of interest from something that is totally free, they know they will have long lasting success.

2) Make it easy for people to share your message via email, website, software download, social networks, instant messages, forums, etc…Viral marketing works amazingly well online because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. From a marketing standpoint, you must simplify your marketing message so it can be transmitted with the click of a mouse and without any loss in quality or content. The shorter and more focused, the better.

3) Tap into people’s common motivations and behaviours (humour, greed, shock, inspiration, intrigue, urgency, compassion, desire to be popular, cool, or loved etc.) These fundamental human qualities and urges have resulted in millions of websites created and billions of e-mail messages sent. Design a marketing strategy that exploits them and you will have struck gold.

4) Use existing communication networks. Each person has a close network of family, friends, co-workers, associates, and a reservoir of their referrals. A person’s broader network may therefore consist of scores, hundreds, or thousands of people, depending upon her position in society. Network marketers have long understood the power of these human networks. People on the Internet can build huge networks too using e-mail, instant messaging, forums, social networks, torrents and other file sharing communities (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, MSN, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc…)

5) Take advantage of others’ resources. Writing and giving away free articles, so they can get on others’ web sites is a great way to establish yourself as someone who is knowledgeable in your field and will attract viewers to your site. Include your URL, brand name, and contact info within everything you post online and promote your business. This can spread like wildfire. Press releases can be picked up by hundreds of news sites as well and popularise your name. A video hosted on YouTube will not cost you any money in server bandwidth when more and more people access it. This way others’ resources are depleted rather than your own.

As you can see a well-crafted viral marketing campaign can explode your business online using a variety of outlets in very little time.

Gopal (The Musical Mad Scientist and Entrepreneur)


About the Author

Hello and thanks for reading! I completed my Masters in Biochemistry in 2003 but have dedicated the last decade of my life to forging a career in show business with my rock band “the Integral”. I am also building my own Real Estate investing business, Trifecta Investors, to be financially independent, rather than rely on a failing system that only caters to a select few.

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