Chapter 12 – Viral Marketing – Linkerbation is a Normal, Natural Thing – Perfectly Natural

Viral Marketing uses people’s electronic connectivity to increase the velocity of word-of-mouth. People with similar interests, needs and lifestyles tend to pass on and share interesting and entertaining content. When sponsored by a brand, the message builds awareness of a product or service and can provide qualified prospects for the organisation to pursue.

How Does Viral Marketing Work?

If you are familiar with the concept of “word-of-mouth”, then Viral Marketing will not be difficult to grasp as it is essentially the same thing. The significant difference in this case is that Viral Marketing utilises electronic means to spread the message. Without a doubt, referrals are still the most powerful marketing weapon available. Viral Marketing harnesses the electronic connectivity of individuals to ensure marketing messages are referred from one person to another.

A classic example of extremely successful Viral Marketing was the campaign for the email service Hotmail. When the company launched, every outgoing message from this platform contained an advertisement for Hotmail and a link to its website at the bottom of the email. As people emailed their friends and colleagues, they were also advertising the service. Recipients could simply click on the link and sign themselves up, and as they continued to email friends from their new account, the message spread within existing social networks and was passed along with little effort from the company. Hotmail went from zero to 30 million users in the first 3 years, today Hotmail has over 280 million users worldwide.

Another example of successful Viral Marketing was Burger King’s Subservient Chicken campaign which was launched to promote a range of chicken sandwiches. A website was created that featured a man dressed in a giant chicken suit who responded to the commands typed in by visitors. The tag line – “Have it your way”. A lot of people must have thought making the chicken man do the moonwalk or some yoga or even lay an egg was funny because within a week the website had received an astonishing 20 million hits!

Why do Viral Marketing?

Viral Marketing is popular because of the:

o Ease of executing the campaign

o Relatively low costs (compared to direct mail)

o High and rapid response rates

The core strength of Viral Marketing is its ability to obtain a large number of interested people at a low cost.

As appealing as it is, Viral Marketing is not always easy to master. In a 2006 Silverpop Email list Growth Survey, Viral Marketing was listed as the top ranked unsuccessful tactic for marketers. However, in the same survey, Viral Marketing was the top ranked tactic being planned by marketers in their next 12 months. This demonstrates the demand marketers have for Viral Marketing as demonstrated by viewer response rates, as well as how easy it is to get a campaign of this nature wrong. The key to running a successful viral campaign lies in the planning, the incentive offered and the knowledge of your target audience.

Types of Viral Marketing

There are 2 distinct subsets of Viral Marketing that can be identified:

1. In-the-Wild Viral Marketing

2. Controlled Viral Marketing

In-the-Wild Viral Marketing

This type of campaign is defined as a “virus” that is unleashed without further input from the advertiser or marketer. The spread of the message is perpetuated through whichever means the user chooses. The most important aspect is that the user still chooses to send on the message in whichever way they can, the most likely method being via email (e.g. sending a link on to a friend).

When successful, this type of campaign can build tremendous brand equity at a marginal cost. Because the communication takes place directly between consumers, the marketer has to be prepared to let go of their brand so that the message and flow of communications is not restricted.

Controlled Viral Marketing

This type of campaign has more of a direct outcome in that its success is determined by a specific goal, an example of which would be the expansion of a database of qualified leads and prospects (e.g. “Send to a friend” emails). This facilitates future interaction with the prospects, targeting sales growth and brand awareness. Ultimately, the controlled viral campaign should lead to interaction with the newly acquired prospects in a way that adds value to the organisation.

Starting a Viral Marketing Campaign

There are no hard rules when it comes to devising your Viral Marketing campaign, but there are some tips you can follow when planning your efforts:

1. Focus on your brand and products before the message

What makes your brand / product successful and why would people want to pass along your message? Do you have something unique and engaging that the intended market will want to talk about?

2. Ensure that your website or newsletter is built to allow users to refer it to others

The message must be easily forwarded and not lose shape or structure in the process.

3. Give away products, entertainment experiences or services

Free goods are powerful attraction factors in Viral Marketing. However, free for the sake of it is not usually successful as the prize needs to be relevant to the audience. This is where it is important to understand the target market’s needs, motivations and behaviours to select the relevant incentive.

4. What appeals is honesty and authenticity

There are various different aspects that a Viral Marketing campaign can focus on, depending on the intended target market:

o Entertainment factors

o Utility functions (offer something the reader can use)

o Incentivised actions (instant gratification)

o Undercover (seeding the campaign without the user knowing the brand)

o Uniqueness (something the reader has never seen before)

Whichever aspect you choose, be authentic and truthful. People will only forward something they believe is worthwhile.

5. Personalise referral emails

When your message is forwarded, ensure your technical design can support personalisation in the subject line. (E.g. “John Doe thought that you would love to see this”)

6. Take advantage of other resources

Successful viral campaigns use other resources to get the word out. Identifying the resources that the target market utilises (e.g. Social Media websites) and placing the message in these spaces increases the exponential potential of the message.

7. Track the results & analyse the data

It is important that the campaign is tracked according to the objectives set out initially. This can also help tweak the campaign mid-flight in order to improve results.

The beauty of a well executed Viral Marketing campaign lies in the minimal costs and the high success rates – as with all word-of-mouth, if handled properly, it can reap huge rewards.

How To Use Viral Marketing To Your Online Business

Viral Marketing is any marketing technique or form of advertising that spreads like a virus by itself, without you doing a thing. The idea of viral marketing is for people to pass along information on products or services using pre-existing social networks or other technologies.

Viral marketing regularly includes:

  • Customer participation & polling services
  • Industry-specific organization contributions
  • Internet search engines & blogs
  • Mobile smartphone integration
  • Multiple forms of print and direct marketing
  • Outbound/inbound call center services
  • Target marketing web services
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) web development
  • Social media interconnectivity
  • Television & radio

Internet businesses can reap great benefits from viral marketing, especially if they are just starting out. However you just can’t make a product or service “go viral”, if it’s good enough it just happens. People love to share and talk about good experience they have, it’s what creates a buzz and excitement of a brand, product or service. Buzz marketing is a platform that will take your business to a whole new level. However on a note of caution, if their experience is not so good, it can also take a turn on the “go viral” effect, usually resulting in the death of the business. Here are some suggestions on how to do it right:

  1. Pursue what is happening now. You need to create a commotion that can send everyone on a buying spree. If you get the right person to “sneeze” your message will be spread virally. For example if you get a celebrity to use your product or service, that one “sneeze” they make about it can start your viral message. The idea is to get your message to influential people who can start the buzz.
  2. Give them something to talk about. People love to feel smart knowing something that others don’t. “I know where you can get this really great deal” or “Wow… This business is really helped me out… “ To get them to start talking you need to fulfill a need.
  3. Package your product or service; remember the less is more theory. Keep your buzz short and to the point. Such as: “Your kids will love this” or “Best value for money” these are the things that are easy to remember. Practice describing what you do right now until you can say it virally right. Because if you can’t no one else will.
  4. Just like the flu at school, the best way to pass a viral message to sneeze in the right direction. Determine your target market and then sneeze in the place where their most likely to be found. Once your sneeze is sent the right direction of potential customers the next thing to do is identify the Typhoid Mary’s in the group, also known as your competitors.
  5. Give away products can become a fantastic pitchman, a share me product will give you the opportunity to spread your message inside what you sell. For example: “Register for your free… ” Marketing services on the internet can make custom newsletter packages to targeted users though out the internet and spread your business message. Because they are targeted they will find a need for your product and tell and sell to others.
  6. Pay it forward. On your website offer something free or a commission of something your selling that way your customers will become part of your sales force. There are simple and free ways to do this you can place at the bottom of your invoice “Remember to your friends… ” or “Thank you for your business, share this coupon with a friend and receive 20% of you… ” You will find this will generate more sales easily.
  7. If your customer is happy with their product or service, then create a way for them to share that joy with others. Buzz marketing works because it’s heard from a friend who liked it and not a money hungry pitchman. One happy customer will tell two friends and they will also tell another two and another two and so on…
  8. And finally persistence beats resistance. Some people may need more exposure before they catch the viral message. This is the key ingredient towards spreading your business message.

To carry your viral message to others you may require a platform or something easy to pass your idea along with the buzz of other people. Here are some ideas for your viral marketing campaign.

  • Write an eBook about a subject you’re very interested in and want to promote. It may take some time, but will prove to be very cost efficient.
  • Buy the branding rights to a viral eBook. This is how you can spread the word by including your name, website and contact details. Allow people to give away your FREE eBook to their visitors and then that way their visitors will give it away.
  • If you know HTML, you can give away your templates and provide messages that will backlink to your website. Provide a copyright notice that will not allow any of your links to be excluded.
  • If you know how to write software, viral software is very main-stream at the moment.
  • Write articles that relate to your product or service. Give your readers permission to reprint your article. Make sure you include your resource box and the option to reprint the article at the bottom of the article.
  • Make a 3 minute video clip and upload on You Tube.
  • Join membership site that provides quality information.

Viral marketing impressive marketing system, it allows and encourages people to pass along a message. Viral Marketing Strategies target a market based on 3 principles:

  1. Social profile gathering
  2. Target Market Analysis
  3. Real-time Key Word Concentration analysis

When these 3 principles are applied to an advertising model, Viral Marketing Strategy companies are able to match targeted customers at a cost effective gain. With the internet it’s more likely for a campaign to go viral very fast, particularly with social networks. It allows people to get excited or have the buzz and tell other people faster.

To summarize this article, the idea of viral marketing is to pass on a message that gets people’s attention and enthusiasm to spread the word via technology. There are a few ways to go about it so long as you remember there are “good buzz” and then there are “bad buzz”. Put yourself in the target market shoes, and ask yourself is this helping me with what I need? Do I like it? Will others like it? Practice getting it virally right, if you don’t get it, no one else will. Find a platform that will make your message easy to pass along; it could be a YouTube movie or a blog or newsletter. Then, do some research to target the market you want it to pass through. This kind of marketing strategy spreads like wildfire literally can make a product or service famous overnight.

So with that said, all the best in your viral marketing endeavors,

Isabel Brien

Viral Traffic Is How Anyone Can Use Viral Marketing To Increase Web Site Traffic For Free

These are two qualities for web site traffic a web site must use to blaze the trail in the cut-throat and competitive nature synonymous with Internet Marketing and home based business. The sheer number of sites and businesses duking it out online today means each marketing strategy must be implemented for success. Viral Marketing is one of the most effective and vital viral marketing is beginning to shape the internet marketing niche like no other strategy for traffic promotion and
increasing web site traffic for free.

Viral Marketing Basics

Viral Marketing is also referred to as Viral Advertising and is a strategy in marketing that increases general awareness of somone’s products, services, company, business or brand. There are forms of media that creates viral buzzworthiness in public perception without necessarily having to promote the product, by capitalizing on the other diverse uses of any “pass-it-on” type methods that would get one addicted and encouraged to actually relay it, all the while with the company’s advert naturally occurring as part of the viral marketing message.

The more popular the medium of advertising and enjoyed by the public at large, the more viral marketing components a viral advertising campaign is said to have and more valuable in spreading
the word of mouth necessary for sales of the products. Viral Traffic is when people who see the viral marketing message visit the web site in record numbers as a result of the viral advertising.

Viral marketing is already one of the most widely acclaimed forms of internet marketing and advertising for one main reason… the low expense. To bypass being tagged as unwelcome email, viral marketing relies on the anticipation of one spreading the news with the products. If a person notices the name of the someone they already know sending them email, they will not block and will open it. This results in even more viral traffic. Viral traffic is thought by most to be the best way to increase web site traffic for free.

A lot of businesses give perks like freebies and money off for helping to encourage their viral marketing. This counts on the amount of people a viral marketing online advertising campaign generates from a single recipient in calculating their reward. The more viral traffic, the more rewards for producing the viral traffic.

How You can Use Viral Marketing to Increase Web Site Traffic for Free and Explode Sales

The primary benefit of using Viral Marketing is all of the free publicity gained and the number of new and unique web site visitors to your website for free that are going to look at your business offer.

Almost every website and company is catching on to the benefits of Viral Marketing and viral Advertising. Without using it, you are defeating yourself by missing out on the viral traffic that gives you the ability to increase web site traffic for free.

Viral Marketing is the best way to get people to know about your products, site and business. You get them to push your viral marketing message for you. By generating just one good idea, a fun game, a good storyline, you can easily move ahead of all of your competition with some serious viral traffic.

All of the most successful online companies are recommending to business owners to use viral marketing to advertise their products. Only a fool would let the opportunity to increase web site traffic for free by using viral advertising pass them by.

Right now, you have the opportunity to put this phenomenon to work for you and for free to watch your website grow in popularity and make sale after sale on autopilot using viral advertising for free!