What was the last email that you forwarded? Viral marketing has become an unstoppable marketing force for businesses. It is a technique that uses pre-existing networks as a way to promote brand awareness, an idea, a product or a service. The term viral was coined as this marketing technique is something that spreads rapidly among people by passing something along. It can also be described as the latest “buzz”. When implemented effectively, viral marketing can rapidly expand a business online.
These are the Top 5 viral marketing characteristics and techniques:
1. Give away something of value away for free
“Free” is one of the most powerful marketing terms. When utilizing this concept for you business, consider what you would be able to give away for “Free”. Some of the most common ideas are free research reports, e-books, e-zines, pages of a book, free samples, or an email autoresponder course. Each of these items can be offered for “free” through a variety of means. Place opt in tools on every page of your website for one or all of the above. Placement is key- make sure that the opt in opportunities are easy to locate and easy to fill in. If possible, use an autoresponder to deliver the “free” material so that the consumer has it in their hands immediately. If they like it, the viral potential is that they may forward it through email to someone else.
Opt in functions should also be placed in your current e-zines, in your article or blog signature file, in your email signature file and cross referenced with each marketing tool. For example, you may offer a “Free” research report within the e-zine that a customer opted in for on your website. The more links that you can create between marketing tools and your potential customer means more opportunities to convert those leads into paying customers.
2. Provide a way to easily transfer an idea, image or concept to others
Viruses only spread when they are easy to transmit; otherwise they stay within their host subject. It is crucial to create a marketing technique that is easy to forward. HTML emails, attachments, website links and podcasts are several strategies that are easy to forward from recipient to recipient. Internet users will also forward website links of forum posts, articles and blogs that they find interesting to others.
3. Make it scalable
Your business and website need to have the capability of handling a large influx of interest if you plan to utilize viral marketing. For example, if your receive a large interest in a “free” piece of material that you are advertising, do you have the technology currently installed to quickly deliver on the requests? If not, do you know where to search or of a provider that you could quickly install to fulfill the requests? Understand this marketing technique before you launch a campaign, and become familiar with the supportive technology that you will need to implement the plan as you receive increased site flow.
4. Exploit the natural instinct and motivation of others
Permission email lists and opt ins are examples of marketing techniques that exploit people’s natural instinct of wanting things for free. Affiliate programs exploit businesses by creating a high volume of links from people looking to place high quality ads on their websites.
5. Utilize current and existing communication methods
When you launch a viral marketing campaign, be sure to leverage the most up to date internet marketing tools and trends. Currently instant messenger, blogs, article writing, nanocasts, podcasts and email autoresponders are the most commonly used marketing and communication tools on the internet. As a business owner you will need to become familiar with each of these techniques and any new techniques that emerge in order to create the potential for viral marketing.
While viral marketing was launched among traditional businesses, the launch of the internet created a new medium for viral marketers and an easier method of material transmission. By leveraging the above tips, your business will be in a prime position to create mini and even large scale viral effects when you produce quality materials for your business.