Viral Marketing – A Great Way To Spread The Word

Before we explain how you can use viral marketing strategies to promote your online business and get a buzz spreading through the worldwide web, here’s a definition from Wikipedia,

“Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use preexisting social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, images, or even text messages.”

If you’ve ever used hotmail, yahoo or G-mail account, you’ve participated in a viral marketing campaign every time you sent an email to someone – because the company inserted a small (and usually discreet advertisement) at the bottom of all of your outgoing email messages – inviting the people you were communicating with to receive their own free email account.

So, how can you put a viral marketing campaign together for your own online business to get the same advertising buzz like these major companies for free?

You don’t have to look very far to find the answer these days. Viral marketing has taken off with a bang with the introduction of web2.0 web sites like Youtube, Facebook, Myspace and twitter – to mention a few. Bookmarking and social networking sites have made it easier for you to engage your friends in spreading any message you want to promote.

According to a recent survey done by Forrester Research, people are almost 65% more likely to trust a review posted by a peer – or even a complete stranger – than they are to trust the marketing or sales information put out by the company.

Companies like Amazon and I-Tunes have used these tactics to build their brands to mega corporations, and now all the celebrities and broadcasters are using Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages and expand their brands.

Why is this the case? Because as consumers we tend to think that the average “Joe Blow” has less of a personal agenda when posting his review about the latest “Dixie Chicks” album and so we give it more weight.

And, by the way, this is a normal reaction – it’s one that’s kind of hard-wired into all of us. People have always shared the things they like – or hate – with their friends and family members. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, our grandparents used to talk to their neighbors over the “back fence,” call each other on the phone or tell their friends during lunch. The difference is, these days we use the Internet and cell phones.

What’s interesting though, is that with the popularity of the Internet, our trust – and believe in “social proof” – has become even stronger.

By creating your own viral marketing campaign, you’ll be doing more than getting the word out about your new product or service, you’ll be gathering social proof – and that will help your sales to go through the roof.

If you don’t have your own product or service as yet, you can start promoting affiliate products. Affiliate products already have a brand name presence and an established market.

So, how do you set up your own viral marketing campaign? The first thing to do is to get back to the basics.

Then make sure that you’re sending out the right message – an in the right way. If you’re marketing a product to teens, you’ll want to make sure that it’s something they want – and you’ll have to reach them where they’re hanging out. That might be on MySpace, twitter or even Friendster.

What’s the right message? Maybe it’s a special report. But it could just as easily be a video. Or an audio mp3 file. Match your message to your audience. And finally, make sure that you’re getting your message out at the right time – when your audience is ready to buy it.

Make your viral marketing campaign stand out from the crowd – because that’s how it’s going to get passed around and become viral. By understanding the basics – who your audience is, what they want, how they want to get it and when they want it – all you have to do next is to create something that your audience loves – or hates – or finds interesting enough – to pass around to their friends. And because your product comes with an implied endorsement – social proof – those people will pass it around to other people – and the buzz goes on…and on…and on…and you’ll start hearing the “ka-ching!” of your cash register going off a lot more often.

Writen by: James Max

Comments are closed.