So, What is Viral Marketing?
As the name suggests, it's a way of spreading your marketing message from person to person, similar to passing a cold around. You pass on the 'germ' to about five people, who in turn each pass on the bug to 5 more (5x5=25), who then spread it to another 5 (25x5=125) and so on until after just 8 levels, you reach the staggering figure of 1,953,125.
The classic example of viral marketing is Hotmail, one of the first free Web-based e-mail services. Their strategy was, and still is, very simple:
- Give away free e-mail addresses and services
- Attach a simple tag at the bottom of every users email
message sent: "Get your private, free email at ...."
- Then stand back while people e-mail to their own network
of friends and associates who see the message and sign up
for their own free e-mail service, and the cycle continues.
A viral marketing plan usually has some or all of the following basic elements:
1. Provides a product or service free
2. Makes for easy transfer of the message to others
3. Allows easy growth from small to very large
4. Exploits common motivations and behaviours
5. Uses existing communication networks
6. Utilizes the resources of others
Starting A Viral Marketing Campaign
One of the ways you can start a viral marketing campaign is to distribute free content such as articles, reviews, specialized reports, free e-mail service, free software, free info, etc. They can be given away for free in a number of different ways.
If you have a mailing list, send out your special reports, reviews or articles directly to your members or thirdly, post your information free for all to see on forums that specialize on the information that you offer.
The word "FREE" is the most persuasive word in marketing. Most viral marketing campaigns give away a product or service to gain prospect's interest.
One well-trodden viral route to take is for you to write an article and distribute it as free content through online article distribution sites.
I have done my fair share of posting articles to some of these free article sites. For many of us, distributing free articles to article marketing sites is the key to helping an affiliate marketer promote his or her web site, product or service.
You can find hundreds of articles distribution sites, most offer articles on many topics, others focus on a specific niche such as internet marketing or recipes.
The beauty of article distribution sites is that most are free. They provide a valuable service and resource to allow thousands of people to view your information and ultimately create buzz for your products.
There are also viral marketing websites that offer promotional tools or widgets that are supposed to help you to build web traffic and lists. Many of these sites even provide a friendly "Tell a Friend" feature which makes letting your contacts know that much easier.
It has never been easier than now to grab a piece of the action in viral marketing and have a stake on the Internet. Competition online is keen and you need to get the message out using marketing techniques that enable as many people as possible to know that you exist!
Don't watch the world go by. Go viral and be recognized.
But be warned - Be circumspect about it and thread carefully.