Viral Marketing

Guide to Viral Marketing

What is it?
Viral marketing (also known as viral advertising) is a marketing technique used to build the public awareness of a product or company. It is about reaching out to the public without actually promoting the product by riding on other forms of passing things around online that people are happy to pass on, with the product or company advertisement along with it. It is effectively an online form of word-of-mouth communications which is sometimes known as ‘buzz marketing’

Who uses it?
Companies that are looking to try and make an impact on the market and gain brand awareness at a relatively low cost.

Why is it useful to an organisation?
* Viral marketing is relatively low cost – While a viral campaign might cost in terms of time and to a lesser extent patience, in terms of actual money, it’s a relatively inexpensive thing to set up.
* Viral marketing counts on the eagerness of one person to pass on the product. If a person sees the name of the person they know as the sender, they won’t block it but will open it. This is useful as there is more chance of people seeing the ad instead of considering it as spam.
* You can get a lot of publicity and public awareness about your site and your company. You get to generate a flow of traffic that has the potential to turn into customers. With a little ingenuity and imagination, plus some incentives or prizes, you can reach out to a great number of people and announce your existence.

Limitations
* Viral marketing counts on the eagerness of one person to pass on the product. If they do not send it on the less people will see it.
* It is a high-risk marketing technique as it requires a significant initial investment in the viral agent and seeding and there is no guarantee that the campaign will ‘go viral’.
* Negative sentiments about the company can spread just as rapidly as positive viral marketing.

Top tips
* Focus on doing something new, exciting and that is worth talking about.
* Consider offering incentives such as discounts when spreading a message using viral marketing.
* Use it as a stealthy way to get people to know about you and your company.

Glossary
Word-of-mouth (WOM) Marketing – It is giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place.
Viral Agent – The key content on your web page which will excite customers enough to refer it to someone else.
Seeding – Seeding is an online marketing technique that is used to initiate, encourage or send a viral effect. It is mainly used for viral marketing . By seeding a message, for example a video, game, image, text or website on internet spread.

Key Sites/Blogs
http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Viral-Marketing
http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/viral-principles/
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/12/what-is-viral-m.html