When the term viral marketing is used, people often think spam or malicious computer killing software sent through email. the term of course reflects to the idea of speeding a message, joke, a video or other piece of information that excites us momentarily and is then passed on to others for their own show, amusement or amazement.
Viral marketing is any method that is used to encourage someone to pass on a marketing message to someone else. This creates the domino effect of one person passing it on to another and another and so on. The potential for exponential growth is intense because if you really are affected by a new game, video or some piece of useful software, you will with a little prompting pass it on to others as with pleasure.
So how does it work? Viral marketing appeals to several emotional factors in us; the most obvious of which is curiosity. Once we get the "gift" opened, if we like it and it the viral message leaves us in a heightened state. If it's funny, we laugh a little louder; if it's scary we feel it more acutely.
No one can accurately predict how well a viral marketing strategy will work but there are elements that must be included for a viral message to go to work. Not all of these elements need to be present; but a combination of them must play out for there to be successful.
Something must be given away; whether it is a product or service. For instance there are software creators who have chosen this method to propel their games to instant success. The first person shooter Doom was an example of effective viral marketing. The creators did the unheard of thing at the time; they allowed free downloads of their games and even allowed people to create their own levels and characters.
Before the Internet, one famous rock band was making a fortune from viral marketing and is still doing so today. The Grateful Dead allows recording of their music at their live concerts. People make living selling bootleg merchandise in the parking lots. The Grateful Dead is one of them most successful bands of all time in spite of; even because of the free attitude of their music and viral nature of marketing. They have consistently sold out concerts throughout their careers.
Their intergenerational fans have done most of the selling for them over the years.
Digital products are perfect for viral transmission. Whether it is a video of someone's cat wearing a ballet outfit or the Jib Jab animations of our presidential candidates, we are captivated by the message and with a mouse click able to send the file or a link to it off to our friends and family. We have not even touched the product, it all happened without physical contact.
Sociologists say that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates. The theory of Six Degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from
Viral marketing takes advantage of those principles. A teacher, for example, may send emails regularly to hundreds of parents in a year. A young college student will text message her lover in another town. Network marketers have always understood the potential of these powerful human networks, both the close networks as well as the broader networked relationships.
1. Everyone loves the word FREE. Give away products to get the buzz effect.
2. Make it easy to pass your message along. Distribution should be effortless.
3. The campaign must be able to handle explosive growth.
4. The emotional effect of the viral marketing campaign must be intentional.
5. Use the media – computer, animation, email, voice, cell phone, or video
6. Get others to get the word out for you. This is the essence of viral marketing.
The largest issue with viral marketing is its unpredictability. No one has been able to guarantee that their viral campaign will work. If you follow these basic points you'll have a better chance of success.