It's one of the latest marketing buzzwords: viral marketing. If done correctly, viral marketing is one of the least expensive, but most effective ways to build word of mouth.
What is Viral Marketing?
A viral marketing piece has a couple things in common with the virii that cause colds and other diseases: common:
- It can be replicated easily and cheaply.
- It can be passed along from person to person.
What are some common examples of viral marketing?
Viral marketing today happens primarliy on the web. This is because the web offers instantaneous communication and community building tools.
One of the simplest forms of viral marketing are electronic greeting cards. Everybody has gotten one of these from a friend or family member at one point. And, what do you have to do when you get an email saying that you have an e-card waiting? You have to go to the company's web site to retrieve it. And while there, they offer you the chance to send out cards of your own.
Reccomend this site to your friends buttons are another example.
Some of the most popular viral marketing pieces are movies or animations that are funny. People pass these around in email endlessly. The guys at JibJab.com became wildly famous when their musical cartoons poking fun at US politicians circled the web. I'm guessing their business has profited as well.
What Makes a Good Viral Marketing Piece?
The best pieces tend not to be straight advertisements. However, there are some examples of very funny TV commercials becoming very popular on the Internet.
My feeling, from the thousands of emails I have recieved over the years, is that people are more likely to pass on things that are amusing rather than things that are useful. However, I appreciate the useful stuff more and am more liekely to act upon it.
Again, the mechanism of delivery must make the piece easy to pass along or replicate.
You can build a reward system for passing a viral along. Recommend this web site to 5 friends and you'll get to download a free report, or movie, or whatever.
Look around for viral marketing pieces, or look in your email to see what your friends are sending you. This shoudl give you a sense of what is working, and what people are sending around. You don't have to have the resources to produce movies or funny animations, your viral can be useful information.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet