Basically, viral marketing is networking where individuals to whom you have provided information about a particular product, program or service pass that information on to others. The best way this is accomplished is to offer your original contact a “benefit” to spread your message. This could take any number of forms, the most common being a discounted or free sample product and/or an affiliate commission if a sale of some kind if a sale should occur.
This form of marketing has been used for years by many free services that people use. The owners of these free programs actually receive their compensation by placing ads on the free program used by others. Just look at Hotmail or MSN and see all the adds that are incorporated into their free email programs. Google places “Adsense ads” on their free G-Mail interfaces.
One of the most popular current viral marketing programs on the internet is the use of Ezines and company newsletters. Subscribers to these programs often refer others especially if they contain useful information or news. Many people are starting to re-publish old issues of their articles to rejuvenate their traffic flow. This is not a practice to be taken lightly. If you are going to publish old articles, make certain you understand the consequences. They may be refused.
Obviously, if you want to viral market an article or newsletter, you have to make certain that your subscriber or reader is aware that they are free to forward it to someone else. There is no logic in copywriting an article if it is for the purpose of viral marketing.
A personally written and published EBook is another good source for viral marketing. Again, it is necessary to allow readers the opportunity to “send it” to someone else. The same applies to Ecards, Emails, Banners, etc. People do not always send stuff to friends and associates, they simply tell them about it. So make certain your program (website) is ready. Viral marketing, even if it is for an internet program, is not restricted to online activity.
Viral Marketing often involves the use of videos and flash presentations – but it is not necessary. The jury is still out about the effectiveness of these marketing methods. They were hot a few years back, but are gradually losing their appeal due to over-exposure by so many people.
This type of marketing should be of benefit for both creator and user. The creator should benefit from increased traffic, and hopefully, sales, and the user should benefit from receiving valuable information or a product they need.
Properly done, Viral Marketing is an excellent marketing tool for internet marketers and “real world” marketers alike.
Reg McMicking is CEO of Bay Cities Marketing. Bay Cities Marketing provides internet marketers with information on top money making programs and opportunities and also provides resources, tools and tips related to marketing online.