The best kind of marketing is the kind you don’t have to do yourself. Especially if you’re a small business on the web with limited time & a small budget. Call it word-of-mouth, refer-a-friend, or organic, viral marketing was the world’s first form of marketing. Now the Internet has taken this form of marketing to new heights by making communications cheaper, faster, & easier making word-of-mouth even more effective. Although sometimes hard to control, the goal of a viral marketer is to create “buzz” about a product or idea, so that the idea spreads widely. Response rates increase dramatically when users can see that a message is coming from a friend, so why not use the Net the way it was meant to be used.
“Free” is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention. You may not profit today, or tomorrow, but if you can generate a valid interest from something free, you will profit soon and create that all so important relationship that leads to ongoing revenue. One of the best examples of the new viral marketing has to be HotMail, which soon was copied by Yahoo offering free e-mail service. They simply attached their URL to every e-mail that their users sent out. Before they knew it, HotMail had more e-mail users than the largest ISP.
Viruses only spread when they’re easy to transmit. The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate such as e-mail, web-site, graphic, or software download. Viral marketing works wonderfully on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. Electronic formats make copying simple and easy to pass on to peers and friends. Simplify your marketing message so it can be transmitted easily and without being altered. Keep it short and simple.
Smart viral marketing plans take advantage of common human needs. Use the desire to be important, popular, understood, loved and getting noticed. Design a marketing strategy that pushes common human buttons for its transmission, and you will have a winner.
Most of us are social creatures. Social experts tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of hundreds, or even thousands of people, depending upon their position in society. Internet social sites develop networks of relationships, too. They collect e-mail addresses and favorite website URLs creating extensive permissible opt-in e-mail lists. Learn to place your message into existing communications between people, and you rapidly multiply its reach.
The most successful viral marketing plans use others’ resources to get the word out. Marketer’s who give away free articles, seek to position their articles on others’ webpages. A news release can be picked up by hundreds of publications and form the basis of articles seen by hundreds of thousands of readers. Now someone else’s web site is relaying your marketing message. Someone else’s resources are depleted rather than your own. Why not take advantage of other’s resources to grow your business.