Viral marketing is an extremely appealing concept to many marketers. Whether it is online or offline viral marketing we refer to, it is the very concept of having your product or service trip off the tongue of all would-customers without having to spend a small fortune. In practice, the reality is a little different. Companies and websites can try for campaign after campaign to create something that goes viral but unless they really hit on something unique and appealing, it won't happen.
There is no 5-step plan to viral marketing success because it will take something wholly unique and very unusual to leave a real mark in the minds of consumers. Not only do you want them to view, enjoy, and remember your advertising, you want them to be so moved by the content that they pass it round to everybody they know. Don't be downhearted by this, though, because viral marketing does exist and it is possible to take advantage.
The key point to any successful viral marketing campaign is social networking. The entire concept is based on the premise that people communicate with one another. If a person sees something they interesting, informative, humorous, or emotional, they may forward it to other people with similar interests. When this happens you have the very beginning of a viral marketing campaign.
Online Social Networking Tools
On the Internet, much of the social networking has already been done for you. Social networking and bookmarking sites, as well as video and image sharing websites, provide the ideal framework to a successful viral marketing campaign. Having an article, for example, published on sites like Digg can generate hundreds or even thousands of visitors to your website in a very short space of time. Having your video listed on the most popular page of video sharing websites can also provide a mass of traffic.
Causing A Stir
Viral marketing needs to spark a reaction of some sort to become popular. It must also be related to the service or product that you offer, otherwise it may garner your pages with visitors, but these visitors will not be inclined to take any desired action while on your site. Ensuring the best possible ROI on any marketing campaign means finding targeted visitors that are more inclined to make a purchase.
A Gentle Push
Word of mouth and referrals have long been a source of customers for offline businesses. Unfortunately, Internet users are less likely to boast about useful sites they've found without a push in the right direction. Providing links to Email a page or a link to a friend, or tell a friend can go some way toward this but you still need to provide the viral content.
Turning Your Customers And Competitors Into Your Sales Team
Video, audio, written, and email marketing are the most common forms of viral marketing. If you can create something of real value and then begin to spread the word within your industry there is a very high likelihood that the rest of the marketing will be done for you. Other sites will link to the product or item, and you will begin to cause a natural buzz from people interested in your topic. It's even possible to attain links from sites that are naturally your competitors.
The Bottom Line On Viral Marketing
Viral marketing can create large amounts of traffic over a short time. A website must be established and ready to convert visitors into sales before this happens, because the viral marketing flush of success can prove to be short lived. However, it can prove to be an inexpensive source of traffic for your site.