The Internet has modernized man’s way of living. It has also affected how we do certain things including business tasks. Marketing has gone a long way and it is not being revolutionized by the Internet.
Internet viral marketing is a cost effective way to be able to reach a targeted audience and efficiently convey one’s marketing message. Viral marketing outside the context of the Internet is usually connected with spreading a message through word-of-mouth. In
the context of the Internet, the concept is the same, but the ways of doing it is diversified.
Internet viral marketing is similar to a virus. Viruses are notorious for being easily spread. This is the concept behind Internet viral marketing. Viruses, if not contained, can strike an epidemic. Internet viral marketing behaves like viruses, it aims at spreading a marketing message to people through other people.
The mere dynamism of the Internet makes it possible for viral marketing to do its job quite effectively. In the world of the Internet, viral marketing can be done in many ways. The whole structure of the Internet has been a tool which has been used by many to be able to make a statement or advertise a product.
We say that using Internet viral marketing, or viral marketing in general is one of the best, if not the best way of marketing a certain product or service. This article tries to lay down the reasons for the claim above.
Here are some reasons why viral marketing is the best way to market:
This is probably the best reason why viral marketing is the best way to market. There are many ways to market a product or a service. One can utilize some of the old-school techniques such as the use of print media (banners, posters, flyers) or audio-visual tools. There is not much argument about the effectiveness of these methods, given the assumption that they are done with careful preparation and planning. However, these things cost money, a lot of money.
An actual example of the cost of these other marketing techniques can be seen in the pharmaceutical industry. Studies say that more than half of the cost that people are incurring for buying branded medicines is used to cover the expenses of marketing the products. This is a reality that reflects how marketing costs can take their toll on the product itself.
Viral marketing is a free way of spreading a marketing message. One can argue that it is not totally free (as claimed). However, the only costs for Internet viral marketing are the costs associated with Internet connection and some minor tools for getting on track. One can also do an economic valuation of the time spent for viral marketing, but every other marketing technique consumes time.
-Availability of techniques
There are many ways of doing viral marketing, especially through the Internet. Literally, there are hundred different ways of spreading a marketing message through the web. The most popular way is to use affiliate programs.
Affiliate programs gives incentives for webmasters to put up one’s banner. The webmasters earn some profit whenever the banner is clicked by the visitors. One can also look into the option of giving away free stuff to other people to get their attention and be agents of the viral marketing endeavor. One can give away free web space, free articles, free newsletters, free software, free graphics, free screensavers, etc. This is the concept which was employed the developers of hotmail. If one can remember, hotmail became a craze when it was launched. People who signed up for the free email literally became marketing agents for hotmail. They carried the marketing message which was simply embedded into their email addresses.
-Impact of viral marketing
Viral marketing, if done properly, will not only convey a marketing message, it will let the message stick to people’s minds. Creativeness comes into play when using viral marketing as a strategy. Everything starts with a bright idea and this idea is then put into operation with careful planning and execution.
Viral marketing is the way to go in these modern times of marketing. It is a very cost effective and efficient way of conveying a marketing message towards a target audience.
Viral marketing can be defined as any technique or a set of techniques that encourages persons to pass on marketing messages to others, which will produce exponential increase in the awareness of people towards a particular brand, enhancing the visibility and effect of the marketing message. It involves dispensing free products or services along with the advertisement, and in return, the recipients will pass the product along to other users.
This strategy is very attractive to businesses limited budget for marketing and advertising. It can deliver very desirable results with minimal cost in a short period of time. Of course, viral marketing also has its downside. There are times that messages related to viral marketing can resemble e-mail spam and this can create damage to the brand.
Some viral marketing strategies are more functional than the others. To help advertisers decide as to which ones are to be considered, here the elements of an effective marketing strategy:
1. Products and services are given away free of charge
2. Makes use of existing communication networks to the maximum
3. Takes advantage of common human behaviors and motivations
4. Has a medium that enables users to transfer the message to other people
5. Can switch from small scale to a large one
6. Utilizes the resources of others to carry their message out
Having these elements in mind, advertisers should carefully select the viral marketing technique that will work well for their business. Here are some popular examples:
Articles can be written by an advertiser about the business, making certain the site and the advertiser’s contact information will be included, and placed at the byline, and the message at the end of the article. Permission will be granted to people who wish to print the articles, with the condition that the name of the site and contact information will remain intact on the page. The advantage of the technique is that people who like the articles can email them to their contacts, or they can publish it on their own newsletters or web sites. The exposure is a sure thing since other people will get to read the article, and recognize the marketing message along with the creator.
E-books can be shared to others for free, enclosed with an attractive ad that showcases the most in-demand product line of the business, of course, includes the links to the advertiser’s web site and the email address. Recipients should be allowed to share the e-book to others.
Free software can be shared with others, be it a trial or a light version. Then include the ad complete with links to the site and contact information.
4. Discussion boards
A discussion board can be created on an advertiser’s web site featuring banner advertisements.
5. Web hosting
An advertiser can offer free hosting services to small businesses in exchange for placement of banners that promotes the site of the advertiser.
Awards can be created and given out to other web sites for any reason. For instance, the advertiser can create a good-looking button that the award recipient can attach to their web sites, and when others click on the button, it leads directly to the site of the advertiser.
7. Affiliate programs
Affiliate programs create financial incentive for sites for linking with others. This can be created to encourage the placement of links that provides information to products and services.
8. Referral program
A special referral program can be made for frequent visitors for bringing in new ones to the site. The person who refers a visitors can sign-up for the program and gets a commission from the advertiser.
An advertiser can encourage users to forward a newsletter to friends. It is recommended to create a newsletter that is funny and attention-grabbing, and the links to the advertiser’s site will be included in it.
Users can be permitted to post e-cards in the advertiser’s web site.
By choosing and utilizing the correct type of viral marketing strategy for their business, advertisers can expect to gain rapidly from their marketing efforts in a short period of time.
The internet boom has made mass communication achievable with just a click of a mouse. Together with this development, the internet has become a vast market that people are taking advantage of. One of the best strategies to get those customers to buy your product is through Viral Marketing. Most advertisers believe that this type of strategy is the most effective way in hauling in customers. In a can, Viral Marketing is really imitates a virus. It moves on its own, multiples sporadically, and only needs little effort for its dissemination.
A classic example of this strategy is the Hotmail e-mail service. Hotmail offered a free e-mail account, and then on every message sent, a short message below every e-mail has a commanding line asking the receiver to sign up to Hotmail. It has grown like bushfire in the internet, and today Hotmail has become one of the leading providers of free e-mail service. They are also getting advertisements by the bucket. However, viral marketing nowadays are more complicated, and it takes some of strategy and a lot of creativity to make one. Here are some simple techniques that you can use to stay ahead of the game.
Create a ‘fun page’ on your website
If you are a serious marketer, and you don’t have enough funding for a major advertisement, this is one of the best techniques that you can use. Make a little sub-page on your site with funny or interesting videos or images, or even create a mini-game that is focused on your product. Be sure to include a ‘tell a friend’ link to ensure that your ‘fun page’ gets disseminated. Creativity is the key. If your ‘fun’ page is cool enough, you can be sure that this page will sell like pancakes, and you’ll get more hits for your website.
Creating a ‘weird gossip’ is another strategy in viral marketing. A sample of this is the subservient chicken website that Burger King created. The page contained a ‘video camera’ with a command line below it. On the site, just type what you want the subservient chicken to do, and voila, the chicken will do it. People were born curious. If you have some idea in your head, do it. The subservient chicken became so popular that people forwarded the links to their friends, and all Burger King had to do was to maintain the site. Although the downside on this strategy is that you might create ‘bad’ publicity. But as the old saying goes, a bad publicity is still publicity.
An E-mail can also be used in this type of technique. Create a message with funny pictures or a video, and then send it to your friends. If it is funny enough, you can be sure that this little message will reach a lot of people. Remember that the images or video should contain at least a brand logo or a website address. The best thing that you can do here is to include your ‘name’ on the video itself, like for example a guy wearing a t-shirt with your brand name on it, or a bunch of funny pictures dealing with your products. Most forwarded e-mails are viral marketing strategies. In this technique, you can always be sure that your e-mails are going to be opened, because they came from the friends of the e-mail owner.
Free is always good. Most people search the internet with ‘free’ as one of their keywords. Free stuff can boost your website’s popularity. There are a lot of cheap items out there that you can give out for free. Creating a downloadable Flash game is one of the most used today. But of course, you should make it interesting, and make the people think that without this free stuff on their desktop, they’re missing out a lot.
If you’re serious about your business, be sure to apply these techniques in your ad campaign. This may not answer all of your promotional needs, but this will surely help you a lot in creating a buzz. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s effective. Remember, think like a virus!
Word of mouth is one way that some professionals do business. People who have availed of certain services and are impressed with it can refer it to others especially since those who pushed it will be rewarded for making the business grow.
Giving people incentives for reaching a quota help out since those who do it part time can use the extra cash for other things instead of using money from the regular job.
If the business is new and there are a lot of companies who have been doing it for years, the best way to start is to give the service away for free. When it has established itself in the market, then customers can be charged to maintain the business.
The computer age has helped expand the way viral marketing can be accomplished. The only thing needed is for the person to be resourceful to be able to get new customers hooked.
Some internet sites first started out by giving the user one or a number of email accounts for free. A good example is hotmail which offered a limited amount of space per account. People who want more will have to pay a maintenance fee to enjoy this service.
Another benefit of being a member is that the person will be informed of new products and services in the form of a newsletter that may come out monthly or quarterly.
The internet is like an encyclopedia but better. New information is always there and should the user have difficulty in doing anything such as creating an email account or need consultancy services for a certain problem, that person can be redirected to someone who can answer that question.
A good example are some websites that are designed to help people who are not good with computers troubleshoot certain problems.
If the user is experienced some problems with the service or isn’t satisfied with it, the member can also post questions and the developer will get back to the person to answer that query.
Having a website is a great way to reach a larger market. Since not everybody knows how to make a website, those who want to sell products can advertise for free. An arrangement can be made where the developer will earn a little profit for every product sold or charge these people a small fee for maintenance costs.
There are a lot of people who surf the net and those who have no idea will use a popular search engine to find it. The developer can advertise in these by using important keywords so that users will be directed to the site.
A problem some people face especially those who are studying is researching on a topic. The developer can provide a service to help these people out. Satisfied users will surely recommend it to those who are also having difficulty.
The internet has changed the way people send greeting cards and letters. A person does not have to send a card anymore using the post office but simply sign up for one site and use it.
Some of these sites will require the user to add other people, the birthdays and the email addresses which can be used later on by the developer to also send messages and other special offers.
Pop-ups is another way to get the attention of people. When the user logs on to a site, it will appear and those who like it may click on it to avail its services. This may be in the form of banners, smileys, and screensavers that people may download for free.
Those who are not interested to sign up yet can come back later. The user just has to leave certain details so the developer may contact the person in the future for new items that the customer may now be interested in.
The developer may also be a good Samaritan and help those who are just starting a website. In order for these people not to make the same mistakes or go through similar hardships, an agreement can be made where a joint venture may take place.
Using an affiliate program is another way to make the business grow since there are lot of businesses under one umbrella looking out for everything.
The developer can establish a blog site for people to voice out certain opinions. This creates debate among members which makes the site interactive. The developer can easily advertise products to the people and make some money.
There are many ways that viral marketing can used to generate traffic and sales. The person has to find what people need and work on it.