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The Impact of Viral Marketing

Viral marketing, stripped down to its most basic definition, is a form of marketing that propagates itself. This self-propagation occurs at an exponential rate – therein lies the true impact of viral marketing. When executed properly, this online marketing phenomenon can bring scores of visitors to your business. Since viral promotions encourage voluntary participation, the percentage of targeted traffic is high.

Viral marketing involves the use of all the media formats available on the internet such as video clips, interactive flash games, e-books, text messages, etc. Popular mediums that drive traffic include social bookmarking sites, forums, blogs, newsletters, emails, etc. Viral marketing is largely word-of-mouth and that makes it all the more believable since it is carried out by people that readers can connect to. It is not the structured advertisement issued by a company which more often than not induces cynicism in the viewer. A good word by a satisfied customer does more for a product or company than a heavy ad spend on conventional advertisements. It is this aspect of human behavior that viral marketing looks to exploit.

A carefully structured viral marketing strategy that incorporates the various elements of viral marketing can create multiple small ripples across cyberspace that spread your message far and wide. Your viral marketing efforts will gain strength if they have a good balance of the following elements:

  1. Free products and services are a powerful means of garnering attraction. If you are prepared for some delayed but substantial gratification, then consider offering freebies to generate interest and information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and opportunities for building contacts.
  2. Use the appropriate medium that is best suited for your message. Viruses multiply best under ambient conditions, and the internet provides just the right conditions for your viral message to propagate all over. Try and make your message concise, powerful, and brief so that the essence of the communication is maintained every time it moves ahead.
  3. Plan for scale when success hits so that you are prepared to handle the increase in traffic and subsequent increase in business.
  4. Understand that human urges are the prime drivers of the viral marketing phenomenon. You need to tap into these so that your efforts can generate the desirable impact. Transmit your message so that it appeals to the motivations, desires, and even greed of your audience.
  5. Viral marketing works so fast and so well because there are a lot of other people working willingly to promote another person’s message. So, use these networks. Forums, emails, blogs, videos, and the like can carry your message. If your message has appeal, then there’s a veritable army of helpful netizens out there to spread the word on your behalf.

To conclude, the phenomenon of viral marketing has made enterprises sit up and take notice. Businesses are now including viral marketing techniques into their CRM efforts to communicate with their existing and prospective customers. As a businessperson, it depends on your strategic efforts in creating a viral marketing strategy that will have a lasting positive influence on your business.