Viral marketing is producing material to market a product with the hopes that the material will be so interesting that it spreads like a virus on social networks. It may be a text message, an article, a free e-book, an image, a video, or a game.
How Does the Buzz Start?
The target of viral marketing is people with strong social networking influence. Specifically, those who have a lot of followers.
A virus, or viral campaign, is said to be successful if each infected person passes the virus on to more than one person. That’s how an epidemic is determined. You want your viral campaign to be an epidemic.
Effective Viral Marketing
To improve your viral marketing efforts, look at what has gone viral in the past. It won’t be hard to find. For example, if you want your video to go viral, do an internet search for “viral video”. Watch a bunch of them and then create something similar.
Something you will notice in common with all viral products is that they feed human desire; the need to be popular, in on the latest thing, rich, or smart.
The most effective viral device will relate directly to the product you are trying to promote or sell. That may not always be possible. No matter how related, or unrelated, your viral device is, be sure there is some link, logo, or text advertising your product that cannot be easily removed. For example, when someone gets your video, they should also get your logo and website url.
Giving something away is extremely effective. For example, let’s say you’ve written an e-book on cutting shopping expenses in half. Give away a free pdf of “30 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half” with a link to your e-book landing page at the top and bottom.
Your viral product must be easy to pass along and copy. One of the easiest to share is a link to a web page, an image, an mp3, a short video, or software.
Your product must also be able to handle the jump in popularity. If you have a website, for example, you need to have something worked out with your service provider in advance so the site doesn’t shut down when the paid-for bandwidth is exceeded.
Ideally, you should create a product that doesn’t depend on your own resources. A pdf that’s free to distribute doesn’t require such heavy bandwidth back on your own site until people come looking to buy your book – and, even then, you can refer them to online booksellers where hosting will not reach a limit.
What is Not Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is not tricking people into passing your product along. For example, if the “30 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half” are the 30 least effective ways or it’s the most poorly researched part of your book, your campaign will fail as you are found out. On the other hand, you don’t want to give away the best part either and disappoint future buyers. You should have both a good quality viral offering and a good quality product.
Viral marketing is not paying people to pretend they love your “viral” device either. That’s stealth marketing. Leave that to big corporations that can afford to risk money on a campaign with a high chance of failure.
Viral marketing is offering a free product that people desire in order to promote or sell another product or service. If it was easy, everyone would be making viral products. Everyone with something to sell is trying to get a viral product going. The more attempts you make, the better your chance of success.