Viral Marketing. What is it? And why should I use it?
Whether you are a small, start-up company or a large, well-known corporation, it is always good to continue to be in front of your consumers and on their radar. A recent campaign spreading through Social Media is the ALS ice bucket challenge. This is an example of a perfectly executed Viral Marketing strategy. Viral Marketing is a great way to be in front of your consumers and build your brand at the same time. So, what exactly is Viral Marketing? Viral Marketing is a strategy that focuses on spreading information about a product and service from person to person quickly by using unconventional means. Simply put, it is letting other people do your marketing for you without them even realizing it. Viral Marketing can significantly increase the amount of traffic coming to your site. It is typically compared to a chain letter, but the difference between a chain letter and viral marketing is that you do not have to tell consumers what to do with the message in Viral Marketing. Viral Marketing can provide maximum brand impact in a small amount of time. In order for a campaign to be successful, the message has to be share-worthy and easily shareable. The next few paragraphs cover some things to keep in mind when crafting a Viral Marketing campaign.
The first thing to keep in mind is to make it relevant. It could be related to a current event or an issue in your industry. It is very important to make sure that it relates to your audience in a meaningful way. You can also incorporate some humor. This is what made the ALS ice Bucket Challenge so successful. It related to people very well and drew on the emotion, but it was also humorous and easy to share.
The second thing is to keep it simple. Viral messages depend on fast and easy replication in order for them to spread, so it is important to keep your idea simple and unique. This also helps to ensure that the message is not lost in translation. People will innately share things that they perceive carry value as well. Be sure to make the project share-worthy and relate able to many different demographics. Whichever medium you use to carry your marketing message, whether it be an embedded video or a hyperlink, it must be easy to be transferred and replicated. The simpler it is, while still relaying a powerful message, the quicker it will take off.
Technology today has made people very lazy. If it is not convenient, then people will simply not do it. Therefore, the replication of your message should be effortless. By including the right share buttons, hyperlinks, hashtags, etc. you are making it even easier for your consumers to share your message via social media or e-mail. The heart of viral marketing is your audience sharing your project, if this fails, than the project will fail. The more your audience shares, the more publicity you gain.
A benefit of a well-executed Viral Marketing strategy is that you will end up having a lot of backlinks to your site, which will help with your Search Engine Optimization. It can propel your company in the search engine rankings. If SEO is something that you are struggling with, then a Viral Marketing campaign will help you gain popularity and move you up in search rankings.
Lastly, most people are social, and with technology there are many ways to be social. It can be face to face, through Facebook or any other social media application, or through e-mail. Research that has been done on social habits tells us that each person has a network of close friends or family that typically ranges from 8 to 12 people. This is considered their core network, but some people may have hundreds or thousands of people in their broader network. This can include social media friends, clients, or followers. You want to use people to spread the message to all of their friends. A very creative and effective way to use viral marketing is to use others’ resources to get the word out. You want to encourage consumers to spread the message throughout their network. Some other ideas would be to use affiliate programs, a news release or other blogs. You can use Affiliate programs to place links on other websites, a news release can potentially be seen by hundreds of thousands of readers, and if your content is “blog-worthy,” bloggers will write about it and link back to you. People find blogs intriguing and they’re a great way to build your brand. All of these options result in someone else using their resources to relay your marketing message, which is the definition of Viral Marketing.
Viral marketing can be a very effective and inexpensive strategy to generate interest for your business. The key to any strategy is execution. You can plan for years and have an amazing idea, but if it is not executed correctly than it will not be effective. Another thing to keep in mind is that the end goal is to not only create interest, but increase sales, so make sure you are benchmarking your success!