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Viral Marketing: The Smart Strategy

Viral Marketing: The Smart Strategy



Grab Your Free eBook - The greatest ever viral marketing idea of all time

Grab Your Free eBook - The greatest ever viral marketing idea of all time



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    Viral Marketing: The Smart Strategy Viral Marketing: The Smart Strategy Document Transcript

    • ==== ====Grab Your Free eBook - The greatest ever viral marketing idea of all timehttp://bit.ly/zGHnrk==== ====In my experience and research, Ive found that viral marketing can be a positive or negativeadvertising method. Some companies use it correctly while others let campaigns turn negative andspiral out of control. And some people believe that viral marketing campaigns are so expensivethat only big companies can implement them on larger scales. This, however, is entirely untrue asviral marketing can work for any size business. This article will define viral marketing, describehow it works, and discuss examples and strategies for small businesses.The specific definition of viral marketing differs from person to person. However, everyonegenerally agrees that viral marketing is an advertising method that gets customers to market yourproducts and services for you. More specifically, I would say that its an advertising method thatcapitalizes on humanitys predisposition to share ideas, make new connections, and, of course,get free stuff.When Does Viral Marketing Work Best?Viral marketing is a touchy advertising method. Use it at the right times with the right products andyour name can spread like wildfire. However, employ it incorrectly and you could see some verynegative results. Viral marketing works best when a product or service is easy to use, easy toexplain, has a low level of commitment, and is generally seen as "cool" in your customers eyes.Lets look at these characteristics in order:Easy to use - Because you are having your own customers do the marketing for you, it ispreferable that their experience with the product is positive. If its difficult to use and they dislikethe product, why would they refer it to a friend?Easy to explain - Your product needs to be simple - that is, people can quickly share it withoutbeing bogged down by details. Ever wonder why those videos on file sharing websites get passedaround the Internet so quickly? All you have to do is tell a friend about a great video on theInternet and give them the link. Its simple with no explanation.Low Level of Commitment - Finally, your product must have a low level of commitment. A friendonce wanted me to sign up for one of those Internet pyramid schemes that offer a free IPOD or flatpanel TV if you get 10 people to join a program. If you actually follow through with one of thesethings, it takes about 30 minutes to sign up because you have to give endless amounts ofinformation, uncheck every free email box, and finally sell your soul. No one in their right mindwould do this more than once.
    • General Coolness Factor - Its obvious that people only want to talk about the most excitingproducts they use. No one walks up to a friend and describes the latest underwear theyve bought.Instead, they describe their new cell phone, poster, CD, or book. If your product is cool, people willtalk about it. And in most cases, the "coolness factor" can be changed based on how you positionthe product in your customers minds. In other words, its all based on the advertising that goesalong with it.Viral Marketing - The Distant Cousin of Buzz MarketingSo weve established that a product itself can bring about a viral result if it has the fourcharacteristics. But viral marketing can still work for products that do not meet these criteria if youcan generate an adequate buzz for them. Buzz marketing is generated from catchy advertisingand works when your customers talk about your product in day-to-day conversation.In recent years, buzz marketing has worked for companies like Volkswagen and Burger King.However, Im saying that buzz marketing has worked for these companies - not viral marketing.Buzz marketing all too often generates hype about the ad campaigns that feature the product andnot the product itself. Sometimes this can be negative and divert attention away from your product.Although some would argue that Crispin Porters attempt at targeting VW enthusiasts hearts wasgenuine when they came out with the "MyFast" and the "Unpimp" commercials, they do not makeme want to buy a VW - an item that definitely falls outside of the four criteria.Sure you can have catchy advertising, but make sure its advertising that focuses on product. Buzzmarketing is more of an awareness campaign. And in my experience, small businesses need tosee a return on their advertising investments - they cant afford to just promote awareness of theirproducts. You cant just produce a buzz-worthy campaign that people will forget the second theadvertisements come down. The goal is to get the product in peoples hands for the viral effect tooccur.Can Viral Marketing Work Offline? And for a Small Business?Sure it can. Im sure youve read viral marketing success stories involving Hotmail, NetZero,Skype, and even the comedian Dane Cook who used MySpace.com for his viral marketingcampaign. This might get a lot of people thinking that they need large scale campaigns that utilizewebsites, emails, and constant updates to online material. But theres one great example Id like toshare with you where a business employed a viral marketing campaign without much use of theinternet and on a very small scale.A local gym that I once went to had a great idea to hand out free t-shirts if members signed up fortheir "Guests First" program. They stopped everyone at the door, handed them a t-shirt, and toldthem that they could get a free guest pass every time they wore the shirt to the gym (the shirt hadthe gyms logo and location on it). To sign up, the members only had to verify the information theygave when they first became a gym member. It was a win-win for customers. Everyone startedwearing the t-shirts and the guest passes started flying. Whenever a guest came in, they had togive their name and email address to the front desk. Later, an email would be sent to the guest togauge their satisfaction with the gym. It also acted as a follow-up contact to the guest. This was,by far, the most intelligent and well thought out marketing scheme I had ever seen. The gym builta database of new potential customers, generated hype about the guest passes in town, put
    • walking advertisements out on the street, and, in the end, got more people in the gym. And it wasall done on a small scale.Would Viral Marketing Work for Your Business?As I said before, there are times when viral marketing works and times when it doesnt. You reallyneed to take a close look at your products and the behavior of your customers to see if its right foryour business.Products - Take one of your cheap, low cost, low involvement products and start handing it out forfree. If you are a service-based business, start offering free trials of your low cost services. Startadvertisements about the giveaways to get more people in your place of business. Be humorousand ironic - it tends to work better with viral marketing campaigns. If the products and services gethigh visibility, you will see a more viral effect. Even if you only carry expensive products that getlow visibility, research on the internet or spy on competitors to see what types of giveaway itemshave worked for other businesses. Remember, choose something that people will always see orhave a use for and associate it with your brand and business.Customer Behavior - A successful viral marketing campaign also relies on the behavior of yourcustomers. You need customers who are outgoing, friendly, and lead an active lifestyle. The morepeople that surround your customer, the more impressions your viral marketing tool will have.Remember, viral marketing, or any advertising, works best when you can achieve multipleimpressions with the least amount of effort. The last person you want to test viral marketing on issome recluse that sits inside eighteen hours a day and emerges only to restock the fridge anddrive to work. Its about getting your customers to do the work for you and advertising is all aboutvisibility. It only makes sense that you need a highly visible customer base to do this type ofadvertising.Go Out and Do It!Viral marketing can work for almost any business. You know your business and customers thebest. Set aside some time in the next few weeks to try and think of some great viral marketingtactics that you can employ. If you think the risk is too great, start small to test the water.Every business has customers. Few businesses have fans. The trick is turning your customersinto loyal fans. Then you will be surprised at just how easy viral marketing really is.Marketing Tips Provided to You by: Heather Loftiss, President of Water Design Studio([http://www.waterdesignstudio]), Author of the Customer Connection([http://www.morerepeatsales.com])Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Heather_Loftiss
    • ==== ====Grab Your Free eBook - The greatest ever viral marketing idea of all timehttp://bit.ly/zGHnrk==== ====