What is Viral Marketing?
Viral marketing is a marketing strategy that relies on individuals rather than traditional campaigns to pass along a message to others. It usually refers to marketing on the Internet. Viral marketing is so named because of the tendency for messages to use “hosts” to spread themselves rapidly, like a biological virus.
The term “viral marketing” first became prominent when used to describe a marketing campaign for the e-mail service Hotmail.com. When the company launched, every outgoing message contained an advertisement for Hotmail and a link to its website at the bottom of the e-mail. As people e-mailed their friends and colleagues, they were also advertising the service. Recipients could simply click on the link and sign themselves up, and as they e-mailed friends from their new account, the message spread within existing social networks and was passed along with little effort from the company.
This example demonstrates all the key elements of viral marketing. Its cost to the advertiser is minimal. Instead, it takes advantage of existing resources by making everyone who uses the product an involuntary spokesperson. It exploits common behaviors, such as sending an e-mail. Viral marketing uses communications networks that are already in place. And most importantly, viral marketing offers the ability to spread a message exponentially faster and to more people than conventional third-party ad campaigns.
There are different types of viral marketing, all using the same fundamental principles. Pass-along messages encourage users to send them along to others, such as e-mails with instructions to forward at the bottom or humorous video clips. Incentive-driven messages offer rewards in exchange for providing e-mail addresses. Undercover viral marketing presents messages in an unusual page or false news item without any direct incitement to pass it along, in the hopes that word-of-mouth will spread the message. Gossip or buzz marketing seeks to get people talking about something by creating controversy.
Create a Buzz Online!
Our expert internet marketing consultants will develop a unique internet marketing solution that matches your business goals and budget. Our unique Internet marketing tools & strategies drive traffic & get people talking about your brand, product, or service.
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Viral Internet Marketing Overview
- Strategy & Design – we design custom strategic viral Internet campaigns around your company, product, goals & budget and integrate it into your overall marketing mix
- Delivery – we initiate your viral campaign, seed it throughout the web, and help you build the buzz you need
- Tracking – we track and report all campaign metrics
- Management – we’ll manage all aspects of your viral Internet marketing campaign