Viral Marketing. Often not understood, and difficult to intentionally design, it can be an incredibly effective means of promoting your product and services. Don’t believe me? Then let me ask, what do you think of when I say the word “Old Spice”? Have you ever received a voice mail from a celebrity, addressing you by name? Remember when the rumors around the film The Blair Witch Project caused many to believe it was a real documentary, and made it one of the most profitable independent films ever made? These are just a couple examples of viral marketing being used very successfully to promote a product or service.
Viral Marketing is defined as any marketing strategy that encourages users to pass on the marketing materials or message to others. This creates an exponential growth pattern, not unlike that of the flu virus, as the material is forwarded from friend to friend, allowing the message to reach millions, if done right.
Viral Marketing might not be right for your company, but there are several important lessons that can be learned from the successes we’ve seen in viral marketing campaigns. Outlined below by your friends at Spark Logix Studios, are five marketing principles that anyone can incorporate into their marketing campaigns.
1 – Free Products or Services
In all likelihood, the most powerful word in a marketer’s toolbox, is the word “free”. The majority of viral marketing strategies give away something for free. Free ringtones. Free samples. Free games. A free version of your software, which doesn’t offer as many features as the “professional” version. A core principle of viral marketing, is delayed gratification. You may be giving away free product initially, but understanding that the attention and buzz you can generate from your campaign will pay off in spades down the road.
2 – Spreads Easily
Similar to the flu virus, you want to make your marketing campaign spreads easily. With the advent of the internet, this has become easier than ever. An e-mail forward, or better yet, a link to a youtube video, is something that most people won’t think twice about before sharing it with their friends on facebook, or other social media platforms. If it’s too complicated, or difficult to figure out, most people won’t bother.
3 – Easy to Scale
While emphasizing free products or services, you also need to be careful that if your marketing campaign takes off, you won’t be left in the lurch, unable to keep your business afloat. You need to understand, that if your free give away costs you $1 per potential customer, if it blows up, it could end up costing your company thousands, if not millions of dollars.
4 – Use a Common Human Motivation
Your marketing campaign should appeal to some aspect of basic human nature. Whether it’s fear, humor, sex appeal, or our innate love for all things cute, if there isn’t some sort of base appeal, people are unlikely to connect with your marketing scheme. So be sure to include this sort of psychological understanding when planing your campaigns.
5 – Uses Existing Communication Networks
Make sure you take advantage of common methods of communication. Text messages, internet videos, e-mails, websites, these are things that in the digital age are easy to use, and the vast majority of people are familiar with them. Why reinvent the wheel, when the wheel works perfectly well. Better to spend your energy coming up with a clever marketing campaign, than trying to innovate how marketing is done.