Viral marketing can best be described as a marketing campaign that permits you to reach a large number of people quickly online, much in the same way a human cold virus might spread throughout an office complex. The online equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing, viral marketing permits people to pass along marketing material to friends, customers, and colleagues so that the marketing campaign catches on and spreads like wildfire. Because many online distribution channels are free or low cost, viral marketing is possibly the most cost-effective Internet marketing technique out there. Once you’ve launched your viral marketing campaign, it has the capability grow and spread automatically for years.
With a well-thought out and implemented viral marketing campaign, you can:
increase targeted traffic to your site
build brand recognition
increase your link popularity
collect contact information from targeted prospects
Two of the most common viral marketing strategies I’ve seen implemented are viral movies and viral ebooks. Movies can be quite costly to produce, but with the increasing popularity of video viewing sites like YouTube, your ROI (return on investment) may be the highest from this form of viral marketing. TheTimeMovie.com was the movie that introduced me to the concept of video viral marketing. It’s short, compelling, and evokes an emotional response from the viewer — all important attributes to ensure that people pass it along to each other.
One of the best viral ebook creators is Seth Godin, who had over 1,000,000 people download his ebook, Unleashing the Ideavirus. It’s still one of the most discussed marketing books around, and Seth has had similar success and gained a great following by giving away other ebooks he wrote, as well. Most of these ebooks are now for sale as paperbacks, and I’m sure this viral marketing strategy led to very high sales of his printed books. At the very least, the strategy has pushed him to the top of the list of marketing experts.
How can you create a viral marketing strategy to drive traffic to your website? Here’s a step-by-step process:
1. Determine what you’re giving away. Will you make a movie, write an ebook, create an ecourse, or have a special piece of software written for you? The key to success in picking your product is to make sure that it solves a big problem experienced by your target market. You may also locate your giveaway by using something that someone else has created that permits you to brand it with your company information. (Get an example below in the author’s resource box).
2. Brand the product. Make sure that your logo, your website URL, and/or your tagline is on the viral marketing piece. You want anyone who downloads this viral marketing product to be able to link back to your website, just as you would want someone to be able to contact your brick-and-mortal store when you provide a promotional giveaway like a pen, coffee cup, mousepad, etc.
3. Set up delivery process. Will visitors be able to download the software directly from your site, or will they have to provide their contact information? The best option is to give it away with no strings attached. However, on the page in which you offer the download, you can offer visitors yet another gift, one that requires their contact info to receive.
4. Give away the rights. If you’d like to really jump start the viral marketing process, give people the rights to give away your viral marketing piece to their own customers.
5. Rebrand the item. If you permit people to rebrand the giveaway with some of their contact info or affiliate links, as well, they will really be motivated to pass along your viral marketing piece.
6. Announce the availability of the item. Write an article or a press release about your viral marketing item. Announce its availability to your contact database or ezine list. Ask your readers or visitors to your blog to announce it to their lists or just simply give it away.
Capturing the power of viral marketing is a simple and cost-effective strategy to drive traffic to your website. If implemented properly, who knows how much fame and fortune this technique could bring you?
Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. Get your free affiliate link cloaking program at Affiliate-Link-Cloak.com. It’s a perfect example of viral marketing in action! Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at AskDonnaGunter.com .