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Effective Viral Marketing

Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence.

Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce or increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives such as product sales through self-replicating viral processes.

Viral marketing is also called as word-of-mouth marketing. Instead of spending an insane amount of money on newspapers ads, TV commercials or banner ads, you spent nothing - and let your fans do all the work for you. Viral marketing campaigns are an amazing way to generate a huge amount of buzz and brand awareness whether they are carried out online or offline.

Elements of a Viral Marketing Strategy

Some viral marketing strategies work better than others. But below are the basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain all these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be.

Effective viral marketing strategies are:

Gives valuable products or services

"Free" is the most powerful word in a marketer's vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention. Free e-mail services, free information, free software programs that perform powerful functions but not as much as you get in the "pro" version.

Viral marketers practice delayed gratification. They may not profit today, or tomorrow, but if they can generate a groundswell of interest from something free, they know they will profit "soon and for the rest of their lives".

Provides for effortless transfer to others
Viruses only spread when they're easy to transmit. The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate: e-mail, website, graphic, software download. Viral marketing works famously on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive.

Scales easily from small to very large

To spread like wildfire the transmission method must be rapidly scalable from small to very large. You must build in scalability to your viral model.

Proper utilization of existing communication networks

Social scientists tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates. A person's broader network may consist of scores, hundreds, or thousands of people, depending upon her position in society. A bus driver, for example, may communicate regularly with hundreds of commuters in a given week. Network marketers have long understood the power of these human networks, both the strong, close networks as well as the weaker networked relationships. People on the Internet develop networks of relationships, too. They collect e-mail addresses and favorite website URLs.

Takes advantage of others' resources
The most creative viral marketing plans use others' resources to get the word out. Affiliate programs, for example, place text or graphic links on others' websites. Authors, who give away free articles, seek to position their articles on others' WebPages. A news release can be picked up by hundreds of periodicals and form the basis of articles seen by hundreds of thousands of readers. Now someone else's newsprint or webpage is relaying your marketing message. Someone else's resources are depleted rather than your own.

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