Many people may have heard the term “viral” associated with different styles of marketing and wonder what some of them are, but specifically what is viral marketing? Well, the simple answer to the question is that this type of product promotion is a form of advertising, which deals mainly with the infiltration of the Internet, with advertisements, logos, and critical product placement in a manner that will most easily entice people to buy their products.
The idea behind viral marketing is that if you can get the product up in multiple places on the web and in front of as many eyes as possible for as little money as possible, you are doing some really good marketing on a budget. Most of the companies behind this style of promotion are smaller businesses that just want to get the word out about their product but don’t have the money to hire a public relations firm or spend money on advertising.
One of the more effective methods of viral marketing is to form a Joint Venture with another business. While you have the product, your JV partner may bring his customer content list of thousands and his marketing skills to the project. In most cases a JV will benefit both parties involved with an equal split of the profits and possibly the work.
Another form of getting your product, to race around the internet world, is to set up an affiliate program with 100s of individuals and business promoting your product. The difference between a JV and an affiliate, is the affiliate will only get paid a percentage of each individual sale personally made by them.
If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of what is viral marketing, then you should realize that it is something anyone with a computer and a little bit of technological savvy can do. First of all, using social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace is a fairly ingenious way of getting your product or service out to the public. You can set up a site, get all of the relevant information listed on your homepage, and then add friends.
Theoretically, just adding whoever to your profile isn’t going to do you any good as they are likely looking to connect with friends and won’t be interested in your product. The best way to market yourself is to look through the MySpace groups and find those with similar interests. Say that you are a writer marketing a new book. Adding other writers isn’t going to get you a whole lot of customers, but adding people who are fans of your genre, well, that’s a different story.
Some viral marketing ideas include sending out chain letters with information about your product buried within a story that urges people to continue resending the letter to all of their friends. This is a decent idea, but if you use the chain letter to try and collect money for something that doesn’t exist or run a scam for a business, then that is fraud and is a crime. You have to be careful and make sure that you aren’t breaking any laws.
Now that you have an answer to the question of what is viral marketing, you should also know that using viral marketing plans too much can cause some problems. If people feel they are being slammed by the product, then you are going to find many of your potential clients turned off by your aggressiveness.
Just remember that you’re trying to get the word out and tell people about your idea without being too pushy and you should be just fine.