What is viral marketing and how does it work? Viral marketing can best be described as “Internet word-of-mouth”. It is seen as a 3rd party, unbiased referral of an offer, product or service and is given more credibility because it is coming from a friend. No doubt you have heard the old adage "she told two friends, then they told two friends and so on and so on..." You may have heard viral marketing referred to as V-Marketing, organic marketing, word-of-mouth marketing or word-of-mouse marketing. The benefits of this extremely affordable and nearly effortless marketing tool are astonishing. In the US, 64% of the people will try something recommended to them by a friend. In addition, a person will relay a positive experience online to an average of 12 people, which equates to five times as many people as they tell offline. So, how exactly do you implement this amazing marketing strategy?
successful viral marketing strategy should take the following elements
give away something of value (coupons, e-specials, newsletters, etc.)
sent to others with little effort
utilize existing communication networks
want a higher rate of referral you might want to offer an incentive. For example
"Send this coupon to 3 friends and be entered into our monthly draw for a
free weekend stay at our resort...or a free round of golf for 4...or lift
tickets for 4 at our ski hill..." or whatever appropriate prize you have
for your target market.
Marketing can be seen in many forms:
- free greeting cards
or postcards on Web sites
- "tell-a-friend” links to recommend a site or service to a friend or
- send a newsletter to a friend
- send a copy of e-specials or coupons to a friend
- "tell-a-friend" about our associate or affiliate program
The design and placement of the viral marketing elements is crucial to the effectiveness
of the strategy. One should keep the following criteria in mind when implementing
any of these elements:
be easy to comprehend
stand out clearly from the rest of the web site content
concise directions on how to act
an incentive to the referrer
A prime example of viral marketing can be seen on the first page of this
free to pass this newsletter on to a friend who may benefit from its
resources. If you received this email through a friend and would like to join
our mailing list, click here
type "subscribe" in the subject line."
We have also included a graphic on the right hand side to reinforce this
of the most effective forms of viral marketing is the use of the “tell-a-friend”
element on your web site. (In fact, it is recommended that many pages within
your web site incorporate this technique for ultimate exposure). The user
supplies the contact information of a friend or associate that they feel
could benefit from your product or service. Once they hit the send button,
an email is sent along to the addressees telling them about the great product
or service your web site offers. Remember, because the referrer is seen as an
unbiased 3rd party the recipient is more likely
to visit your web site to take advantage of the offer.
assist you in implementing this viral marketing technique
are a number of web sites that provide “tell-a-friend” scripts. One is
listed below as well as an example of a script in action.
networking, your web site visitors push traffic to your location and promote
your site's unique offerings of qualities. Recommend-It's® "visitor-generated" personalized
email referrals create excitement that doesn't diminish. Each time a user
visits your web site and tells a friend, your web site wins. Be the next
big buzz with Recommend-It's® referrals technology.
Use this free tool to create your own "tell-a-friend"
script, we did!
A Friend Example
Check out a “tell-a-friend” script in action on our Web
mentioned there are a number of methods of invoking this marketing plan
and a few ideas are listed below to stimulate your brainstorming session:
a free newsletter filled with valuable content aimed at your target market and
encourage subscribers to send a copy to a friend. Also make it easy for
those who received it from a friend to subscribe themselves.
free email postcards or greeting cards from your Web site
a Recommend-It.com system on your Web site and look at all of your repeat
traffic generators for viral marketing opportunities (such as contests,
e-specials, coupons, specials and deals)
an opt-in mailing list for notification of updates to your Web site with a
summary of changes
- Send a copy of an article that may appear on your Web site (works best with
a graphic icon).
key points to consider as well when incorporating any of these ideas into your
viral marketing plan is to remember that privacy is vital for success. Users
will only pass along information and new subscribers will only subscribe if they
site is the best practice.
In addition, with the prevalent spread of destructive viruses on the Internet,
you should avoid using attachments on the message you are trying to spread. Many
security measures have been put into place in larger corporations to prevent
employees from opening attachments which may contain potentially harmful viruses. The
fact is most people are cautious about opening unsolicited attachments.
have included a couple of resources for you to check out when developing
your viral marketing strategy. For additional resources on a variety of topics, I recommend you
visit the resources section of my Web site at http://www.susansweeney.com/resources.php
will find additional tips, tools, techniques and resources.
Sticky and Viral Site Marketing
great article from Web Developers Journal that is filled with viral marketing
ideas for your site as well as tools for implementing them.
for Optimizing Viral Marketing Campaigns
great list of tips for making the most of your viral marketing campaign.
Web – Viral Marketing Techniques the Typical Business Web Site Can Deploy
Ralph F. Wilson, E-Commerce Consultant gives the reader some ideas for
viral marketing on their web site. In fact Dr. Wilson’s entire site (http://www.wilsonweb.com
provides valuable information on Internet marketing topics.
Visit my Web site at http://www.susansweeney.com