Viral Marketing

"An Ideavirus is an idea that moves, grows and infects everyone – it touches. An Ideavirus is based on customers marketing to each other", Seth Godin. 

Viral Marketing is a special case of Ideavirus. Viral marketing is about connections. It relies on the connected nature of people to pass-along messages to eachother – the word of mouth. The more quality connections a company can make, the more business impressions they will create. When acting on Internet, Viral Marketing utilises electronic means to spread messages in self-replicating way. The marketing campaign may be wildly successful even if the rate at which things are spread isn't of epidemic proportions, if this user-to-user sharing is sustained by other forms of marketing communications, such as public relations or advertising. There are "wild" viral campaigns, when a message is passed without any intentions, or marketers' planning. They can take place when something genuine is placed on the market, these campaigns aren't planned by marketers and  many times can have negative messages about the brand.

Controlled Viral Marketing is when there is a strategy planning for the goals defined, for a brand to be marketed and, the methods to pass the message. Viral promotions may take form of videoclips, texts, ebooks, interractive flash games, brandable software, images, etc.
Viral campaigns can have considerable contributions in the eMarketing strategy. With  correct  planning it can provide plenty of links which contribute to a better SEO strategy. It is links building to your site in a natural way. Sometimes it is unable to measure brand awareness which is the main goal of a viral campaign.  A viral campaign must have a demographic vectorisation and  to be clear without detracting from social nature of it. Viral campains can dive direct response, to consumer collaboration, on consumer generated media. Viral campaigns can be unpredictable, but with careful planning  you are giving the best chance  for success.

Defining the goals. When planning a campaign, the start point is defining the goals. According to the goal you build a message which can be driving traffic into your website, building brand awareness, building  SEO links, growing anticipation of a new product or leading the custοmers to make a purchase. By its concept, a viral campaign should always build links.

Specifying the message/content to be shared.  For a viral campaign to be worthy of sending on, it has to be unconventional, in order to incite the public. To reach this purpose, the content can have one or some  of the following characteristics:  - it is something rare - it is the best, - it is very educational, - it is very funny,  - it is interesting, - it is informative, - it is unusual, - it is kind of cryptic, - users want to replicate or copy it, it can be  free.

Sharing the content/message. The marketers can use existing social media to host and to share the messages. The marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to identify individuals with high Social Network Potential who have more probability to forward the message. The messages have to easy to pass on as it is more likely they will be passed on by including links like "forward to a friend", "send to a friend" and tell the users how to link to your content. This also leads to short sign-up forms, which are easing the process of getting users involved, the longer the sign up form are, the slower the involving process will go.  Write articles and encourage others to to post them as content to theirs sites containing links to yours. Social networking sites are ideal for viral marketing. Submit your short, informative piece of writing that reveals an idea or concept in an entertaining or interesting way in blogs, discussion forums, press releases and newsletters. To run an effective viral campaign  offer incentive, personalized referrals, track and analyze the results.

Stimulating, sharing and interacting. In order to stimulate the sharers, the content should be worth spreading, there needs to be resurceful, interesting, humorous, whatever will make people want to share it! Sometimes it can be a financial reward, like vouchers  for a number of friends to whom the message is sent.

Message availability. For a virus campain to be successful the virus accessability is very important, it shouldn't be more difficult or complicated than the usual online habits. Also regarding the  sophisticated games, which have cryptic messages tend to be easy accessable. Blogging and editorial mentions in traditional media ca help spreading the virus creating so a huge amount of traffic.
Constant feed. A viral marketing campain has its lifecycle, this strategy can  show decrease after a certain period of time,  unless you institutionalize the process of honing, improving and launching new viruses, to replace the decreasing ones.

Viral Marketing Benefits

Exploit the viral marketing techniques to drive more targeted traffic, increase brand awareness, easily and quickly build reputation, increase sales leads and boost search engine visibility and promotion. Through this fast, low cost and exceptionally efficient marketing technique, you can have several benefits: inexpensive advertising solution compared to other advertising methods,  easy to integrate with other marketing methods, increases targeted traffic into your website, growth of the business exposure of your online business.