Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Viral marketing
Marketers from many of the largest corporations are using the internet extensively for viral marketing. When Procter & Gamble, GM, Pepsi, and most of the world’s largest brands use the internet, it opens the door and reduces the perceived risk.
The term “viral marketing” was originally invented to describe hotmail. com’s email practice of including advertising for itself in outgoing mail from its users. The idea is that if an advertisement reaches a susceptible user, that person will become “infected” (ie become a customer or advocate) and can then go on to infect other susceptible users. As long as each infected user contacts more than one susceptible user on average, then the number of infected users will grow fast.
Hotmail.com was developed by Microsoft, and is one of the ﬁ rst free web-based email services. Its strategy is simple. It gives away free email addresses and services with a simple tag at the bottom of every free message: “Get your private, free email at” People then forward this email to their own network of friends and associates, who see the message and sign up for their own free email service. This then keeps the cycle going, creating an ever-increasing circle of contacts, like a pebble quickly creating ripples in a pond.
Viral marketing has several key elements:
- Give away valuable products or services. Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention. Viral marketers may not proﬁt immediately, but they know that if they can generate interest from something “free,” they will proﬁt soon.
- Ensure ease of transfer or transmission to others. Viruses only spread when they are easy to transmit. The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate: for example, email, website, or software downloads. Viral marketing works online because instant communication is easy and inexpensive.
- Provide simplicity. Marketing messages always work best when they are simple and compelling. Viral marketing messages need to be simple enough to be transmitted easily and without confusion.
- Exploit people’s motivations. Clever viral marketing campaigns recognize that people want to be connected, cool, popular, or understood. As a result, people produce weblogs and forward emails and web addresses. So, design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission.
- Use existing networks. People are social, and network marketers have long understood the power of human networks, both the strong, close networks and the weaker networked relationships. Use these networks to communicate your message.
- Beneﬁt from others’ resources. Creative viral marketing plans use other people’s resources to communicate. For example, afﬁliate programs place text or graphic links on websites, while authors give away free articles or establish weblinks