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A Guide to Internet Viral Marketing

Jun 5, 2008
Companies have long desired to create a buzz about themselves and develop ways to spread their message around in a quick and inexpensive way. Enter, Viral marketing. The Internet answer to creating product or company buzz.

Viral marketing is aptly named because when employed successfully promotional content for a company is spread about the Internet like a virus. People hear this term tossed around often on the news, on the Internet and in everyday conversation but many have little to no knowledge of what it actually means. Viral marketing campaigns use existing social networking sites like, You Tube and Myspace to increase their brand awareness. Companies create a discreetly promotional marketing medium such as, a video, a game, a brandable software program, an image or occasionally even a text message and they encourage users to pass it on.

Initially, viral marketing was practiced by free web based e-mail companies. Hotmail was the first company to use a viral marketing campaign. They placed a link at the bottom of all the outgoing messages from their users to encourage the recipients of those e-mails to create their own account. This tactic did not originally have a name, but it was quite effective and many other companies began using similar methods for getting the word out about their business.

There are many keys strategies to creating an effective viral marketing promotion. However, there are six principle elements that any viral marketing promotion should have if it has any chance at success. Companies that wish to succeed in viral marketing must start by creating a product or service they are giving away, such as the aforementioned items. The viral marketing campaign also needs to be easily transferable so that users can easily pass it on. Companies that wish to start a viral marketing campaign must be prepared for that campaign to scale from very small to very large. For instance, if you set up a website that users will ultimately join after the viral marketing campaign that website must be able to handle the traffic created. It is pointless to increase your traffic or user base if you cannot properly serve or accommodate a large volume of people.

A successful viral marketing campaign must also capitalize on common behaviors and desires. People want to be cool, funny, rich and loved. Many successful viral marketing campaigns have been successful as direct result of giving people the perception or ability to achieve one of these things. For instance, if you create a hilarious viral video as a marketing tool people may pass it around, in the hope of being the one who introduced it to others.

Finally, a viral marketing campaign should always take advantage of others' resources. Many companies accomplish this by affiliating themselves with another company to gain the ability to place a graphic, link or text on that companies website. Not only does this create exposure, but when done properly it saves your resources for other purposes.
About the Author
Russell Hancock writes articles on many subjects including Internet Marketing. He owns the rSeek Network of websites which include
Cliksearch Search Portal and Informational Sites and
rSeek All in One Search Portal and
ArticleGimp Article Directory
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