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Thread: Viral Marketing

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    SitePoint Member emailx's Avatar
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    Viral Marketing

    What is "Viral Marketing"? I've heard that it's word of mouth.
    I read the .NET uk magazine article (to get a better idea of what it is), but I'm still a little confused.
    Could someone give a good example of viral marketing in action? Thank you
    Sean sean@emailx.net
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    I hate the term "Viral Marketing". At first glance, it seems to associate a virus with marketing. And since a virus is bad, marketing must be too. Blah!

    A virus attaches itself to a host cell and then spreads about the body. The virus duplicates and then attaches itself to another host cell. In essence, one virus that entered the body can actually become millions of viruses cells. (Forgive me if my biology is off, it's been 4 years.)

    With that said, you'll quickly realize why Viral Marketing is called exactly that. For example, you just bought a new computer from me. You loved the computer and my service, so you tell a friend. Then they tell a friend, and so on. After a while, 50 people will love my computers, yet I only sold one, to you. You took action and spread the word. It's a virus, but a great one.

    Does this exactly help at all? Otherwise I can post a few more...
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    Thank you. That's helps. Could you also give me an example of how I would use this to start a "viral marketing campaign", in other words, do you have any idea on how to get someone to spread the word about a product or service (besides the usual: "Offer a great product")?
    Sean sean@emailx.net
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    Sure thing. As you mentioned, offering a great product will start some discussion about you, but offering a free product will fuel the conversation even more. For example, give away a free ebook to anyone who subscribes to your newsletter. You're offering free bait, which will result in more future customers.

    Include a Tell-A-Friend feature on your website. Create bumper stickers with neat sayings, including your company web address, and give them away to friends and peers. Print up some t-shirts with your company information on them. Offer a free email service, include your signature file on every outgoing message sent by your numbers (ie, Hotmail, Yahoo). Print up pencils, pens, or other widely used items, include your web address and pass them out.

    Incentive based programs (affiliate programs) are another great example.
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    Viral Marketing is basically just any method where the marketing does the work (or inspires others to do the work) for you.

    For Example: You know all those "inspirational" emails that "well-meaning" friends forward to you? I thought, "Heck, I can write out one of those." Here's the result (with encouragement at the end to forward it on to more friends!):

    ---
    I'm a success coach and participate frequently in several on-line forums. In one of those forums I was asked, recently, if I've ever set long term goals. I answered, "Yes, I recently finished my first list
    of five-year goals. The person who asked wanted to know more, so I got out my goal book, a three-ring binder that I keep my goals in, to remind myself. Here's the message I wrote back to my
    friend:

    Dear Friend,

    Interesting, I said I "recently," completed my first "Five Year" goal list because it felt like it was just yesterday. How the years fly by! In fact it was more than two years ago, April 30, 1999!

    A little background: Although I had been using goals for a while, this was my first written list of goals; goals that I admitted to myself, that I was committing to. The list was hand written, April of 1994. On it I wrote four of my (then) largest goals, goals that I really could not see how in the world I would accomplish:...

    ....In the two years that have gone past since my original target date, I have accomplished another ten of those written goals (and countless unwritten ones in between!). I find that your mind keeps working on a goal long after you "thought" you'd moved past consciously striving for it. The percentage now is 86%. I have no doubt over the next few years that ALL of my original "Five Year" goals will be accomplished. But until then, I'll just keep writing goals and living each day to its fullest!

    And you? What about you? Are you ready yet? Are you ready to commit yourself to greatness over the next five years? Set it down on paper. Commit! Do it now and start living _your_ fullest today!

    To Your Success,
    Mark Farmer
    TotalLifeSuccess.com

    If you'd like to pass this message on, please, feel free to. Just keep my name with it. This is five years of my life. And these are things that, I'm sure you can tell, have deep meaning to me.
    ------

    Yes, the story is true. Yes, the original letter was actually written to a friend asking about my goal-setting efforts. But after the letter was written I recognized it's potential, just like those those other "inspirational" letters that are always forwarded to everyone. Because of that I added the final paragraph, which, as you can see, is written to encourage others to do the work for me - forward it, to other friends, along with the url to my site.

    Your "viral marketing" campaign doesn't have to be as elaborate. As RKuhele points out there are many methods of getting your marketing to do your work by itself. Search for a method that works for you. Refine it and test it, then keep doing it till you get it to work!

    Good luck,
    mfarmerhi

    [shameless self-promotion]
    p.s. Oh yea.... know anyone who needs some inspiration? Forward my letter to them! [/shameless self-promotion]
    Last edited by mfarmerhi; Aug 27, 2001 at 21:33.
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    Thanks to both of you. I finally understand viral marketing. I will put those ideas to work right away. Thanks again
    Sean sean@emailx.net
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    Hehehe, remain word-of-mouth to "viral marketing" - Probably something a marketing consultant dreamed up and charged a customer $1 million for!
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