Viral Marketing is one of the best ways for you to sell a product or service – in fact, it's one of the best ways to make a lot of sales.
How? Because thanks to the way that viral marketing works, you don't need to have a big list, or a lot of money to put into an advertising campaign – but you can still have a huge impact.
First of all, let's go over exactly what viral marketing is. (According to Wikipedia, "Viral Marketing refers to marketing techniques that use preexisting social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, images, or even text messages.")
But that sounds a little complicated, don't you think? To break it down into plain English, basically Viral Marketing is just a way of getting a bunch of people to tell other people about something you've created to build a buzz about your product or service. And by passing it around to other people, it builds social proof – (because there's a kind of implied endorsement when you send something to someone else.) Sometimes you get lucky and the more it's passed around the more it takes on a life of its own.
A perfect example is the "Free Hugs" video on YouTube. It has been viewed by millions of people, and the music – a song written by a group called the "Sick Puppies." That video was responsible for launching their singing career – even though that was not the original intention. That video – and the story behind it went viral and caught the attention – and the hearts – of people all over the world. It even spawned a movement that is still going on.
Although you might not be able to pull off a viral marketing campaign that does as well as the "Free Hugs" video, if you are willing to spend a little time researching your market and your target audience, and can think outside the box, you can create a very successful viral marketing campaign of your own.
What kind of things can go viral? Obviously videos. (In fact, if you look at most of the "gurus" in the Internet Marketing field right now, you'll see they're all heavily using videos to promote their launches and create marketing campaigns that go viral. However, if you don't have the desire to do videos, you can go with that old standby – the "Special Report." Podcasts, white papers, even case studies all have the ability to "go viral" and get a lot of people very interested in what you have to say – and sell.
To create a successful viral marketing campaign, it's very important that you find the right mix of media, marketing and audience. Make sure that your target audience is going to be interested in what you have to say, the way you're saying it and how you're bringing it to their attention. If you get these three things right, chances are, you'll have a winner on your hands, and your next marketing campaign will go viral too.