Viral Marketing is exactly as it sounds – Marketing that spreads like a virus and reaches its potential audience through 3rd party (often forwarded by friends) distribution.
It can be used to increase brand recognition, brand awareness and brand positioning, and relies on engaging users by finding a common trigger point, usually a comedic element.
Hotmail provides us with a perfect example of how effective this can be. Being one of the first free Web-Mail email service providers, Hotmail wanted to get a foothold in the market. The plan was simple. They continued to provide users with a free email address and associated services. At the footer of each email message sent, they attached a simple tag promoting their free service.
The message was read by the recipient and hotmail’s name and service propelled globally, now offering email services to over 360 million users.
A viral marketing strategy is simple. Hotmail chose to include one line of text at the end of every outgoing email message, spreading the Hotmail name like a virus. Other campaigns can be run using, >Video clips, Interactive Flash games, Advergames, e-Books, Branded Software, Images, Text Messages.
A more recent viral marketing attempt was performed by Old Spice, the men’s toiletry brand, who filmed some videos to promote their products. These were uploaded onto the internet and within 36 hours the videos had been viewed an incredible 23 million people, the fastest growing online viral campaign ever.
Anyone considering a viral marekting campaign will need to get in tune with thier creative side with some quality content to distribute, understand the audience you are targeting and then reach them with multi channel delivery.
These are the basic principles of Viral Marketing. There are more advanced information and case studies that you can read about in our other articles.