Viral Marketing: The modern way of “word of mouth” references

Word of mouth promotion has always been a solid way for a business to increase its sales. It provides consumers with an instant ‘feel good’ knowing that someone they know has already tested the waters. Social media is built on this concept. It’s all about sharing your experiences with your network, which in turn gets shared with your networks network and so on and so forth. The concept behind it is called viral marketing and if you haven’t already seen it in action, you will be amazed at how effectively it works!

Viral marketing can be defined as “any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.”

One of the best and most classic examples of viral marketing is Hotmail.com, one of the first free Web-based e-mail services. Their strategy was simple:
How Viral Marketing Works

  1. Give away free e-mail addresses and services
  2. Attach a simple tag at the bottom of every free message sent out: “Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com”
  3. Then stand back while people e-mail to their own network of friends and associates
  4. Who see the message
  5. Sign up for their own free e-mail service
  6. And then propel the message still wider to their own ever-increasing circles of friends and associates.

Hotmail launched in July 1996, is now available in 36 languages and has over 360 million active accounts. I don’t think anything more needs to be said on how well this simple strategy worked 🙂

Nowadays, viral marketing is one of the most efficient ways to pass on your message. The beauty of it is, regardless of the size of your business, what your customers think of you is the key. Through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube, a customer can easily broadcast their experience with you to the world. Search engines also love viral marketing as they see it as fresh unbiased content, which fits in their search algorithms perfectly.

However, it is important to remember that though viral marketing is a great tool for a business, it can also be the complete opposite. One bad review can spread like a wildfire and can hurt your business’s reputation quite quickly. This is yet one more reason why it is SO important to keep an eye on what we like to call your e-Dentity (or more simply, your online identity).

If you have any questions about viral marketing or would like to discuss how it can be used to leverage your sales, please contact us, we’d love to show you exactly how we can get it working for you!

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