Apr 25, 2013

Best Viral Marketing Tools

The practice of using viral marketing tools is in use since ancient times and finds mention in the Greek historical records, although it wasn't referred to as 'viral marketing'. A virus is characterized with a rapid multiplication after it infects a body and within a short period it infects every person in its zone of influence. The same principle applies to viral marketing.

Consider a scenario in which your high school friend is slapped by another colleague and 4-5 people notice this event. The next day you go to school and hear almost every person around you talking about the incident. How do you reckon this happened? Let us assume that each person who saw the incident mentions it to 5 people who further pass the news onto 25 people and so on. Within 2 more such iterations 625 people know that your friend had been slapped! This is a exactly how it works.

Understanding Viral Marketing

The aim of a viral marketer is to spread or rapidly multiply the message or information that needs to be conveyed. The most effective way to do this is a word of mouth publicity or through a fast medium like the Internet. The main advantage of using this technique is that, it requires less effort, as the medium of communication itself acts as the primary source of information and marketing. For example in the above mentioned case, the people themselves become the primary source and ensure rapid spread of the information. Thus it can be seen that viral marketing can be a very effective way of selling or presenting your product or service to the target clientèle.

Another important aspect is to understand the factors that can effectively and convincingly assist you in promoting your product. The best way to market an entity is through a network of closely related people since they trust the word of a friend or an acquaintance more than any advertising campaign. Hotmail is a classic example of the systematic use of this tools. It made use of the internet marketing platform to advertise its services. Hotmail services had tags attached to every e-mail account of the net user. The tags were simple signing up forms meant for adding further users. These customers would then send mails to their regular communicators most of whom actually did sign-up for the service, following the primary customer. The chain result was an exponential increase in the subscribers for Hotmail service.

Important Viral Marketing Tools
  • Understanding the market psychology: A 'free' service is an instant attention grabber. Nothing sells a product better than giving it free of cost initially. It may sound ironic but the strategy is very effective, especially in the case of web services. Promoting a product by offering trials directly or through the existing customer base lures a client to at least try it or recommend a trial to their near and dear ones.
  • Being a receptive domain: Willingness to accept a remark whether good or bad, is the hallmark of a responsible campaigner. People trust a service better if it is open to criticism and suggestions. If a person feels more involved in the process, there is a high probability of that person using the product or service. People who have Internet access are especially prompt in commenting on a service.
  • Scrutiny and resolving: Once a detailed analysis of product sales and its feedback is done, acting on the results is crucial. This is a very sensitive medium. The information passed on at such speed also involves a lot of risk. The marketing medium cannot be controlled once the process begins. Therefore it is extremely important to project the desired and carefully studied image of the product. It involves rectifying the glitches or any shortcomings promptly and ensuring a constant watch on the market happenings.
  • Taking care of the roots: Many firms take the existing promotion medium or regular customers for granted and as a result lose a large customer base. These tools are fabricated on the basis of trustworthy deliverance of service. The existing base is promoting a product either by default as in the case of hotmail or purposely because the client himself is convinced about its suitability for use. If the service rendered to this user is sub-standard or fades out, so will the marketing procedure following it. Therefore, always update the service to the satisfaction of even the most loyal and trusted user. This is one of the best way to develop a permanent client base and a reliable setup.
  • Promotion and development: The recent Hollywood flick 'The Dark Knight' is a genuine example of viral marketing at its best. First, the huge number of batman fans across the world served as the biggest promoters of the movie. Besides them, the promoters ensured maximum reach of the movie by interactive movie games, contests and virtual participation in movie scenes like voting for the 'Gotham city' (the city in the movie) mayor and similar reel life experiences. Once the people could associate with the story and characters they became an 'unpaid' set of marketers for the movie. The results of a 'virally infected' movie mania are there for everyone to see.
These tools are like double-edged swords; if handled with caution they function the best, if not, they can cause severe damage. Hence, a careful and studied approach is highly recommended before trying it out in your business venture.


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