Thursday, February 19, 2009

Know The Viral Marketing Techniques

By Craig Haywood

Referrals are the most powerful form of marketing that you can use and it's also the least expensive. Are you rewarding your customers for referring business to you? If not, perhaps it's time to develop an incentive plan and reward your customers.

Lately, the term "viral marketing" seems to have infected many conversations about Internet marketing. Most of us realize that it's not about cooties. Let's start with some microbiology. A virus is a protein shell that contains genetic material. An attacking virus uses its protein coating to attach to a healthy cell. Once it is securely attached, it injects its genetic material, permanently altering the DNA of the host cell. A particularly effective virus can transform the host cell into a factory that replicates the virus, spreading it to other cells.

Like the mythical Trojan Horse, a virus presents itself as an innocuous visitor, but contains a force that attacks and overcomes its host. It's just that a virus is a Trojan Horse that goes on to create more Trojan Horses, conquering hosts exponentially as it spreads.

Of course, we don't think of marketing in such bellicose terms. Simply put, viral marketing means creating messages that contain concepts within them that are absorbed by the people that come into contact with the messages. And making these messages compelling enough so that people pass them on.

Some marketing people prefer terms other than viral marketing. A marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.

Unlike biological viruses, the hosts on the Internet, consumers, have control. Marketing viruses can backfire. But if you can create a message, be it an ad unit, a newsletter or a web site, that is both compelling enough to spread but that also firmly supports a brand's values and objectives, you might have a winner on your hands.

Any marketing technique that induces Web sites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message's visibility and effect. One example of successful viral marketing is Hotmail, a company, now owned by Microsoft, that promotes its service and its own advertisers' messages in every user's e-mail notes.

It works because it is a self-sustaining word of mouth strategy, which is also easy on the bottom dollar. Once a viral is released, it will most likely spread itself without the marketer's constant backing. In India, it is a fairly new symptom. However, being true to our philosophy of shooting from the hip we have made the viral infectious across the country. Viral marketing relies on spreading the buzz. - 16651

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