Viral Marketing Viral
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Viral Marketing

'Sneezing' Your Way Across the Internet

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"Forward-to-a-friend" tactics are the most common of viral marketing campaigns. Over recent years, these tactics have become increasing popular as a means for generating targeted leads and prospects in a sensitive and efficient manner. True viral marketing takes this same concept to the next level.

What is Viral Marketing?
Just to be clear, viral marketing has nothing to do with the nasty computer viruses we battle on a daily basis. However, viral marketing does share one thing in common with computer viruses - their ability to spread like wildfire. Viral marketing takes advantage of people's willingness to share unique, creative, and compelling ideas across the Internet. Viral Marketing messages self-perpetuate and hence distributes exponentially after their initial release.

The Key to Viral Success is Creativity and Value
Without a creative deliverable, your campaign stands little chance of being passed on. One of the most extraordinary examples of viral marketing is HotMail (now a Microsoft® company). As a fledging upstart, HotMail offered free web-based email services. To get the word out about their service, in 1996 they began inserting a clickable tagline on every email that was sent from their network. It read, "To get your FREE email account go to". As more and more emails were sent with this tagline, more people signed up for the free service. As a result, HotMail grew its subscriber base from zero to 12 million users in only eighteen months. The rest, shall we say is history.

Viral marketing takes on a variety of themes and flavors:

  • Value - shared quality experiences ensure strong 'word-of-mouth' proliferation. The classic example is HotMail whose free service created strong demand.
  • Incentive - compensation is provided in exchange for exposure. One examples is e-commerce provider PayPal who paid a $5 bounty for referrals.
  • Vital - shared experiences require certain products. Examples include ICQ, RealPlayer, and Adobe Acrobat.
  • Experience - shared experiences of humor, news and interest. Examples include numerous jokes, Flash Christmas cards, Frog Blender, Hamster Dance, and more.

The wonderful feature of viral marketing is its ability to 'spread' on its own. This should be perceived as both a blessing and a curse. In other words, if your viral campaign causes damage, inflicts injury, or is received negatively, you could be doing irreparable damage to your reputation and business. If viral marketing has appeal for your business, contact NetCentric for some creative ideas on how you might implement it.

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Spreading Your Message Around the Globe,
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