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Building a Successful Viral Marketing Campaign

in Viral Marketing

Some products are more suited to viral advertising than others, but in general almost any product or service can be advertised using viral marketing.

A successful viral marketing campaign always begins with the development of a quality viral, whether it’s a video, image or interactive game. Some home-made videos do very well but in general it is advisable to hire a viral marketing company to develop a viral ad.

Quality content is vital but seeding a viral ad is equally important. Seeding refers to the placement of the viral marketing campaign. The top viral marketing companies work with many independent blogs, online newsletters, micro-sites and video content sites to ensure that the viral ad receives maximum exposure.

“It’s a bit like wild fire. If there is one fire the chances of creating a blaze are minimal. If you start 1000 fires, you have a much better chance of creating an inferno!” Halpern Cowan Ltd, a viral marketing agency.

It is this seeding which is responsible for the rising cost of developing a successful viral marketing campaign.

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Six Key Elements of a Viral Marketing Campaign

1. Give away products or services

The word “free” attracts attention, whether it’s free software, a free trial, or free ‘cool’ buttons. If you can’t give anything away for free consider holding a competition.

2. Allow effortless transfer to others

Viruses only spread if they can be transmitted easily. It’s no different with viral content. Display the viral content on your website, together with an ‘Email a Friend’ button. If posted on your blog add a line of links to the main social networking sites, such as:

Add to: YouTube | Digg | Furl | Blinklist | Yahoo! | Del.cio.us

3. Exploits common motivations and behaviours

The desire to be popular, liked and cool drives people, as does greed and the desire to be helpful. Design a viral ad that builds on these motivations, such as one containing humour or a special offer.

4. Utilises existing communication networks

Try to place your message into people’s social networks. Viral marketing companies are particularly adept at doing this as they generate exposure for viral content through placing it on blogs, forums, email newsletters, social networks, as well as video sharing sites.

5. Scales from small to very large

Make sure that you can cope with the explosion of your message through building enough bandwidth into your website. There’s nothing worse than having an excellent viral marketing campaign only for the results not to arise simply because your website couldn’t cope with the volume of visitors.

6. Uses other people’s resources

Try to use other people’s websites to host your viral content, possibly by constructing it so that it offers a benefit to them and their readers. Article submission works in this way with websites accepting free articles because of the benefits offered to their visitors.

A viral marketing strategy does not have to include all of the above elements, but including a few of them will dramatically increase the chances of success.

Top Tips to Keep in Mind

Some products are more suited to viral advertising than others. With regards to the product itself, it helps if it is in some way unique or different. Viral marketing is an excellent way to create buzz, something that is made harder if you are promoting a mundane product or service. However, a clever and creative viral marketing agency can often overcome a ‘dull’ product and produce an effective viral ad.

As with all marketing you must keep your target audience in mind. Those that view viral ads tend to be students and young professionals.

Viral marketing does also tend to have a predominantly male audience, even more so when it comes to interactive games. Bear this in mind. If you have a product directed towards young women it may be best to produce a video viral ad. If your target audience is the elderly it may be best to use an alternative marketing approach.

The success of a viral marketing campaign is ultimately dependent on the quality of the viral ad itself. Without a good viral it won’t be passed on and viewers won’t obtain such a positive image of the company it’s promoting.

Around half of all viral ads produced use some form of humour. There’s always room for another funny viral ad so it’s certainly the safest approach.

If producing an interactive game then good game play is vital. Online games have come a long way since the days of Pac Man – ensure that your game has excellent game way or is in some way entertaining.

Viral emails can work extremely well if it includes a particularly good special offer or competition. It’s often worth pushing the boat out when it comes to special offers – it’ll end up reaching a lot more people.

One reason why it’s so important to use a viral marketing agency is that they seed the viral ad on entertainment sites and blogs that your target audience is likely to view. Without extensive seeding the viral ad won’t have a chance. If serious about using viral marketing as one of your main marketing channels be prepared to pay for extensive seeding, as this is not cheap.

Finally, viral marketing by its nature is extremely unpredictable. Don’t be caught out – be prepared for your viral campaign to be a huge success. Check that you have the bandwidth, the stock, staff and service system is place to be able to deal with a successful campaign.

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