What is Viral Marketing? The best way I know to answer that question is this:
If you go out for a meal at a new restaurant you are very likely to share the experience with your family and friends. If you have really enjoyed the meal and the service you will probably recommend it to your friends and family and suggest that they go for a meal there too. If you extol the virtues of the restaurant to half a dozen people who respond to your commendation by going for a meal there themselves, you have promoted the restaurant and sent new business their way. If those half a dozen then recommend the restaurant to another half a dozen each all will have acted as ambassadors for the restaurant. At that point your one visit to the restaurant has brought in forty-two other customers. That is viral marketing in practice. It is easy to see how quickly the word can spread. That, in essence, is how viral marketing works. By providing you with an excellent meal and a memorable dining experience that restaurant has indirectly promoted its business to many others who will continue to spread the word.
One key issue, of course, is that the restaurant must have given you a quality experience in the first place. Quality and viral marketing go hand in hand. If the restaurant offers mediocre food and poor service the message that will be passed on is: “Don’t go near the place, it’s awful!” The great thing about viral marketing is that it is totally free! All that’s required is to give people the opportunity to pass on praise to others who then respond in the same way.
So, in the context of internet marketing, how are we going to achieve this?
In my experience, the very best way is through the writing and posting of articles. Each article comes with a Resource Box in which there is a link to a website of your choosing. The more people who read your article, the more clicks you are likely to get to your website or sales page. Here we meet the other issue I mentioned above; – quality. If your article is readable, enjoyable and informative, not only will that encourage your readers to click your link but also use it themselves by reposting your article in their blog, on their website or as content in a newsletter. All articles can be reposted elsewhere so long as they are not altered in any way and are posted with the Resource Box intact. All these reposts are putting your article, and, more importantly, your resource box link in front of lots more potential customers – and it doesn’t cost you a penny. This is when you really begin to see the power of viral marketing in practice.
At this point I need to return to the issue of quality. I’m sure, by now, you can see how crucial quality is in order to get the desired effect. If you feel unable to produce articles of an appropriate quality there is always the option of outsourcing. Go to “Fiverr” or “Upwork” where you will find experts ready, willing and able to meet your marketing needs. The cost will be small but you will get a well written article to post. Even if you use outsourcing it is a good idea to start writing articles yourself even if you don’t use them at first. Once you have had a few goes you will find that they are not as difficult as you may think. You are only looking at an article of about 400 – 700 words, which seems to be the usual parameters set by the main ezine sites.
The content of your articles is important too. Never write an article which is an unashamed sales pitch. That is not the point of article writing. Your ‘most wanted response’ is to encourage the reader of the article to click on the link in your resource box. That will then take them to your website or sales letter when the merits of your product(s) can be properly presented. Write an article which is interesting and informative and on an aspect of your niche closely related to your products or services. If your reader enjoys your article and finds it helpful in some way then the viral effect is likely to kick in.
This is all far better than paid advertising. Apart from being FREE, the viral effect will reach far more people than you could ever hope to reach by yourself. If a marketer includes your article in a newsletter and has a list of 1000 subscribers, your article will be placed before all those people. If you have just five people use your article in this way you can see how the numbers of people who read it and have the opportunity to click on your link can really mount up.
So, it is all about the numbers game. The more articles you write and post, the more people will see them and have the opportunity either to repost or click on the resource box link. Obviously the more people are brought to your website or sales page the more sales you should make. That is the true test of viral marketing in practice. Just one final reminder, this will only work if you are giving your readers high quality articles.