was born in 1996. However, the principle it bases its success on has
been around for centuries. Companies have used VM to propel themselves
among the elite in record fashion. It is safe to assume what the representatives
at hotmail.com and etour.com think of the viral method.
well known attribute of a VM is that it can spread quickly and profusely
like a rampant disease. This networking potential enables it to be an
incredibly powerful marketing tool. However, with its unique disease-like
quality, it does raise a question. How does someone start a marketing
disease? Both hotmail and etour's marketing teams admit that they didn't
expect or anticipate the success they had.
the reasons why VM is becoming so popular is that marketers view it
as an opportunity for every consumer to be a publisher and a member
of the sales team. Thus, making the marketing professional a mediator
between balancing a compelling value for the consumer and concern for
most common forms of viral marketing are the service and incentive based
models. Netscape Instant messaging is an excellent example of a service-based
model. Incentive-based models provide consumers cash, credit, or other
rewards for sending company information to friends.
viral marketing capabilities are online gift certificates, gift registries,
community chat rooms, community bulletin boards, and various types of
affiliate marketing programs.
elements in effective viral marketing campaigns are:
viral marketing campaign should offer something that is valuable and
tangible to the receiver. It should be something that people would like
to e-mail to other people because it is interesting and unique. One
hint regarding the use of the incentive-based model is to keep your
incentives closed instead of open. For example, if you provide an incentive
for people to receive $10 dollars off their next purchase when they
refer five names. You need to close the referral system at five per
customer, that way you won't be taken advantage by people searching
for personal gain.
send out e-mails to referred e-mail addresses you need to identify the
person's name that referred them in the subject line. For example, "RE:
Joe Someone mentioned that you might like to know about our 25% discount
on golf equipment.
your results so you can optimize your future actions to get your full
ROI. The important items of your e-mail marketing campaign that you
need to concentrate on are your click-through and conversion rates.
a germane viral marketing offer in every e-mail message you send. Frequency
can be an extremely effective way to broaden the reach of your marketing
percent say word of mouth or viral marketing is their main source of
information about new sites.
rates for the banner ad, which were as high as 2.5 percent a year and
half-ago have dropped to a mere .05 percent. Jupiter Research reported
in March 2001 that, 5 to 15 percent click on the links in viral messages.
lower costs in customer acquisition that other online mediums. For example,
Rick Davis, chief executive of Ants.com, a career placement site for
freelancers, estimates that it costs them less than 50 cents to acquire
a customer from VM, while banner ads cost the company $3.50 for each
of VM is increasing especially with the rising concerns of unsolicited
e-mail. More and more people will rely on the their peer's recommendations
to learn about new products and services.
relies heavily on e-mail usage it does present potential problems in
unwanted mass e-mail messages. For example, companies that base incentive-service
programs solely on the numbers of e-mail addresses that consumers supply
them will undoubtedly have spaming issues to overcome. John Mozena,
vice president of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail
said, "Unfortunately, whenever you give someone an incentive to
contact people, spam ensues. We're not implying that e-mail should never
be used as a marketing tool, but sending to a friend is one thing --
sending to total strangers is another."
some ways you can stymie potential problems with incentive-based models:
the number of customers a single consumer can refer.
strict refer-spaming polices.
the failed attempts in VM make the mistake of focusing on the campaign-level
instead of the enterprise-level. A campaign-level focus slants it weight
against the unpredictable nature of the public's perception. The main
problem with this focus is that it is hard to accurately measure things
such as how "cool" or "popular" the message is.
from an enterprise-level perspective on VM execution is centered on
gathering quantifiable data. This research is typically compiled from
customer responses, complaints, and questions. Also, marketers will
learn additional and helpful information about referrals through this
process that will give them additional advantages.
downside to VM is that people are becoming more web savvy every second.
It is important to think twice on how and why you are implementing a
VM strategy. It is not going to be easy to create something that will
"catch on" quickly to a large audience-it needs to have clear
authenticity or value to succeed.
thread among all viral marketing initiatives is veering consumers into
salesmen. This seems great on the outside because the marketing message
is being distributed faster and faster. However, it is possible the
marketing message is also being distorted. Consequently, the more people
you acquire in your VM networking system the more control you lose.
no doubt that VM strategy has become a mainstream marketing platform.
The key element that will hold viral marketing together is trust. As
more and more people receive e-mail the easier it is for them to delete
it. Obviously, the more trust someone has the more inclined they will
be to click on the e-mail message.
above the thousands of voices and distractions that people are bombarded
with everyday is another of the many challenges that emarketing professionals
are facing. The underlying issue is finding a balance between getting
your voice heard over someone else's without being annoying. If you
are in the mode of spreading a disease-like message at least conjure
up a compelling reason for people to click on it.