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Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing


Everything About Viral Marketing

Over the last decade, several new forms of marketing have evolved on the web—and one of the most exciting is viral marketing.  Viral marketing can change a company's fortunes overnight, and companies using successful viral strategies have been able to get millions of page views for company websites and videos.  Viral marketing, by definition, spreads like wildfire.  Whether you're looking for strategies to help your company's website go viral, or if you're still asking “what is viral marketing?”, this guide can give you some great pointers.

What is Viral Marketing?  Pinning Down a Viral Marketing Definition

When asking “what is viral marketing?” it's a good idea to look at some of the things that viral marketing is not.  For example, while the viral marketing definition does include some things that could be classified as publicity stunts, not all publicity stunts are viral advertising.  The viral marketing definition is using some way to enhance brand awareness through people's word of mouth, in a way that explodes numerically in the same way that a virus does when infecting a population.

The reason that you need to know what is viral marketing is that people respond to it.  While only about 15 percent of people will click on an advertisement, up to 80 percent of people will click on a website or video link that a friend sent them.  To capitalize on that, you need to take advantage of the viral marketing definition and get your ads to spread because people want them to, not because you paid an advertising company to post links.

How Viral Marketing Began—And What That Can Teach Us

One of the first great success stories that started people asking “what is viral marketing?” was the success of Microsoft's Hotmail client in the 1990s.  With relatively minimal advertising, Hotmail became the email client of choice for millions of internet users, all because the viral marketing definition came into play—people telling each other about its services.  

Back then, most email clients cost money or came with your internet service provider.  Hotmail made its email services free, then added its own small signature to any email you sent.  The signature was unobtrusive, but it made its point: free web email.  Within months, people around the world used it, and people for the first time saw what is viral marketing and what it could do.

Even that first example under the viral marketing definition can teach us a lot.  Hotmail did something no one else was doing at the time.  Offering something different is still critical to viral marketing today.  They also gave people something for free that most people were offering for money.

What is Viral Marketing With Video?

The web has evolved a great deal since the 1990s, and the viral marketing definition has evolved right along with it.  Today, when you ask “what is viral marketing,” most people think of viral videos.  Youtube has made it easy for individuals and businesses to get their videos in front of as many people as possible.

Some of the most popular viral videos of all time, especially in the early days of web video, didn't really fall into the viral marketing definition at all.  Why?  Because they weren't associated with any particular commercial product.  Even today, not all videos that go viral are part of a marketing campaign, but as advertisers have become savvier, the percentages are climbing.

What is Viral Marketing Good For?

Now that you know the answer to the question “what is viral marketing?”, it's time to think about how you can use viral marketing to help your law firm.  If you've been online for a while, you've undoubtedly seen several viral videos.  Some things that fall into the viral marketing definition stay in a small social circle—did seven different lawyer friends all email you the same link?  Sounds pretty viral, and that's exactly the kind of word-of-mouth you want your own viral marketing campaign to generate.

Nearly any marketing goal you have can be met in part with viral advertising.  The viral marketing definition is so broad that it lends itself to a wide variety of marketing strategies, and you can focus on any aspect of your business that you think could go viral: blogs, videos, or even apps.

What is a Viral Marketing Agency?

Because web marketing strategies change so quickly, you may want to look at hiring an agency to handle all of your viral marketing needs.  Some advertising agencies are specialists in viral marketing, and can help you map out a strategy that can save you money on marketing costs in the long run and increase your name recognition throughout your community—or even throughout the world.

Hiring an agency is often a particularly good idea if you're interested in going viral, because a single misstep can prevent your viral campaign from working.  Even if you later decide to do work on viral marketing campaigns in-house, starting with agency work can give you a good idea of what is viral marketing all about, and how to run a campaign that attracts attention from all the right people.

The Future of Viral Marketing

The answer to the question “what is viral marketing?” was quite different ten years ago than it is today, and odds are it will be different still in another ten years.  The viral marketing definition in the future may evolve due to changes in social media platforms (which are still less than a decade old), or because of super high speed fiberoptic internet that makes even the fastest speeds today seem sluggish.  

Because no one knows what the future of viral marketing will hold, it's important to keep up to date: read blogs, watch videos, and—perhaps more importantly—keep an eye on what you and the people you know are receiving virally.  If a web link is being spread around by everyone you know, that's the viral marketing definition.  You should check into it, and try to figure out what made it successful.