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Viral Marketing

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Viral marketing mostly goes together with an internet hype. Viral marketing, in fact, is word-of-mouth advertisement on steroids.

Internet makes it easier to create a viral. People are able to share more quickly with Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, blogging, sms and chat.

A viral campaign often focuses on something that is easily shared. Videos are for example very suitable.

Examples: Wehkamp and Pepsi

The video, that was placed online just after Obama’s election, has been viewed thousands of times and shared through many channels.

Probably one of the Wehkamp (a big player on the Dutch e-commerce market) employees heard “Yes Wehkamp” during one of the yes we can speeaches and the idea was born. The video was, of course, well-made but with some knowledge of video editing software you can make something similar!

It doesn’t have to be so difficult. A good idea is more important!

Most (smaller) online store owners do not have the marketing budget of Pepsi, and making such a video would take up too much of the marketing resources available. Still this shows the power of viral marketing: for the soft drinks giant the money spent on this video is many times smaller than the money spent on making and, especially, paying for airing, a TV ad. The impact may be actually higher (the video was viewed over 5.5 million times at time of writing).

9 Tips for a Successful Viral Marketing Campaign

1. Use Humor

Do you want that something is shared fast and wide? Use humor. Sex and/or pain (better not combine the two) also work well. Make sure there is at least entertainment.

2. Find suitbable ambassadors

Each viral campaign has to start somewhere. Better not wait until a video or message has been picked up but spread it actively. Ask your friends, colleagues, and customers to share the campaign with everyone they know.

When 100 people send your viral campaign to 30 people, you already reached 3.000 people! And when your campaign is good, it should spread automatically from there!

3. Keep the campaign team small

Choose a few creative people to support you. They should understand your campaign and be willing to actively brainstorm with you to develop it.

When you choose too many people to set up such a viral campaign it will take much too long before the project is completed and not everybody may be equally enthusiastic about it.

4. Formulate clear aims!

Do you want to generate more sales or do you want more online store name recognition? Each aim needs its own approach!

5. Be honest!

Never underestimate the receiver. Don’t make anonymous videos or messages. When the campaign does go viral and the people find out that it is your company’s (while you try to hide that fact) the campaign may work against you.

6. Prevent Spam

Nothing is worse than your message being marked as SPAM.

7. Be there on the right moment on the right place

Topics that are newsworthy or that people talk about a lot (for example trending items on Twitter) come up (and dissapear) very rapidly.

Today’s news is history tomorrow. If you want to profit from a hype, you will have to be quick.

8. Measure the success

Measure the incoming traffic on your website to find out whether it was a success or not.

9. What is your ROI? – Return on Investment

Although your campaign is successful (your YouTube video had thousands of views), when it doesn’t impact on your sales (short or long term), it didn’t deliver much return on your investment.

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