What is the most powerful four-letter word in marketing?

It is not a dirty word. On the contrary, it works just like a stain remover. The only difference is, it cleans up the competition instead of stains.

The word is FREE and it’s the most powerful four-letter word in marketing. Its use by advertisers and marketers is perhaps as old as the tradition of gift-giving. Most people however question the relevance and effectiveness of the word today. Do consumers still fall for that? Are they attracted by the proposition that you can get something for nothing?

The answer is yes. As long as you are offering something valuable, customers will not be disappointed. There is no greater proof of this than how Viral Marketing works.

We recognize the power that Viral Marketing Strategy has to propel a brand or a communication message from virtual obscurity to the status of cult-following. Simply giving away something free is not enough to make the gesture meaningful. We can show you how you can enhance your Viral Marketing strategies with simple yet proven marketing tools and techniques. A content locker is an example of how you can increase the spreading power of your Viral Marketing strategy. You can also induce your audience to make a casual action such as a click or a Like to generate a cascade effect that will exponentially spread the message and multiply its effect as it spreads.

What is Viral Marketing?

Everyone who has heard the term or used the technique has their definition of what Viral Marketing is. In many ways, it is a method of generating publicity for FREE; enabling a marketing campaign to spread like wildfire without spending a fortune in buying media space or encouraging people to spread your brand message of their own free will. Viral Marketing is a strategy that enables you to harness the power of the most powerful word in marketing.

Viral Marketing is considered a relatively new phenomenon that developed with the coming of age of online marketing, it did exist in many different forms previously but was thought of simply as ‘word-of-mouth marketing. Clever advertisers resorted to word-of-mouth advertising techniques to spread a brand message and even create a brand from scratch.

A classic example of Viral Marketing that is often cited is Hotmail. The e-mail brand pioneered the concept of free web-based e-mails which continues to be successfully imitated by thousands of other online service providers. When Hotmail was launched, it was unheard of to offer free e-mail services and the brand used the power of novelty and the time-tested technique of referral marketing to spread the message. Whenever a user sent an e-mail using Hotmail, it contained an invitation to the receiver to get their e-mail id by subscribing to Hotmail.com.

Other classic examples of successful Viral Marketing campaigns you may have seen are the Subservient Chicken by Burger King, the Dove Evolution campaign, and the most recent Barack Obama Hope Portrait which has become a contemporary classic.

How does Viral Marketing work?

What do you do when you hear something exciting, shocking, scandalous, or outrageously funny? You just can’t wait to share it with your friends and neighbors. That’s how rumors spread. A rumor, they say is one of the few things that doesn’t grow thinner but grows stronger as it spreads. Viral Marketing does share some striking similarities with how rumors are spread which is why some purists will argue that Viral Marketing is not the most honorable way to gain publicity.

What is a rumor? It is nothing but a story that is intrinsically irresistible that those who hear it want to share even if they don’t believe it. It is how urban legends are made and it is a testament to the power that stories have in arousing people’s interest and taking on a life of its own.

Viral Marketing is fundamentally a gift that is so appealing that people want to immediately share it with others on their social media accounts. The online world has made it not only easy but also extremely gratifying to both the consumer and the advertiser.

It could be an e-book or a video or a graphic or a special offer device such as a coupon or an incentive. The most important thing is that it should be given away free but it should have a value that benefits the recipient and that value does not diminish when it is passed on.

How does this benefit the advertiser or the company that initiates the Viral Marketing strategy? The simplest illustration of how an advertiser can immediately benefit from a Viral Marketing Strategy is the FREE trial application or software version that a manufacturer releases to entice and generate interest so that they pay for the professional or the complete bells and whistles version. The long-tail view of the real power of Viral Marketing is the ability to generate an amazing amount of relevant noise, buzz, talk-ability, or newsworthiness that the message continues to spread assuming a life of its own.

What are the elements that make a successful Viral Marketing strategy?

The key ingredients of a successful viral marketing strategy are:

  • It is FREE
  • It can be shared with little effort
  • People have an incentive to share it
  • It uses existing social networks
  • It is mutually beneficial
  • It scales easily

A successful Viral digital Marketing strategy gathers moss as it rolls. It engages the resources and the social communication networks by feeding them with content that has a high level of likeability. Whether your brand belongs to a high-interest category or a niche market, whether you are an established company or a startup, whether you belong to a legacy industry or are an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to ignore the high return on investment value that Viral Marketing offers.

Small and medium business enterprises are especially well-placed to launch multiple Viral Marketing strategies in an agile and effective manner with a very low cost of entry. By creatively presenting relevant information, such as using an infographic or a meme, businesses can transform a seemingly dull proposition into an exciting opportunity!

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