Viral marketing lets you turn your existing network of subscribers and customers into one big word-of-mouth referral machine. Through viral marketing, you can increase your company’s visibility online exponentially. Just as a flu virus can spread easily from one person to the next, viral marketing increases public awareness of your company by getting your customers and subscribers to refer your business to friends and family members.
1. Viral marketing increases your business’ visibility exponentially.
According to a study by Opinion Research Corporation, Internet users are more likely to tell friends and family members about their online shopping experiences than they are to tell them about their favorite movies and restaurants. In addition, a typical Internet consumer tells 12 people about their online shopping experiences.
This proves that consumers are more than willing to spread the word about quality products and services to their friends and family. These referrals can be very powerful because of the snowball effect that they can have on promoting your business.
For example, if you could persuade just ten people to each tell ten more people about your business, and then each of those ten people told ten people, you would be exponentially increasing the reach of your marketing message.
Let’s look at what would happen after just three generations of this viral marketing technique:
- First generation: 10 people are exposed to your message.
- Second generation: 100 people are exposed to your message.
- Third generation: 1,000 people are exposed to your message!
Of course, the concept has been oversimplified for this example. There will be people who don’t pass your message on, as well as people who will pass it on to more people than the average. You can see though, that even with only a few people participating, you can increase your exposure online dramatically.
2. Viral marketing helps establish your credibility and build trust.
People are giving you personal recommendations when they tell their friends and family about your products and services. In general, others are very receptive to third-party recommendations because it’s the same as one friend telling another about a good movie—people are just doing their friends and family members a favor by recommending a quality product or service. This is why people who hear about your product or service from a friend will be more likely to trust you.
One successful business that is very familiar with this strategy is Amazon.com. Anyone who has ever visited Amazon or bought something from them has seen how they encourage you to send gifts to friends and relatives. What you might not know is that with every gift you send, Amazon includes a flyer promoting their products. Basically, anyone who sends a friend a gift from Amazon is also sending them a subtle, yet effective endorsement for Amazon.com.
3. Viral marketing encourages people to interact with your marketing message.
Another great thing about viral marketing is that it encourages people to actively participate in your marketing message instead of just passively hearing or reading about it. This increases the likelihood that they will absorb, remember, and repeat your marketing message.
For example, if you heard a good joke and repeated it to three friends, then chances are you would remember the joke and repeat it again given the opportunity. If, on the other hand, you heard a good joke but didn’t repeat it within a reasonable amount of time, you will probably end up forgetting it. Viral marketing works on this same principle.
4. Viral marketing helps keep your advertising costs low.
Viral marketing lets you keep your advertising costs low because your customers are doing your advertising for you. You encourage them, through various ways, to refer your products and services to their friends, family, and colleagues, who are in turn encouraged to tell their friends, family, and colleagues.
5. Viral marketing lets you keep the integrity of your marketing message intact.
Sometimes rumors and word-of-mouth messages can change as they pass from person to person, and the original message can be lost or replaced by something different all together. One of the great things about viral marketing is that it’s much easier to keep the content of your original marketing message intact so that:
- Everyone receives the same compelling message, and
- Your message will have the same impact on the first generation of people who see it as it will on the 20th generation of people who see it.