Viral marketing is a method of influencing the target audience and brand promotion with the help of the target audience itself which does it both consciously and unconsciously. This is a word-of-mouth advertising, which means spreading a word about your company to reach a wider audience.
Advantages of Viral Marketing:
1. Low costs
Expenditures for viral marketing are lower than on other types of marketing, especially traditional ones. Starting a business, one is to spend much money on advertising, while viral marketing does not require such expenses. Your target audience will share information instead of you.
2. High credibility
Guess whom people trust more: businesses or other customers? The answer is evident. Businesses carry little credibility since their aim is to sell. If your business grows, more hype is around — the more people will trust you as they have the proof why you are a reliable company.
3. Fast method of lead generation
Viral marketing is an excellent example of quick lead generation as it can use all digital marketing types and channels altogether. So, wide reach is guaranteed. Besides, people are always interested in trendy topics, they are eager to share interesting, entertaining and original pieces of information with their friends. Probably the most popular example is a great number of memes and videos with cats.
4. Facilitates brand awareness
Brand awareness can't be built in a fortnight, much time is needed for your brand to be discussed. If you understand your audience and succeed in viral marketing, you will get the long-lasting results.
How does Viral Marketing work?
Creating content is not a challenge, but creating viral content IS. Why? Content becomes viral not by chance. To make your piece of information viral, it should appeal to emotions and feelings of the audience. Recall the last post you shared with your friends. What kind of emotions did you feel? Joy, awe, happiness? Were you moved? It may be not an easy task to correlate your product with some emotions. To get a better idea, think of some original and unusual problems it helps to solve. The modern audience is sophisticated and you should make efforts to surprise it. Once your customers smile while watching your video, be sure, that their friends will do the same.
Make sure that your content is easy to share, otherwise, people won't spend the time to find the ways. The best digital marketing type for viral marketing is Social Media Marketing. Besides, there won't be any difficulties with monitoring the results of your work.
While thinking over the strategy, remember that your piece of viral content should be easily understood by the audience. Everything genius is simple.
"Do us a Flavor" is an example of viral marketing created by an American brand Lay's. They had promised $1 million for a person who offered the best idea of a new taste for their chips. This way, they not only got a great many of new ideas but increased brand awareness.
Viral Marketing Techniques
1. Appeal to feelings and emotions
We have already mentioned that appealing to emotions is a must in viral marketing. Forget that you are a seller, think about what makes people buy. They should perceive your advertisement unconsciously. Joy, awe, happiness, sadness, sympathy — everything that helps to unleash emotions and deep feelings attract people's attention, make them think about.
2. Avoid direct advertising
Would you share just an ad video containing an ordinary "Buy our product"? We do not think so. Avoid direct advertising, as it's already clear that your aim is to sell. Surprise the audience, bring something unexpected and original.
3. Give something for free
Freebie is always a thing that attracts people. Give your client something valuable for free. The most popular method is a giveaway. Thus, you will increase brand awareness and encourage lead generation.
4. Connect viral marketing with your brand
It may happen that after watching the viral video, your clients will feel indignation because it has nothing to do with your brand, so what's the point in wasting your time on it? Some people may share it, but there's no guarantee that your brand name will be mentioned by somebody. Make the reason for your viral ad clear for the audience.
5. Outreach partners and experts in your industry
Your brand will be talked about more if the authoritative companies recommend it. Connect with such companies, ask them to try your product and leave their feedback, but do not ask them about direct advertising. If your product is useful for them, they will surely advise it to the audience.
6. Involve celebrities
Celebrities taking part in your marketing help to raise its chances to become viral significantly. Such people can make popular everything they use: trainers they wear for a morning run, their car, the coffee machine they use daily. Any ordinary thing used by a famous person does not seem to be so casual. People believe that stars use only the best goods in their category.
Nike actively involves celebrities in creating their viral videos.
For example, in their ad "The Black Mamba" 2 famous actors were shot — Bruce Willis and Danny Trejo, basketball player Kobe Bryant and a rapper Kanye West. This is a real work of art in advertising. It gathered 800 thousand of views on YouTube.
Viral Marketing Strategies:
1. Place social sharing buttons near your call to action
If you are in ecommerce, you can place buttons for social sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc near "Buy". Add the text "If you like this product — share with your friends".
2. Motivate to buy
Add the motivating text to your social buttons, for example, "Ask your friends whether this bag will suit your shoes!"
3. Give a chance to recommend a product
After clients buy something, ask them "Will you recommend this product to your friends?" and give 2 variants — Yes/No. If they do not recommend, ask for the reason and give some variants, then ask for contact information. It will be useful when the reason why they do not recommend will be eliminated.
4. Tempt with a discount
You can place 2 call to action buttons on different sides of the product. The text of the 1st one will be "Buy headphones" and of the 2nd one "Buy 3 pairs of headphones with a big discount" and state the percent of a discount. But it will be available only if the clients share this product with their friends. If they choose 3 pairs, a pop-up window with sharing buttons will appear.
5. Give a value for sharing
When ordering a product you can offer a free shipping in case a client shares it with the friends. Or, offer a discount for the next purchase under the same terms and conditions.
This way, you will not only facilitate viral marketing but encourage the next purchases.
So, we have dwelt on the most important issues of viral marketing: its advantages, the way it works, techniques and strategies. You will certainly find something suitable for your business.