Viral marketing is a way you take your business from being virtually unknown to being a household name quickly. Just as the common cold spreads through schools, malls, grocery stores and other public places viral marketing spreads information across the Internet. Your business is competing for customers with thousands of others. The quickest way to do this is through viral marketing.
As long as the Internet is around viral marketing is going to be a big part of the success or failure of most businesses. When used properly viral marketing is the least expensive and fastest way to build your client list. Word of mouth or viral marketing starts off slowly and then continues exponentially and often indefinitely.
It is important that your company is ready for growth. Not having enough of your product to fill orders or enough bandwidth to support your clients can be the downfall of your business. It is also important to make sure that your product can keep the attention of your audience once it has attracted them. Getting potential customers to your site only to turn them off on your products is not helpful.
When you use viral marketing properly you get contact information for people who will truly be interested in your product. This can be done by adding a link on the bottom of a note (like Hotmail did), put in a link on someone else’s website or by simply inviting someone to join your list. Once you have got this contact information you should allow these people to opt in to your list rather than just adding them. Putting the control in the hands of the potential customer is important. Nobody likes to receive spam.
A common form of viral marketing is done by adding a link at the bottom of free information pages or with free software. Adding a link on web pages that potential customers go to is another method. This allows customers to control whether or not they go to your site and give you their contact information. Giving free information through e-mail is a good way to build your potential customer list.
Offering free software for a trial period then requiring it to be licensed after so many days is in excellent form of viral marketing. People who like your product can pass it on to others to try your product. Once your customer is hooked, the trial is over and it is time to purchase the product to continue using it. These ways you put your product in front of the potential customer and leave it up to them to make the purchase.
A problem you can run into with viral marketing is totally missing your target audience. Putting your link on someone else’s site can increase your traffic only if those who are interested in your product see your link. If your target audience is 15 year old male who enjoys playing video games, putting your link on a site that sells baby food is not going to get you any customers.
Be careful when offering incentives in return for contact information. People who are looking for incentives are likely to give you useless e-mail addresses. This not only does not help your business, it can hurt your business reputation if you send out mass amounts of spam.
Ndirandiku Bwimana Yanfashige, aged 40, mother-of-eight children
Image by controlarms
Ndirandiku Bwimana Yanfashige, from Masis territory, in North Kivu. Ndirandiku is living in Mugunga Camp 1. She has been living there since April 2011 and sells fish in the camp to earn a living.
She says: “I left my village because of fighting. It happened at night – we were surprised, everyone was asleep. So we had to leave in the dark. But my husband was killed and so I ran with the children. I took nothing, nothing at all. Just my children. I want to go home, of course. But we can only go back when it is peaceful.
“I have been here in the camp since April 2011. To earn money, I buy fish and bring them here to sell. If business goes well, I make around 1,500 francs a day [.5]. Otherwise I earn around 1,000 francs a day [US].
“When I see men with guns I’m afraid. Even during the day.
“Yes, we must stop people from having so many weapons – so many guns. People with guns just create chaos. They make the situation worse for us – they make things unstable and no one is safe. We also need to take weapons away from people who already have them. As long as people have guns there will always be war here. There will be no peace.”
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