Viral Marketing: 6 Reasons Why You Want Your Business to Get Infected

Infect Your Business with Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing: 6 Reasons Why You Want Your Business to Get Infected

Define “viral.” From the word itself, one can deduce that the word has something to do with the properties of viruses. In essence, something that is “viral” can be easily caught and spread over a large area in a small amount of time. Just think about how fast colds can spread.

Now, append “viral” to the word “marketing” and you’ve got yourself the holy grail of marketers everywhere.
In both online and real-life social networks, ideas, messages, and opinions can spread like wildfire. Viral marketing works on this premise. By harnessing the potential buzz that these social groups can produce, a marketer can make a viral marketing campaign work wonders in no time.

Coined in the early 1990s, the exact origins of the term “viral marketing” is a bit hazy at its best. What is clear though, is that the concept appeared to have been on the upsurge in the Internet age.

Viral Marketing And The Internet – The Perfect Tag Team Duo

Obviously, the rise of the Internet gave viral marketing a big boost. It helped to further increase the rate of infection. Word-of-mouth marketing can easily be accomplished with just a click of the mouse button, thereby increasing the magnitude of the so called “viral loop.” A viral loop is a term used to describe the concept behind viral marketing itself. The idea is this: a person should be able to share and spread a marketing message on to at least one contact, thereby starting a chain reaction of sorts where the original message can be spread indefinitely to an unlimited number of people.

Remember Hotmail? Before Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, Hotmail was the biggest kid in the electronic mail playground. In 1996, they inserted the tag line “Get your free e-mail at!” into the bottom of every e-mail that their users sent out. Because of this simple piece of marketing, they were able to increase their user base to 66 million- a feat unheard of during that time.
And that was in the web 1.0 era. In web 2.0, viral marketing became another marketing class of its own. In other words, it became HUGE.

The secret: online social networks.

Since web 2.0 is all about establishing connections, it comes as no surprise that viral marketing would shine most in that kind of environment. Online social groups such as those found in social networking sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, MySpace) made it very convenient and easy for people to share links, webpages and other kinds of content with each other. A lot of the most successful viral marketing campaigns made in the last decade were run on social platforms.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more things on why your business needs to catch the viral marketing bug ASAP.

1) Viral marketing moves people

Old school marketing (think traditional media advertisements like those in television, newspapers and magazines) is a one-way communication process that involves having to force feed unnecessary information down consumers’ throats.
Viral marketing works differently. It offers people the ability to integrate themselves into the marketing process. Even the mere act of sharing can make people feel that they have control over the marketing campaign itself.

And some viral campaigns in the past even gave people the chance to interact and incorporate themselves directly into the ad. In 2004, Burger King launched the “Subservient Chicken” website to mark the release of a new line of chicken sandwiches. By typing instructions into a textbox, a person can make the Subservient Chicken (a guy in a chicken suit) do a variety of actions and tasks. It was hilariously funny, and at the same time, very effective in generating buzz.

2) Viral marketing is freaking cheap

Considering that the majority of online social networks require no signup fees for creating an account, just about anyone can create their own viral marketing campaign. And here’s another great thought, due to the nature of the Internet, every single thing that a marketer releases for public consumption is available online, literally, forever. Remember those Old Spice Man videos from a couple of years ago? They’re still there on YouTube and are still generating a lot of views and leads for Old Spice. And even though the Subservient Chicken website is off the air for some time now, it is archived and can still be accessed by people who want to breathe life into the Subservient Chicken once more.

And the content does not need to made with anything fancy or expensive. A lot of viral videos (such as those from Old Spice, John West Salmon, and Blair Witch) were shot from simple handheld cameras and video recorders.

YouTube's Sensation Old Spice Man

Old Spice Man

3) Viral marketing gives the little guys a chance

In the world of traditional media, small businesses can’t compete with big companies in advertising and marketing. Viral marketing can be a great equalizer and leveling field. Because viral marketing is cheap, convenient, cost-effective and flexible, there are a number of obscure brands, websites and small businesses that have already made their mark on the public consciousness with the use of clever viral marketing campaigns.

4) Viral marketing makes your business look young, hip, trendy, fun and in touch with the modern world

The Internet is mostly populated with people from Gen Y. They are probably the movers and shakers of the online world, and as such, catching their attention would be the most important thing that a marketer would have to do. And nobody wants a boring brand. Viral marketing projects a youthful vibe where other marketing models can’t.

5) Viral marketing makes your business stand out

This is a no-brainer. Viral content stands out from others because it is made to be that way. It is a great method to instantly catch the attention and interest of the public eye and be different from other competitors. Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” campaign is a great example of an eye-catching campaign.

6) Viral marketing is flexible

Viral marketing can be done anywhere with a computer and an Internet connection. Also, it is not limited to videos alone. E-books, webpages, and pictures can become viral-worthy if it is creative enough.

Not sure how to get viral? Learn up what makes up good quality viral content!

About Daniel Tan

Daniel Tan: A veteran Internet Marketer. Founder of SomoThemes, Social Metrics Pro, SEOPressor and XTabApps. Daniel's focus is to simplify marketing with technology, to help marketers reach more people in an organized and effective way.

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