The last instrument you can use to attract attention to your brand or website is viral marketing. Many marketing experts underestimate this type of advertising either by not using it or by realizing it in a way they do not understand. The reason is that many people think that viral marketing is distributed as fast as a virus and this is where its name derives from. This is a true but not an exhaustive description at all.
To realize a real viral campaign one should be acquainted with several clear rules, to know the behavior of the virus (yes, the biological virus you have studied about in biology classes in school), and last but not least, you should do your best to make it cost you either peanuts or nothing. What is a viral campaign? It is an advertising campaign that is disguised as something else in one way or another. Either in the form of an article, picture, video, or something else, it does not matter. Your major goal is to reach millions of consumers in a short time and mention the name of your company, the name of a product or something that may bring you dividends in one way or another, along with the information you have created as “important”. Before I give you concrete examples of such campaigns, let me first introduce you to their essence.
The virus in brief
The virus attacks strictly specified target cells – This means that if your organism is affected by a virus that attacks your liver cells, you can be 100% sure that it will not attack your nerves or anything else. This is important with regard to the planning of the viral campaign because you must be sure what mass of consumers you are targeting – women, men, rich, poor, religious, atheists, intelligent, stupid, and so on. If you know what the audience of your website is, you can simply determine what part of society your campaign will target.
The virus enters the cells through the front door – The virus unit is recognized by the target cells as something useful. It presents itself at the entrance of the cell disguised as something that the cell needs strongly. Since the cell has the attribute of “selective permeability”, they decide what elements from the outer environment to let in and what not to. People, just like cells, have this feature of “selective permeability”, too. That is why we select what movies and TV shows to watch, what websites to visit, which articles to read there and which not to, which advertisements to pay attention to and which to ignore. To have a successful viral campaign, there is a need to work it out in a way that makes it perceived by the end-consumer as something positive and pleasant, something that they need.
The virus reproduces itself via the cell – The virus is dead on its own. It cannot survive alone in the environment, neither can it reproduce itself, which leads to the need to enter into a cell as fast as possible so as to continue spreading. The viral campaign follows the same principle. If you simply release certain information somewhere on the internet waiting for someone to notice it, you doom yourself to failure. To avoid this, you are obliged to spread the link or information in question to as many people as possible and as fast as possible via email, Skype, social networks, including the news. Such a move will lead to re-sending and multiple reproduction of the information. The campaign will start leading its own life in different inboxes, profiles of different consumers, social networks, and even in the news.
The virus is mutating – If you release certain information in the public area and it starts spreading, you should also expect its mutation. Different media, consumers, and bloggers can embroider it, or correct, adapt or edit it, so as to fit it better into their views and perceptions of the world or the concrete issue. It is important to foresee this mutation and to realize the campaign in a way that despite all the mutations that the information will undergo during its distribution, the part that you want to remain unchanged to be available both in the original, distributed, and mutated copies.
Epidemics and pandemics – They are organized through numerous viral outbreaks – it the real world we try to avoid and fight against epidemics and pandemics, while in the marketing world you need to incite them. Imagine that you have caught the flu and have to keep the bed at home. This way you will infect only the people you live with. However, if you go to work and sneeze, you will infect your colleagues; if you sneeze in the subway, you will infect the passengers; if you sneeze at the cinema, at the store, or at the bookmaker’s – you will infect many more people. These people, on the other hand, go to many and different places with high accumulation of possible virus carriers, who will infect more people, who in turn will infect more people, and more, and more…
The same process is valid for your viral campaign on the internet – your goal is to organize different “viral outbreaks” so as the information you have released on the internet to reach people through email, Skype, social networks, and media outlets. It is possible for certain consumers to receive the information through several channels, which further enhances the desired effect.