Viral marketing has quickly achieved recognition because of a handful of high-profile examples: Marketers demonstrated that on shoestring budgets they could motivate millions.
  Effective viral marketing strategies include:  
  1. Give-aways
  2. Exploitation of
    common motivations
    The desire to be cool. Greed. Need to be popular, loved, or understood.
  3. Scalability
    Your campaign might actually work, and your server could be swamped with responses!
  4. Ease of transfer to others
    E-mail, website, graphic, software download.
  5. Utilisation of existing communications channels
    Each person has at least 8 to 12 people in their network of friends.
  6. Usage of others' resources
    Affiliate programs.

    Authors who give away free articles, seek to get their articles onto others' webpages.
    A news release can be picked up by hundreds of periodicals and form the basis of articles seen by hundreds of thousands of readers.

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Viral Marketing Defined

Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence.

It consists of leveraging customer-to-customer communication to increase sales, brand awareness, and market coverage.

A successful viral marketing campaign relies on research data detailing frequently asked customer questions, complaints, and responses to follow-ups. It also identifies and helps develop high-advocacy customers, who can then be independently targeted with referral opportunities.

Tapping into this benefit requires understanding the new role of the customer as a sales channel and focusing on the marketing process more than the marketing message. As tools for tracking and analyzing online customer response and behavior grow increasingly sophisticated, marketers will realize higher levels of control over the customer sales channel.

In constructing an online marketing strategy, sales and marketing executives must consider viral marketing an integral element of their overall strategy.