How to infest the net
People are slowly recognizing the importance if not the
necessity of using viral marketing in their online marketing campaigns.
Therefore, I'd like to offer a few examples to help you in your efforts.
"The future belongs to the people who unleash idea viruses,"
claims Seth Godin, author of "Permission Marketing" and the
brain behind the above site. On it, Godin offers his latest book, also
available as a free downloadable eBook, entitled "Unleashing the
Idea Virus." Within it, he explains the power, process and principles
of good viral marketing campaigns.
It's probably one of the most comprehensive books on the topic and a
must-read for any Internet marketer. Godin explains that any viral marketing
campaign is really an idea (or based on one), and not a good, service,
website or file. Aside from the "idea," what's also important
is that idea's "velocity" (i.e., the speed with which and the
extent to which it spreads).
But to achieve velocity, the idea must be virusworthy. "Not all
ideas are virusworthy," claims Godin. So in it, he makes several
distinctions and critical points on how ideas reach a certain notoriety.
For example, he speaks of "sneezers," which are opinion leaders
who help propel an idea within what he calls "hives" (i.e.,
networks of people who know each other). Anyway, don't be put off by the
lingo -- this book is an easy read.
Mark Joyner's most recent brainchild, StartBlaze, is a great example
of the combined power of viral marketing and network marketing -- and
an interesting parallel with Godin's viral principle of creating velocity.
This tool generally aims at generating traffic to your website through
credits accumulated by opening browsers. Each time a StartBlaze member's
browser is opened, a uniquely-coded URL opens another site within the
network. It tracks each instance you open your browser and, reciprocally,
specifies your URL in other people's browsers as their homepages.
Admittedly, this program does not sound terribly exciting. But what makes
this concept interesting is the fact that credits can be accumulated not
only through your own browser but also through those of your "downline,"
which is similar to a multi-level marketing (or MLM) system. Credits can
multiply rapidly, like a virus, thus potentially generating a lot of traffic.
But unlike conventional MLMs, there are no sales or monies, here. The
heart of this program is only and purely comprised of one thing -- traffic.
It's like a self-sustaining affiliate program that propagates through
other people's browsers, and there are no obligations, no requirements
and no limits -- the only limit is the downline, which can be four levels
deep. Other similar "viral marketing tools" based on the same
principles as StartBlaze include:
Last week, I made a reference to Dr. Ralph Wilson's digitized speech,
"Demystifying Viral Marketing," in which he discusses several
principles of viral marketing. However, I understand that some of you
may not have the proper plug-in. So, if you would like to read about Dr.
Wilson's "Six Principles of Viral Marketing" in greater depth,
read his article linked above.
In fact, Dr. Wilson offers several examples on how to deploy your own
viral campaign at http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-deploy.htm.
Other than Godin's book above, Dr. Wilson offers a simpler definition
of viral marketing. If Godin's book perplexes you, then read Dr. Wilson's
ViralMarketer.com is not really an information-based site. In fact, it
is a little misleading as it is simply a site to help propagate another
tool offered by the same company, which is a greeting card service found
However, what makes this site interesting (and the reason why it is mentioned)
is the information found at the above link. It offers myriad examples
of viral marketing, and several links to articles and other resources
at the end. Included is an article by "FastCompany" magazine,
which can be found at http://fastcompany.com/online/37/ideavirus.html,
offering a manifesto based on Godin's book mentioned earlier.
In conclusion, remember that viral marketing is not really as complicated
as it may seem. The real challenge is devising an idea that can help spread
your visibility. How do you do that?
Brainstorm. List. And above all, experiment. Realize that your idea doesn't
have to be new, unique or complex. Often, the simplest (and even tiniest)
of ideas, such as Hotmail's single-sentence tagline added to the end of
each message sent through its system, can *germinate* your marketing "germ."
|About the author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated
to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of
his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when
you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill."
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