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5 Concepts Toward Optimizing Viral Marketing Campaigns

Viral marketing has come a long way from the "refer-a-friend" email method. User-generated content (UGC) sites such as YouTube, Digg, MySpace, and Technorati reflect the strength of user control. Delegating what is popular like never before consumers have taken much of the power out of corporate hands.

Using viral marketing campaigns, which encourage users to take action by forwarding a link, blogging a topic, or telling a friend, have provided positive and negative results. Initially the concept of viral marketing was to spread positive word-of-mouth, or recommendations, via costumers. However, with the ease of the Internet era spreading bad news has become as easy, and as popular, as sharing good news.

Marketers can avoid negative reviews by carefully employing viral marketing tactics. Many advertisers already upload commercials to YouTube featuring products and brands in a user- and buyer- friendly method. Executing viral marketing tactics correctly can increase ROI, targeted traffic, and overall brand recognition.

Viral marketing also opens new niche markets that may have been left undiscovered by corporations but are pinpointed by consumers. Reaching such markets creates a much broader spectrum while precisely targeting interest groups.

Below are five concepts into the execution of an effective viral marketing campaign.

1. Offer the interesting.
Viral marketing works best when there’s a popular interest. Prompting people to forward a silly video with the click of a button increases the chances it will be sent. If the video closely resembles a commercial, forget it. There are plenty of “regular” commercials out there.

2. A referral is not an opt-in.
When a customer refers a friend, the friend must take action before being tagged as a new customer. The recipient must provide his own information or agree to opt in himself; otherwise the term spam will come to mind. Make opting in easy and comfortable. The new recipient will be more inclined to opt in and continue the viral spread.

3. Personalize the referral email.
Identifying the referrer of the message dramatically increases response rates. When users can see a message was sent from a friend it validates the email and increases open rates. The subject line is key in referring via viral marketing. It’s an immediate identifier. Consider a subject line reading: “Jane Jackson Suggests You View This Video at YouTube.com”

4. Use Analytics.
As with any marketing campaign, analytics are the golden goose of optimizing campaign performance overtime. Luckily, many programs are available, easy-to-use and customizable to track results and evaluate actions.

Important metrics to analyze include referral, click-through, and conversion rates. Marketers should consider delegating click-through and conversion rates by original customers and referrals in order to evaluate the respective performances.

5. Persistently Employ Viral Marketing Tactics.
Marketers may originally intend to use viral marketing for a solitary campaign; however employing viral tactics on all relevant campaigns will increase viability. With the advantages of the Internet viral marketing campaigns can continue to broaden marketing reach for innumerable amounts of time. Remind customers of your offers and brands, then step back and let the referring begin.

While, like all marketing techniques, no sure-fire methods exist across markets, viral marketing provides a vast landscape of opportunity. Negative customer reactions can be detrimental in a viral market; however these five concepts should allow marketers to create a positive experience for users. The Internet is a worldwide resource, remember this when launching a viral campaign and use it to your advantage.

Submitted by:

Kristen Owen

Kristen Owen is CEO of ContentWorth (http://www.contentworth.com), a freelance writer, and a WAHM. She writes topics covering SEO, marketing, lifestyle and has a plethora of interests. Contact Kristen directly at kowen[at]contentworth[dot]com.




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