The Basics of Viral Marketing

by Joel Christopher - Date: 2007-08-07 - Word Count: 492 Share This!

Many people in the business of internet marketing ask: what is viral marketing? Well, what is a virus? defined it to be an infection that can transfer from one place to another easily and multiply quickly. The same concept operates on viral marketing.

Viral marketing is just marketing that travels easily and multiplies quickly, and there are lots of different ways to do it. The key point is that it is great for your marketing message because it gets that out there very quickly, and it spreads very very rapidly, on the assumption that you do it the right way.

Viral marketing is both an old and a new practice. The reason that it is new and old is because it has been around for a long time, and it used to be called "word of mouth marketing." Viral marketing now is mainly known because somebody or someone actually coined the term viral marketing.

The coining of that word "viral marketing" can be attributed to Hotmail. Initially, Hotmail was a free e-mail account and they wanted to get the word out, but they had a very little budget. They were not making any money. They were giving away the accounts for free, and so at the end of every message they put a little trailer on the bottom, and it basically says, "Get your free e-mail at Hotmail. Click here." This tiny addition to all messages actually caused readers of email messages to wonder what hotmail is click on the link.

They have already developed the medium. It was already going out. All they did was leverage it, and because they were giving the accounts away for free, no one could really complain about the fact that they added this thing on the bottom. So, that is one mechanism, and that is where the term comes from.

These days, more sophisticated forms of viral marketing can be observed from mail accounts such as Yahoo. There are now variations to this original style that Hotmail concocted. The good thing is that as the technology and internet usage evolved, so did the style of employing viral marketing. While Hotmail's technique used to be generic, it is now already tailored to be more personalized to their target market.

You can actually use something very similar to a resource box. In your e-mail, you can have a signature box at the bottom, and that is where you can put things like your name, your contact information, your USB if you are branding, and your websites. Lots of people click through on it.

To further monitor the prices, what some people to do is that they create tracking URLs that they put in their e-mail. With this, they can actually tell when people click on those tracking URLs at the bottom of the message. This is very effective and it almost costs you nothing to implement. You can do it in any email account with no worries whatsoever.

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Joel Christopher
is a best-selling author, speaker and mentor, known worldwide as The
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