Message: Only messages that are both memorable and sufficiently interesting to be passed on to others have the potential to spur a viral marketing phenomenon. Making a message more memorable and interesting or simply more infectious, is often not a matter of major changes but minor adjustments. It should be unique and engaging with a main idea that motivates the recipient to share it widely with friends – a "must-see" element.[22]
You’ll want to use email, blogging, and social media tactics to increase brand awareness, cultivate a strong online community, and retain customer loyalty. Consider sending personalized emails to past customers to impress or inspire them -- for instance, you might send discounts based off what they’ve previously purchased, wish them a happy birthday, or remind them of upcoming events.
There are many ways to determine which efforts are producing results and which ones aren't. For example, you can study your website's analytics through your web host or by using Google Analytics. Most social media sites provide analytics as well, or you can use tools such as HootSuite to get social media analytics. Your email service should also provide you with information on the open rates and engagement rates for your emails.
The first step is creating a list of potential affiliates in a simple Excel file or Google Sheet. The top columns should include the website’s URL, contact email address, date of contact, and any notes you have on the opportunity. Keep your spreadsheet simple. To hunt for the correct contact email address, leverage the information in your affiliate network, use an online tool like Email Hunter, or even find their contact information on LinkedIn.
There is debate on the origination and the popularization of the specific term viral marketing, though some of the earliest uses of the current term are attributed to the Harvard Business School graduate Tim Draper and faculty member Jeffrey Rayport. The term was later popularized by Rayport in the 1996 Fast Company article "The Virus of Marketing",[12] and Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetson of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 1997 to describe Hotmail's practice of appending advertising to outgoing mail from their users.[13] An earlier attestation of the term is found in PC User magazine in 1989, but with a somewhat differing meaning.[14][15]
Social sharing and comments: If you’re on social media, you’re probably familiar with sharing and commenting. Social shares and comments are good indicators of how relevant your content is with your target audience. If a viewer watches your video and takes the time to share it with their network, you probably created a great piece of content. Social shares are also important because the more times your video is shared, the more it’ll be viewed. If your goal is to reach to reach a lot of people, social shares is good metric to track.
Old Spice is still the king of viral marketing with its humorous and out-of-the-box ad campaigns. It came out with its brand character, the Old Spice man who appeared in “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign in 2010. The Old Spice man Isaiah Mustafa created a stir with his ad, which was created to appeal to the female audience and give a subtle message to men to buy Old Spice. The ad video got amazing positive reviews and YouTube views, garnering more than 54 million views to date on YouTube.
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[1] Terminology geekery: It would be cool if we could all agree to use a common language to describe this process, with appropriate signifiers. When a Referrer (Alice) refers something to a Referee (Bob). It would make life a lot easier. This is going to take some time though, because referral programs aren’t completely ubiquitous… yet. Also, because the term “referee” is most commonly used in sporting contexts. It’s not unimaginable, though, that the term “Referee” may eventually be accepted as a signifier of the person who’s being referred to a product or service. Time will tell. At ReferralCandy, we use the terms Advocate and Friend respectively– they’re not perfect, but they make sense and are easier to use.
When you're thinking about viral marketing for your business, you want to consider offering discounts and decide if it's beneficial or not. Jonah Berger suggests using the $100 rule - under $100, and a 25% discount seems like more than the same dollar amount off. Over $100, and the dollar amount seems like a better deal even though it's the same as the percentage.
If you would like to take a more subtle approach, include a product or service from your company that relates into your blog post. For example, let’s say that you are a wine connoisseur and that is what your blog is based around. In any post that is enticing your readers to open up a good bottle of Merlot or what have you, it would be wise to embed an ad for a quality, easy-to-use wine opener, wine glasses or stoppers that keep the wine fresh.

Viral marketing is often used in conjunction with other methods of marketing, such as in the case of the Blair Witch Project. The viral aspect of the campaign generated buzz about the story long before the release of commercials, trailers, posters, and other forms of traditional marketing. This caused many people to already talk about the movie before it was officially announced to the public.


To clarify and organize the information related to potential measures of viral campaigns, the key measurement possibilities should be considered in relation to the objectives formulated for the viral campaign. In this sense, some of the key cognitive outcomes of viral marketing activities can include measures such as the number of views, clicks, and hits for specific content, as well as the number of shares in social media, such as likes on Facebook or retweets on Twitter, which demonstrate that consumers processed the information received through the marketing message. Measures such as the number of reviews for a product or the number of members for a campaign webpage quantify the number of individuals who have acknowledged the information provided by marketers. Besides statistics that are related to online traffic, surveys can assess the degree of product or brand knowledge, though this type of measurement is more complicated and requires more resources.[24][25]
Companies often use email marketing to re-engage past customers, but a “Where’d You Go? Want To Buy This?” message can come across as aggressive, and you want to be careful with your wording to cultivate a long-term email subscriber. This is why JetBlue’s one year re-engagement email works so well -- it uses humor to convey a sense of friendliness and fun, while simultaneously reminding an old email subscriber they might want to check out some of JetBlue’s new flight deals.
Establishment of customer exclusivity: A list of customers and customer's details should be kept on a database for follow up and selected customers can be sent selected offers and promotions of deals related to the customer's previous buyer behaviour. This is effective in digital marketing as it allows organisations to build up loyalty over email.[22]
Many laws specifically regulate the ways online ads are delivered. For example, online advertising delivered via email is more regulated than the same ad content delivered via banner ads. Among other restrictions, the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 requires that any commercial email provide an opt-out mechanism.[108] Similarly, mobile advertising is governed by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), which (among other restrictions) requires user opt-in before sending advertising via text messaging.
How much time would it realistically take for you to build an affiliate network from scratch? Do you have someone on your team to oversee this initiative by forming relationships with publishers, handling disputes, troubleshooting technical problems, and making sure that payments are sent on time? Do the anticipated returns justify the invested time?
Your first opportunity to delight comes directly after the purchase. Consider sending a thank you video to welcome them into the community or an onboarding video to get them rolling with their new purchase. Then, build out a library of educational courses or product training videos to cater to consumers who prefer self-service or simply want to expand their expertise.
You’ll want to use email, blogging, and social media tactics to increase brand awareness, cultivate a strong online community, and retain customer loyalty. Consider sending personalized emails to past customers to impress or inspire them -- for instance, you might send discounts based off what they’ve previously purchased, wish them a happy birthday, or remind them of upcoming events.

Viral marketing can be less expensive than traditional marketing campaigns, yet grow faster — especially with the help of social networks as a "force multiplier." Since it can receive so much traffic in a short time, it can also lead to mainstream media attention. Social media can also cause viral marketing efforts to misfire, as messages are altered, misconstrued, considered spam or called out for missing the mark. Viral marketing success can also be hard to measure.
"Looks great. Organic traffic has been holding steady at Feb/March levels when normally it declines from April onwards. Because of the seasonal nature of the business it is difficult to measure the exact impact, but I can tell you our organic traffic is currently almost 3 times what it was this time last year. All down to you guys! The trick for us is to try and sustain it throughout the summer, keeping our slow season as short as possible!" Ivan L. 

Many small and medium businesses can join a business network such as BNI (Business Network International) which has chapters all over the world to help its members promote business through referrals. Each referral is much more valuable than a lead as conversion rate could be near 90-100% while a qualified lead gained from any other forms of marketing have one-fourth chance of being converted to business.
An important step is to get out and talk to prospective publishers and business partners. Do they participate in affiliate programs already? What has the yield been in terms of performance? What are the typical revshares that ad networks are taking? What are typical conversion rates? What would be the incentive for publishers and business partners to promote your products and services?

Messenger: Three specific types of messengers are required to ensure the transformation of an ordinary message into a viral one: market mavens, social hubs, and salespeople. Market mavens are individuals who are continuously 'on the pulse' of things (information specialists); they are usually among the first to get exposed to the message and who transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with an exceptionally large number of social connections; they often know hundreds of different people and have the ability to serve as connectors or bridges between different subcultures. Salespeople might be needed who receive the message from the market maven, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then transmit it to the social hub for further distribution. Market mavens may not be particularly convincing in transmitting the information.
According to a paper by Duncan Watts and colleagues entitled: "Everyone's an influencer",[66] the most common risk in viral marketing is that of the influencer not passing on the message, which can lead to the failure of the viral marketing campaign. A second risk is that the influencer modifies the content of the message. A third risk is that influencers pass on the wrong message. This can result from a misunderstanding or as a deliberate move. 
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