Posts Tagged ‘message’

Viral Marketing Word of Mouth

October 16, 2008

October 16, 2008

“Viral Marketing (Word-of-Mouth)”

Viral Marketing is any marketing technique that induces web site users to pass on a marketing message to other site or users, creating a potential growth or “buzz” about your message. In other words, it is letting the users of the Internet do your marketing for you.  Marketing guru Seth Goldin defines viral marketing as “getting people to talk about you and your product”. Viral marketing can be the cheapest most successful form of marketing. Here, we will explore some of the basic principles of viral marketing, examples of effective viral campaigns, and some of the pitfalls or challenges of viral marketing. 

Some viral marketing campaigns will be more effective than others. In addition, some target markets will eat up viral marketing better than other demographics, such as young adults and teenagers.  Wilsonweb.com  has a great article about the 6 basic viral marketing principles. Below you will find a summation of those 6 principles and the key points to be aware of.

1.    Give away valuable products or service

Free” is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary.  Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention, i.e. free e-mail, free info, free “cool” buttons, and free software and so on.  Offering something for free may not profit today, but if it generates interest and a buzz, then it will profit soon and for the rest of your life. “Patience, my friends!  Free attracts eyeballs”

 

2.    Provide for effortless transfer to others

Viral marketing is only effective if it easy to spread around (hence, the word viral). The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate. For example at the bottom of your website you can have “recommend this site to a friend” buttons or other useful widgets.

 

3.    Scales easily from small to very large

In order for your message to spread like wildfire the transmission method must be rapidly scalable form small to very large. In other words, you must plan ahead of time and be prepared for small to large amounts of user traffic.

 

4.    Exploits common motivations and behaviors

Clever viral marketing plans take advantage of common human motivations. Greed drives people. So does the hunger to be popular, loved and understood. The resulting urge to communicate produces millions of websites and billions of e-mail messages. Design a strategy that builds on these common human motivations.

 

5.    Utilizes existing communication networks

Most people are social, with the exception of nerdy undergrad students. Social science tells us that the typical person has a network of 8 to 12 people of friends, family and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of hundreds or thousands of people. A waitress, for example, may communicate with hundreds of customers in a given week. Network marketers have long understood the power of human networks. People develop a network of relationships on the Internet too. The goal is to exploit such networks, and to place messages in existing communications between people, so that your message can multiply rapidly.

 

6.    Takes advantage of others’ resources

The most creative viral marketing plans use others resources to get the word out.  This can be done by placing your logos, or links on others websites. It is getting someone else’s web page to relay your marketing message. Therefore, someone else’s resources are depleted rather than your own.

 

In order to conceptualize some of these 6 principles let us now explore some successful examples of viral marketing campaigns. Various articles were found that explored some successful viral marketing campaigns that all differed in nature, purpose and scope. However it is important to note that precise duplication of viral marketing tactics or campaigns will fail. Why? Well the reason these ideas worked was because they were innovative, which means they are already taken, however, they can be taken as a point of influence or inspiration.

 

One article by Tamar Weingberg at techipedia.comexamines how the band “Weezer” used viral marketing to create an instant buzz about their video. Weezer gathered people from a handful of successful Youtube videos and put them in their music video. It was simple for them really all they did was take a bunch of already popular people and combined them into their video at the most memorable parts, the video has had 4 million views so far.  Weinberg states the takeaways are simple “look at who you’re targeting, review what they find interesting, and be inventive”.  Another successful viral campaign was launched out and executed by musical recording artist “Crooked I”. This artist put out a free track every single week, mostly through affiliate sites such as hiphopdx. This campaign worked for him, the tactic kept him as a featured artist on major hip-hop sites and the topic of discussion on many related hip-hop forums. Dan Zarella is a social & viral marketing scientist in his article , he lists what he believes are some of the most effective examples of viral marketing to date. He mentions the Bob Dylan Facebook Application, where users were allowed to make their own version of Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues video. He states that this is an viral marketing campaign example consisting entirely of “brand” interaction for the purpose of entertainment.  

 

Justin Bolden’s blog at Audiblehype.com, examines some of the challenges, and pitfalls of viral marketing. Bolden suggests that imitating something that has already been done won’t work, and he refers to Seth Godin’s remark about how people will drive by 1 million white cows but will stop and stare at a cow that is purple. The same Bolden admits, applies to the viral marketing world, where people are constantly looking for something new, exciting and emotionally stimulating to be entertained with. So viral marketing if done effectively can be a great benefit for anyone person attempting to sell something or get a message across to a large number of people. Marketingterms.com states that the success of this type of marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients pass it along to a large number of people, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. It the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles.

Building Community within your Website

October 9, 2008

October 9th, 2008

“Building Community Within you website”

The notion of customer experience in e-commerce refers to targeting a customer’s perception & interpretation of all the stimuli encountered while interacting with a firm. There are 7 C’s to effectively building and maintaining a customer experience: context, content, community, customization, communication, connection and commerce. Here we will focus on community and explore some underlying methods of building community within your website.

Community refers to how sites build relationships between users. Strong community encourages stickiness and loyalty. Some examples of the way firms can build communities in their websites are: support forums, discussion/message boards or forums, member areas and blogs. Basically, building community is a way for users of your site to connect and communicate with each other. We will now look explore some of the tools used to build community in particularly discussion/message boards and blogs.

One article about discussion/message boards  examines the several advantages of a message board over an email list or instant chatting.  One of the advantages that stood out in the piece was the fact that past and present messages on a message board are readily viewable. This means that evidence of quality participation and a large group of participants is necessary to encourage more visitors to contribute.  The task then here is developing topics that drive traffic to the conversation.

Blogs can be a great way to encourage users to participate in your website and remain engaged with your websites content. However, professional blogger for Viral Garden, Mark Collier, has a some very interesting points and suggestions made in his article about blogging. He suggests that there is a big difference between blogging and expecting people to participate, and actually creating a viral community within your website. Some of the few blogs he links to include: Jack Yan’s “The Persuader Blog”, Clyde Smith’s “Hip-Hop Marketing”, and Toby Bloomberg’s “The Diva Marketing Blog”.

Priya Shah, a partner at a search engine marketing firm, in her article “How to build Traffic to your Blog”, states that “Write and they will come” isn’t exactly a magic formula to bring in traffic by the boatload. In her article she has 8 points of consideration for anyone wishing to build community through a blog.

  1. Write posts that People will Want to read
  2. Optimize your Post for Search Engines
  3. Submit your blog and RSS feed to directories
  4. Ping the Blog Service
  5. Build Links to Your blog
  6. Edit Your Blog Posts into Articles
  7. Create buzz about your blog
  8. Capture Subscribers by Email

Alot of things must be taken into consideration when implementing tools to build community and keeping that community together. Justilien Gaspard, at SerachEngineWatch.com discusses various aspects about building community in his article. He states that that a viral marketing campaign, whether it be blogging, forums, or discussion boards, or any combination of tools, has a greater likelihood of success by having specific objectives and targeting communities. There are no guarantees with viral marketing, he admits. Finally, he states that if it doesn’t succeed, explore what you can improve on, what you’ve learned and put that new knowledge into another campaign. He says at the very least you developed some relationships with people to promote your next vial marketing initiative. Building viral communities in your website is a good way to bring a group of people (your customers) together that share common interest(s), who can generate content to your website, and feel that they are an important and integral part of what you are offering.