What is a Viral Campaign?
Have you ever visited a website and found an article, a coupon, a special offer, or something else that impressed you so much that you immediately sent an email to a friend about it? If you have, you’ve experienced “viral marketing”.
Viral marketing is a low cost, highly effective way to reach your customers using the internet. This “word of mouse” method is like a bug or flu virus in humans. Instead of replicating and propagating itself to other humans it does it to other computers (in a good way). One minute nobody’s heard of it, next minute, it’s everywhere. Viral marketing is so effective because it lets you capitalize on referrals from an unbiased third party—your consumer! Let just one of your customers catch your “marketing bug” and they will happily spread it to everyone they know.
So what then is a viral campaign? It’s a specific marketing promotion that focuses on something you do, NOT on who you are. It is also not something malicious or under-handed. Viral marketing is used by reputable companies trying to promote reputable products. A viral campaign does not use spam or programs that force people to see or do things they do not want.
Instead, a viral campaign is something that is so cool, so exciting, or so creative that it gets people so excited; they can’t wait to share it with others. It’s subtle, not forceful. It’s uncontrollable. The exposure you get from this MAY raise sales or otherwise help your company name recognition, but that’s actually the by-product. That’s why it’s so effective if done correctly!
With a good viral campaign, people feel compelled to spread your word. They can’t help themselves (just like sneezing when you pass a virus around). The heart of a viral campaign is the content. People don’t spread what you say or do because they love you, they spread it because they can’t help but adore your content. Don’t forget! They are not evangelists serving you, they are self-serving.
So, all successful viral campaigns appeal to any one (or all three) of these basic human motivators: entertainment, greed, or charity. For an example of a viral campaign, check out SkiHeroes.com.