What Viral Marketing Is
What viral marketing is, simply put, is nothing more than word of mouth advertising. It can be delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the internet. Viral marketing depends on a high pass rate rate from person to person. If a large number of recipients forward something to a large number of friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. To get a clear picture of what viral marketing is you can think of it as a cold. One person has a cold then passes it along to someone else through air or touch. Then they pass it along to one or more people. And it just continues on from there. That is how viral marketing works.
Steve Jurvetson and Tip Draper are generally credited for the coining of the phase "viral marketing" in 1997 after Hotmail was started and it experienced such exponential growth. With the company's launch, all outgoing messages had an advertisement for Hotmail and a link to the website at the bottom of the message. As the public began to email there friends and collections they also happened to be advertising for Hotmail. So the recipients could just click on the link and sign themselves up. This was all done with very little effort from the company itself. They said it was like the spread of a virus. The reason behind using viral marketing is to drive traffic to your website. But to fully understand viral marketing you must understand why it works. Most of the successful viral marketing campaigns have the same approach.
First: it should be fully transferable. Meaning viruses love to travel, and it is the same with this approach. It must be easy to move the message from person to person.
Second: something was free! This almost always works because we all want something for nothing. And the word FREE itself will grab someone's attention quicker than any other word.
Third: It pressed the right buttons. You want to have a feeling of community or unity. It must be about them and what they need.
Fourth: not to die it must network. So you want it to end up on someone else's website and going through someone else's traffic.
Now that you understand what viral marketing is you can implement it into your own traffic plan for your website.