What Is Viral Marketing

by | November 7, 2018 | Marketing


Viral marketing has become a popular ‘buzzword’ among both advertisers and consumers alike. However, many might not necessarily understand what it is and what makes for a viral marketing campaign. In this article, we will discuss what it is, how it works, some advantages of viral marketing, and some general examples to make it even easier to understand.

What Is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is essentially a type of internet marketing strategy that attempts to leverage the power of word-of-mouth and social media marketing to either spread a message, generate interest, or even sell a product or service. The entire premise of this type of marketing is to create something that is easily shareable and something that can spread like a ‘virus’.

Because the message or content you are writing needs to be easy to share and spread, some of the most successful viral marketing campaigns leverage the power of video marketing and photos as they are typically the most shared forms of content on the Internet.

Advantages Of Viral Marketing:

1. Cost-Effectiveness

The primary advantage of this type of marketing is the fact that it can be extremely cost-effective. This is especially true when you compare it to the total cost of a traditional marketing campaign whether offline or online. A viral marketing campaign is able to spread like a wildfire among your respective target market which can allow you to reach a much wider audience utilizing a very cost-effective approach. Essentially, your target market begins spreading the message for you rather than having to pay to spread it on your own which can optimize your marketing efforts.

2. Better Market Reach

As mentioned above, you are going to be able to reach a much wider audience and you will even be able to reach your target market in much greater depth. Because a viral marketing campaign typically doesn’t ‘feel’ like an advertising or marketing campaign, it can also help you penetrate a segment of your target market that wouldn’t normally respond well to a typical advertising or marketing campaign.

3. Creates a Better Brand Image and Perception

Another extremely good advantage that comes with a viral marketing campaign is the ability to have your brand continue to be shared by your respective target market. The more people you have within your target market sharing your viral message, the more likely your brand is going to be able to position itself as an authority within your niche which can propel your business and brand to new heights when it comes to building trust, creating a positive brand image, and being able to convert prospects into actual customers.

4. Non-Invasive

As mentioned previously, this type of marketing is going to be spread by your target market instead of your company. As a result, the marketing efforts are not going to be viewed as your typical marketing efforts which can be much less intrusive and invasive than a traditional campaign. This alone is going to allow you to generate much more positive reactions towards your campaign because people won’t be viewing your advertising or marketing campaign with the typical disdain they would from other efforts.

This can make your message hit even harder and generate interest much more effectively as well because your campaign is not going to be something that is being forced down your target market’s throats. Rather it will come to them organically which allows them to be much more receptive to your message as a whole.

Characteristics Of A Viral Marketing Campaign:

1. Interactive and Engaging

One of the most important things that a viral marketing campaign must have is interactive and engaging content. This is why images and videos are such great options for creating the perfect viral marketing campaigns. For photos, your customers can end up creating new ‘memes’ about your brand, product, or service. Whereas, if you create a video that goes viral, you will have many different people throughout your target market actively sharing it and engaging with the content by ‘liking’ it and even writing comments on the video itself.

2. Targeted Approach

Another big characteristic of a viral marketing campaign is having a targeted approach that is meant specifically for your intended audience. Typically, you are going to have much better results when you create something for a specific audience rather than something for everyone. You need to not only create something for your audience because it is going to reach many more of your prospective customers, but it will also allow you to garner a much more direct and stronger overall response because you are going to be sharing something that your target market feels strongly and cares about.

3. Gain The Attention Of An Influencer

Another crucial characteristic of a viral marketing campaign is gaining the attention and/or paying for the attention of an influencer within your respective market. An influencer can completely transform a failed marketing attempt into a successful one literally overnight. This is why so many businesses and advertisers are investing so much money in influencer marketing. If you get a retweet, share, or post from a popular influencer in your target market, you can expect your campaign to have much greater chances of going viral.

Now that we have gone over some of the primary advantages that you are going to be able to get from implementing a viral marketing approach and some of the characteristics of a successful viral marketing approach, we will discuss a key example of a successful viral marketing campaign.

Example of Viral Marketing:

The Dollar Shave Club company managed to really drive home its message through a hilarious scripted video promoting its razors. Millions of people shared the video with their friends and family which allowed Dollar Shave Club to reach an incredibly wide and diverse audience. It allowed them to create a brand so strong that it was able to begin competing with established brands that have been in the industry for a long time.

Overall, there are plenty of reasons you will want to invest in your own viral marketing efforts. Not only is it a great way to spread a message, promote your brand, products, or services, but it can also help you demonstrate value within the marketplace and garner more brand recognition overall.

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