Getting others to advertise for you on the Internet has the same effect as word-of-mouth advertising does on the street.
It’s a good thing…as long as you are as good as your word…in your marketplace.
Viral marketing is word-of-mouth advertising in e-mail. It is the art of getting your e-mail recipients to pass the e-mail on to others. Seven out of ten consumers consider their friends as their best source of advice on new products, and will trust the information shared by them. Most people today have 15 to 20 friends and/or associates they regularly communicate with, and share e-mails with. You don’t have to be a math expert to see how far and how quickly your e-mail can spread if each recipient shares it with just a few of their friends!
One of the best ways to encourage your e-mail recipients to share your information is to offer a reward of some type. For example, you could offer a T-shirt or hat with your company logo on it for every 5 referrals, along with a free e-book or video with valued information for each of the referral who signs up to receive your e-mails. If you’re selling a product in your e-mail, you could offer a discount, or extra bonus of some kind for each additional purchaser.
However, just like the viruses that spread rampantly and cause disease, it’s important to remember how fast it can spread.
And…if you want your viral e-mail to do good, and not harm, you need to be prepared…for the consequences of what might happen if your prospects or customers receive something they really like and share it…with their recommendations…with LOTS of their friends!
Remember the backlash that occurred…something of a public flogging in fact…when the threat of the “pandemic” H1N1 virus was being publicly broadcast just a few short months ago, and as the CDC encouraged everyone to get vaccinated against it; while the news media continually reported the shortage of the vaccine and its nonavailability to those who needed it most?
Similarly, if you are sending out an e-mail with the hope of getting your list of prospects and customers to forward it on, you can expect a backlash of complaints if you are unable to deliver…on either any incentive promised for referrals, or the actual product you are selling.
Viral e-mail marketing, with the right content, sent at the right time, can indeed net results. It is without doubt one of the hottest marketing tools available. This is a tool that can catapult you from mediocre to “Tony the Tiger G-R-E-A-A-T” very quickly.
It can also be very dangerous without advance strategy and planning.
Here are a few things to have in mind to make sure your viral e-mail spreads in a positive way, and doesn’t come back to infect you!
- Are you ready for a landslide response?
- Do you have an automated system ready to identify who sent the referral, a “thank you for your interest” e-mail for the referral, and a “thank you for the referral?”
- Do you have a system set up to count the number of referrals per individual if your e-mail promises rewards for a certain number of referrals?
- And is it connected to an automated system to mail…or e-mail…the promised reward?
- Is your shopping cart set up, and easy to use, regardless of the user’s system…with an internal setting that won’t assess the charge unless the product is immediately available?
If you know what your ultimate goal is before you solicit “e-mail word-of-mouth” advertising, then you can communicate your objective with confidence, and time your e-mails in a way that will allow you to handle the response appropriately.
When your goal is to spread a virile GOOD “virus” through your viral e-mail, you can anticipate a promising and profitable response..so long as the “antidote” is readily available and plentiful for all who want it.