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Viral marketing is today’s popular and very frequently used marketing strategy that relies largely on individuals rather than traditional campaigns to pass along a message to others. Basically, viral marketing and viral advertising use pre-existing social networks to generate exponential enhancements in brand awareness along with the help of self-replicating viral processes, corresponding to the widening of a computer virus. The term “viral advertising” itself signifies that the idea behind this marketing talks about passing on and sharing interesting and entertaining content, which is usually sponsored by a brand looking to build awareness of a product or service. These viral commercials are often some funny video clips, or interactive Flash games, images, and even text.

Viral marketing received tremendous recognition among the Internet marketers post the implausible success of Hotmail or ICQ. And now, almost, every internet marketer likes to promote his product through viral concept. Hence, we could say that viral marketing earned popularity in a very short time because of the ease of executing the marketing campaign, great affordability, good targeting, and the incredibly rapid response rate. However, the ability to obtain a large number of interested people at an extremely economical budget remains its most powerful attribute.

Acquiring and then retaining an extensive customer base is the toughest job for a company. Fortunately, good use of internet and the great results of e-mail advertising have been quite beneficial for the business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. Through viral marketing, one cannot only send messages across but can also avoid the nuisance of spamming which mostly customers hate to witness. Let us now discuss few most frequently used viral marketing campaigns.

  • Pass – along:
    This is often termed as the crudest form as it encourages the user to send message to others. Usually, it tries to form a chain where a message placed at the bottom of the e-mail prompts the reader to forward the message further.
  • Incentivized viral:
    In this type of marketing, a gift or a reward is assured for either passing a message along or providing someone else’s address. This significantly increases referrals and becomes all the effective when the offer demands another person to take action.
  • Edgy Gossip/Buzz marketing:
    Edgy gossips are basically ads and messages capable of creating controversy by challenging the restrictions of taste or suitability. Talk on the given controversy often lead to buzz and word of mouth advertising. As for instance, before a movie is released, starts mostly create controversies like getting engaged or arrested, or become involved in some controversy that directs conversational attention to them. A little more refined and subtle form of this marketing campaign is called undercover viral marketing campaign.
  • User-managed database:
    With this type of viral marketing campaign users create and manage their own lists of contacts through a database given by an online service provider. They invite other members to participate in their community and thus create a viral. It is basically a self-propagating chain of contacts that grows and persuades others to sign up also.
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