For those who don’t know, viral marketing is when you create a marketing piece which recipients naturally want to “pass on” to others.
For example, when an employee of an Indianapolis, IN suburb flower shop put out a sign with a serious spelling error, it became an viral marketing piece. (See the photo here at Funny Marketing Blunders: Flower of the Month)
This example shows one of the key elements for “viral marketing”…it includes a powerful image. The example of the above situation is a “you aren’t going to believe this unless you see it with your own eyes” type of marketing blunder.
It also illustrates another “viral marketing truth”…. use humor. If it’s funny, people will be prone to pass it along. (Fortunately, the flower shop wasn’t selling tutoring services!)
Funny is hard to pull off for most of us… but there are other tools which can be put to use in the creation of the “viral marketing” campaign. Viral marketing campaigns tend to live on the edge… in the land of the extreme if you will.
Another viral image that found its way to me is this one:
The only difference between this “viral” picture and a “viral marketing campaign” is that this picture isn’t “selling” anything.
That’s the biggest problem with most viral marketing campaigns, it’s hard to sell and be “viral” at the same time.
Viral requires extremes and most businesses aren’t comfortable venturing into the land of extremes.
Both Digg and Stumbleupon are both sites blogs and businesses use to try to ignite various viral marketing campaigns. Caroline Middlebrook offers a great example of creating viral marketing campaigns for StumbleUpon in her post Stumble Bait – Harnessing the Viral Power of StumbleUpon.
Her advice is good no matter WHAT type of viral marketing campaign you want to create.