Maybe some of you have heard this term before but does everyone really understand what Viral Marketing is and how it can help the REALTOR?
Wikipedia defines Viral Marketing as marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages.
I like to add as delivery tools such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to some degree.
So with this in mind anything that can help your brand awareness and in the case of a Real Estate Agent that might be a speciality or a marketing area. Before the Internet came along this type of marketing might have been simply called “word of mouth”.
Why Use Viral Marketing?
I have read a few articles on the fact that when someone has a good experience, chances are they will tell a few friends. In contrast people that have a bad experience will tell anyone within shouting distance of the experience. The Internet compounds this problem so we always must be careful or what and how we say it. Things can spread VERY quickly in Cyberspace and a good experience and a bad one can equally become viral.
Remember when Hotmail was starting? You could only get an account if a friend sent you an email with the link. Every one wanted one, and emails spread like wildfire.
Let me give you another example of how the Internet can take things viral without even doing anything.
There was a video on YouTube called Kuroshio Sea and had a song in the background by a little known group called Barcelona. What the video did not get was the bands permission. This video and song combination went viral and was viewed over 4,000,000 times at the writing of this post. The band in turn made a video talking about the use of there song. The gist was that even though they were not asked permission the success of the video with millions of viewers sent their song to the top of the iTunes list and probably made them a ton of money.
You can view the 2 video’s here:
The Kuroshio Sea is the worlds 2nd largest aquarium next to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.
So you see it does not have to take a ton of money or time to let the Internet turn some ideas viral.
Essential Features of Viral Marketing
Traditional Viral Marketing usually requires a few basic elements – free products or services that are easily transferred to others using existing communications networks. For a Real Estate professional this usually comes in a form of a free report, drawing, or other enticement that a buyer or seller would like to have.
Here’s how it can work. Let’s take the example of community. Being an authoritative source in your community has always been important but how can we make this go viral? First let me explain Viral Marketing in this instance will not be nearly as explosive as traditional brand type promotions or the Kuroshio Sea video above but in this case all we need is a few solid leads and even one close to justify the model.
Sometimes nothing grabs peoples attention faster than the word FREE. So in the case of the community what can be free? Well we can use a bunch of offers such as free reports, free listing updates, free hyper local information, or free anything that can put you in a potential customer’s head. Free can get your name out there and introduce people to your services which will hopefully generate future sales or clients for you.
Know Your Buyers and Sellers
Knowing and understanding your prospect base will make your viral marketing more successful; tracking and analyzing what motivates them to want to pass along your message. You need to know what makes them tick.
As an example maybe you can run a contest and award a prize to a lucky winner. All you have to do to enter is register by clicking a link to your website. Strategies such as these can be a bit more effective as the people that register tend to have an interest in the services you provide.
Viral Marketing is a useful tool and it’s something to think about along with your other marketing strategies. However, you still need to create something unusual and useful that people will naturally want to share and tell others about.
Once you have an idea, then you need to exploit your Social Media sources to spread the word. These can be tools such as:
- Email marketing
The Internet can put us in touch with such a large number of people but keep in mind you need to reach the right people with the right message.