Q

Spread a cold and catch a customer -- viral marketing

Viral marketing can be an effective tool under certain conditions. Our expert advises when it works -- and when it doesn't.

What do you mean by "catch the customer"? Why is it necessary and how is it done? Is it used to increase the sales of a launching product and company?
You might have heard the phrase 'spread a cold and catch a customer'. This is a very important viral marketing tool for small and medium businesses that can't afford big marketing dollars in the Internet era. Netscape is the first company that has successfully used the viral marketing technique on the net. The small "Designed for NETSCAPE" icon was used by Web developers to show that the Web site is designed and developed using latest Web technology. You could launch a customer referral program which motivates existing customers to sign up for the product/services by their friends and family.

My advice for you is to not spread your product too thin on the ground when it is a particular product launch. Identify the most likely customers (customer segmentation) for the product being launched. Aim your viral marketing program to the target group. You customer base will grow because of a ripple effect once the product is stabilized and the target group is satisfied with the product performance with viral marketing program. Viral...

marketing program helps you by spending part of the incoming revenue because of product sales. You may give a $10 gift check for each referral that turned into sales for an existing customer who made those referrals.

This was first published in September 2006

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