Viral marketing is a phrase that has gained some notoriety in online business over the past few years as social marketing has taken hold of the world of Internet commerce. In brief, it’s a method of marketing which encourages people from all walks of life to spread the word as much as possible. When this word is pro-actively spread, it has the chance to grow exponentially and reach a huge audience, just as a virus might be spread during a bad influenza outbreak.

Many marketers seek to initiate a viral marketing strategy, or they try to make their product or services “go viral”, but this is possible only if you pay attention to some of the essential elements that must be present for success. And they don’t realise that a skilled virtual assistant could make all the difference in these plans.

To start with, you must have a product or service that is saleable and scalable. It’s possible to create a “buzz” about almost anything, as all of us have seen from a variety of examples in popular media. For example, who would’ve thought that millions of people would log onto a computer and jump to a particular web page so that they could see a webcam streaming a bunch of cute puppies sleeping in their bed? Nevertheless, in real marketing terms you must start off with a product or service that can generate some excitement.

Many people feel that one of the best ways to create a viral marketing campaign is to start with something that’s free. The word “free” is definitely one of the most potent words in our language, and it usually creates focused attention of some sort. Think about giving away something for free, in the hope that should your marketing campaign really take off, you’ll have the attention of a massive audience to whom you can promote and potentially sell other products or services.

Whatever you’re selling, you need to be able to sell large numbers of it through your website development strategy. The ability to scale easily from small to very large is essential, as is your transmission method. You must plan ahead of time if you’re serious about creating a viral marketing campaign – and remember, scalability is very important. If you are not able to keep up with the demand, your initiative is dead. To help with this, keep virtual assistants available and “at hand.”

If you really want to create a buzz about your product or service, it should have a certain element of “coolness” to it. What sets it apart – what is its unique selling proposition? Find something to create that spark, and you may also be able to feed off some current trends to help you. Consider researching “Google trends” online – it’s a great resource for learning about what’s hot, what may even be volcanic or what’s not.

Your viral marketing project should be able to utilise existing communication networks. Networking is very hot these days, and social networking within the Internet world even more so. Place your message succinctly into the correct networks to achieve your goal. If you really want something to go viral, you should try and take advantage of another network’s network. Construct great press releases and sew a seed in that particular area, for example.

As any good virtual assistance provider will explain, whatever product or service you’re using to initiate a viral marketing campaign, you must make sure that you have correctly implemented your back end operation. It’s no good giving something away for free or at reduced cost – creating a great viral marketing explosion, if it doesn’t lead you to significantly increase the sales of your keynote product or service. Many people have successfully initiated viral marketing exposure, but haven’t really benefited from it, as they didn’t have a clear overall strategy in place!

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