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Email Marketing by the Numbers: How to Use the World’s Greatest Marketing Tool to Take Any Organization to the Next Level by Ali Sales, Chris Baggott

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Chapter 8. The Role of Email in Viral and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Many people see or hear the term viral marketing and automatically cringe. You’re probably brainstorming prevention methods—maybe a vaccine, plenty of fluids, and lots of rest will do the trick?

The truth is that both word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) and viral marketing can have positive effects on your business. Trust me, you want viral marketing. Yes, it’s contagious, but in a good way. It’s one of the most powerful means for encouraging individuals to pass your message on. Consider the fact that your audience is twice as likely to react to a message coming from a trusted source, such as a friend. One day as I sat here writing this, I saw an article come through from MediaPost concluding that mothers feel disconnected from the way most marketers portray them, and 67 percent of them would rather talk to a peer than hear from a celebrity. That means a surprise visit from your neighbor with brown teeth (who also happens to be a mother) could be more likely to convince you to switch to Colgate toothpaste than Brooke Shields. That’s a big deal.

Many people wonder if viral marketing and WOM marketing are the same as buzz marketing. In my opinion, buzz marketing is about making an impression and getting people to talk about you. (Note: buzz can be both negative and positive.)

I would describe WOM and viral marketing as ways to compel your constituents to take a positive action that compels their peers to take action as ...

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