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Effective Viral Marketing Techniques


Viral Marketing Techniques

What is Viral Marketing?

Basically, viral marketing is Internet word-of-mouth advertising, and word-of-mouth advertising is, without doubt, the most effective method of advertising there is, online or offline.

Viral marketing is present in many forms including articles, videos, e-books, software, reports, interactive flash games, white papers, text messages and tweets.

The term "viral marketing" was first used in 1997 to explain the extraordinary growth of Hotmail which amassed over 8 million users in an astounding 18 months. Hotmail was subsequently acquired by Microsoft in 1997 for an estimated US$400 million.

So, what was Hotmail's viral marketing success secret?
In fact, it wasn't a secret at all - it was a linked, single line of text in the footer of each and every e-mail that was sent from a Hotmail account that read:

"Sent from my free Hotmail account. Get your own free web-based email account Here!"

Word-of-Mouth Advertising

We've all recommended products and services we liked or were pleased with to family, friends and associates, and a good example of this is favourable movie and restaurant reviews – many of us decide what movie to see or what restaurant to dine at based on the reviews.

Social media has made word-of-mouth advertising even more effective. Studies confirm that people on social media networks enthusiastically recommend companies and purchase products from businesses they follow. Among active Twitter users who follow at least one company, 59 percent are more likely to recommend a company they follow, and 58 percent are more likely to purchase a product they follow.

In addition, 60 percent are at least somewhat likely to take action when a friend posts something about a product/service, company or brand.

Opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted method of advertising with 70 percent trusting consumer opinions posted online, according to a recent Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries.

How to Implement a Viral Marketing Strategy

In order for something to become viral - meaning, spread swiftly like a virus it has to be something that can easily be sent to others with little effort. The Hotmail text link mentioned is a perfect example of something requiring little effort to pass along. Recipients simply had to click on a link.

It should also be something that "stands out" from the rest of the content on the Internet.

Finally, it should have some sort of perceived value – not necessarily a monetary value, but it should have some sort of educational or entertainment value.

Following are 6 highly effective viral marketing methods, most of which we have discussed in previous newsletters, that should be part of your overall marketing strategy:

1. Videos. Upload an interesting, educational and/or entertaining video to YouTube or another other video-share site that will appeal to viewers and anything is possible – remember this is how Justin Bieber was discovered!

To learn how you can use videos to market your business even if you don't have a camera or are too shy, check out this YouTube tutorial -

2. Social Media. Although Hotmail achieved viral marketing success before the arrival of social media, it is hard to imagine a business having that same level of success today without participating in social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others. In other words, social media marketing, if implemented properly, can put your viral marketing efforts into top gear!

3. Article Marketing. If you write articles and allow them to be syndicated, it is quite possible that one or more of your articles could go viral - provided, of course, they are well-written, interesting, educational and/or entertaining and offer good value.

After you write your articles, you can significantly increase the reach of your content by converting them into videos, using conversion software. Just do a search “convert article to video” for numerous options.

4. Share Widgets. An good example is the Twitter widget which allows users to post a tweet to their Twitter profile from any website. How does it work? Tweets posted using the Tweet Button are pre-populated with a shortened link to the webpage from which the message was sent (if you read this newsletter online you can check out how our Twitter Share button works). Users have the option of customising the content of the tweet before posting it. This is an excellent way to give visitors to your site the ability to spread your content via Twitter. See this month’s special offer above and get a Twitter Share button on your listing for just $5 + GST!

5. E-Books. E-Books have long been one of the most effective methods of viral marketing because they are easy to produce and have the ability to reach a large audience. If your e-book contains content that is interesting, entertaining and/or educational and offers good value, readers will enthusiastically pass it along to others.

If writing is not your forte, re-brandable e-books (e-books written by others) gives you the ability to accomplish the same thing via affiliate programmes. Simply re-brand the e-books, and give them away or sell them. You will then make commission on back-end sales from your affiliate links within the books.  One site with information on how to do this can be found at

6. Newsletters. Newsletters are not only an excellent way to keep the name of your business in front your subscribers, they also have excellent viral potential. Readers can be encouraged to pass on your newsletter by email, or with widget links share links to social network websites. If you don’t have the expertise to create your own newsletter, you can create a newsletter quickly, easily and either free or inexpensively through services like and

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