Although there are questions as to where the term viral marketing really came from, it did rise in popularity in the mid to late 1990's. Viral marketing works just like a virus. One person reads a marketing message, “gets infected” by it and passes it onto another person. The better the message, the more it spreads. And the term viral marketing was born!
There are numerous methods and techniques for spreading your viral marketing message. The upsurge of social media marketing has brought viral marketing to new heights. But together with social media there are also more traditional ways to tackle viral marketing. Here are 10 suggestions on how you can easily initiate and drive your viral marketing campaign.
1. Free eBook – eBooks have been a very popular and effective means of viral marketing for quite some time. Compile a free PDF eBook using articles you have written, useful information, resources, etc., and start spreading that “virus”. Offer the eBook to your visitors free of charge. Write a message inside encouraging them to pass on the eBook to their visitors and you’re on your way. Submit the eBook to free eBook sites and directories. Add a link to the eBook in your email signature. Remember, the more superior the content of the eBook the more the “virus” will spread.
If you feel that you cannot write your own eBook, there are a lot of PLR (Private Label Rights) eBooks and those that can be re-branded which you can use to achieve the same results.
2. Newsletters - If you publish a newsletter, you can use that to increase your viral marketing. Make it easy for people to share it with others (eg. include Facebook and Twitter share links). Encourage your subscribers to forward a copy to their friends so they can subscribe. Offer an incentive to your subscribers who can get the most new people to subscribe.
3. Articles – Writing and submitting articles can be one of the most compelling viral marketing techniques. This will be most likely happen only if your article is well-written and contains helpful, useful information. Do not try to pass off a long sales pitch as an article. Submit your article to quality sites that allow visitors to reprint the article providing you are credited with writing the article and a link to your website remains with the article and include one click share links. If possible, thank the person for reprinting your article and let them know of any other articles you might have that may be of interest to them. Compile a list of newsletter publishers who accept article submissions. There are countless ways to spread your quality articles and “infect” many people.
4. Social Media – Social media provides a platform for you to take your viral marketing to new levels. Try to regularly participate in at least the top two social sites (Facebook and Twitter). You may also like to join Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) as this site has become hugely popular and yet another way to “spread your virus”
5. Blogging – Blogging is a form of social media marketing and can do wonders for your viral marketing. A quality blog can pull in many readers on a regular basis. Make it easy for your readers to interact with comments and opinions. Update your content consistently and always respond to reader comments for more success.
6. Tell-A-Friend - A free tell-a-friend script is a handy thing to have on your site or blog. It allows people to send a link to your webpage to anyone they think would be interested hence boosting your viral marketing. The easier it is for people to share your message the more your virus will spread.
7. Social Media Share Buttons – These highly effective buttons allow your visitors to easily share your blog, site or information with all their social media followers and friends. Talk to us and we can add Share Buttons to your website.
8. Videos – More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month and watch YouTube videos, so getting your marketing video visible to this massive audience has to boost your viral marketing. You can also post video clips on your website with an articulate marketing message or demonstration and then make it easy for people to pass on your video to their friends and followers.
9. Word-of-Mouth – Word of mouth is one of the oldest forms of viral marketing. It was around long before the Internet was ever dreamed of. It is also one of the most effective because people are passing on your message to people they know and their opinion is probably taken with more esteem and significance. It can also be more difficult because it requires people to take a more involved action than clicking a button. Make your customers feel happy and satisfied and they will spread the word (or “virus”).
10. Email - Email is one of the more traditional online viral marketing methods. How many times have you received emails that have been forwarded to you by people you don’t even know? That is the power of viral. Don’t be afraid to ask people to forward your emails to everyone they know. Sending out emails of value, quality and usefulness can really go viral!
The power of viral marketing is unlimited but your marketing “virus” needs to be unique, useful, entertaining and powerful. People will not spread something that is not worth spreading. Study marketing tactics of other companies but try to develop your own unique idea or twist on an old idea, that no one else has used before. Be original!
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