Using Viral Marketing to Your Advantage

Viral marketing is a marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass on a marketing message. This method of marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients pass along the message to a large group of friends, the overall growth will snowball very quickly. If this doesn’t happen, however, the growth of the campaign fizzles quickly. One way to think of this is a marketing “virus.” Hotmail is widely considered to be the first example of viral marketing.

Terms used for this type of marketing when not on the Internet are: “word of mouth,” “creating a buzz,” “leveraging the media,” and “network marketing.” However, on the Internet, it is simply referred to as “viral marketing.”

Not all viral marketing strategies will work, but there are six basic elements that you want to try to include in your marketing strategy. Your viral marketing strategy doesn’t have to include all of these elements, but the more elements that it contains, the more effective your marketing strategy will be. These six strategies are as follows:

1. Give Away Products or Services: “Free” is the most powerful marketing word that you can use. Discounts will help, but free will really grab some attention. For example, if you have a software product, give away a minimal functional version in order to entice them to buy the full featured program. Free will generate traffic, and that will get more people looking at your products that you are selling.

2. Provides for Effortless Transfer to Others: Viral marketing messages work best when they are easy to transmit to others. On the Internet, this works well because instant communications are so simple. You need to simplify your message so it can be sent easily and without it degrading. Patience is short, so keep the message short. People won’t read a multiple page document that they didn’t ask for, but a couple of paragraphs, or better yet, a short amusing video, will be read.

3. Scales Easily from Small to Very Large: Scalability is essential. As the reach of your message grows, the last thing you need is for a large number of hits to take down not only your web site but the server your web site is located. There was a small mom and pop candle company here that used one of those limited free hosting sites that was featured in a local paper. Within hours, their site was down from too much traffic and they lost thousands of potential sales.

4. Exploits Common Motivations and Behaviors: Clever marketing campaigns will take advantage of common human motivations. If you build a marketing campaign that is based on common human motivations and behaviors for its transmission, and the campaign will be a winner.

5. Utilize Existing Communication Networks: On average, each person will have a network of eight to twelve close friends, family, and associates. Their broader network will be much larger. If you learn to place your message into these existing communications links between people, you will greatly increase your message’s reach.

6. Takes Advantage of Others’ Resources: The most creative campaigns will use the resources of other networks. Affiliate programs will place ads on other websites. Authors may give away articles in order to position themselves on other websites. News releases can be picked up by many other websites.

As you can see, if you use marketing to create a “buzz,” your service or products will sell themselves. Here at, we are here to help you be profitable. We aren’t successful unless you are.

Roy Randolph
Head Hostmaster

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