Viral Marketing Strategies

One of the most time consuming aspects of online marketing is finding the most effective strategies to attract visitors to your web site. If you set up a viral marketing campaign correctly, you have the opportunity of gaining 1000s of visitors for years to come.

Definition of viral marketing

This is the online term for word-of-mouth advertising. You provide something that encourages others to spread the word about your product, quickly and inexpensively with little effort on your part. This potentially creates exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect. The message spreads in a viral form in a manner similar to the spreading of a common cold virus from person to person.

One example of successful viral marketing is Hotmail, which began offering free e-mail accounts, with a link back to Hot Mail at the end of every e-mail message sent by one of its customers. That spread the word about the service like a virus, with every customer a virtual “carrier” of the message.

Benefits of Viral Marketing

1. Free advertising

2. Short term gains – gain immediate visitors.

3. Long term gains – attracts visitors for years to come.

4. Causes exponential growth – reaches a large audience.

5. Automate your marketing methods – set it up once and forget about it.

6. Inexpensive to set-up – it primarily involves some investment of time.

7. Viral marketing tools are easy to develop i.e. you can create an e-book without knowing how to write.

8. Quickly build your reputation.

9. Easy to combine with other marketing methods – i.e. include as a bonus with other products.

10. Increase targeted traffic to your web site.

Viral Marketing Strategies

1. Write articles – allow people to reprint your articles on their web site, in their ezine, newsletter, magazine or e-books. Include your resource box and the option for article reprints at the bottom of each article. Make sure that the link in your resource box is live so that all people that use your article will link back to your site.

2. Create a free e-Book – give your e-book away to your visitors and other editors or webmasters within your target market. Encourage them to pass it on. Insert ezine subscription links or affiliate links to the products throughout your e-book. Subscriptions to your newsletter will increase in proportion to the number of places your e-book is placed.

3. Set up an affiliate programaffiliate programs provide a financial incentive for other sites to link to yours. Make sure your commission is enough to make this attractive to web site owners. As the number of affiliates increases, so do your visitors and sales.

4. Getting sites to link to your site – you can receive ongoing traffic from other sites by asking them to link to yours. If it’s a site that already has lots of traffic, you will see an immediate increase in traffic to your own site. Only contact site owners who have products that compliment the products on your site.

5. Send out news releases – create a free service or product that is available on your site. The most important aspect is to have a truly newsworthy event, contest, free service, or digital download. If your news release is carried by just 5% of the media you send it to, you could have your URL in front of tens of thousands of readers quite inexpensively.

6. Viral software – offering a free download of a script, e-book, calendar, etc is an effective method for gaining new subscribers to your ezine. You can also market your product by including your logo or marketing message with your download.

7. Create an e-course – give your visitor numerous chances to respond to your offer by creating an email course or courses. You accomplish this by writing a series of small articles outlining the benefits of your product, then distribute them automatically over several days or weeks with an auto responder. This can be set up automatically for the product or ezine you are promoting.

8. RSS Feeds – this is a relatively new viral marketing method. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. It was originally used by news organizations to syndicate their news stories. RSS Feeds are now used to automatically distribute content to blogs. They can also be used to distribute articles to web site owners and ezine publishers throughout the web.


Using these viral marketing strategies will help boost your web presence, by rapidly increasing web traffic, gaining more links and building your reputation as an expert in your field.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of
Affordable Web Site Design and Web Hosting.

Read more of his in-depth articles at:

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