Although there is a debate as to when the term viral marketing really originated, it did rise in popularity in the mid to late 90′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 is born!

There are many methods and techniques for spreading your viral marketing message. The explosion of social media marketing has brought viral marketing to new heights. But along with social media there are also more traditional ways to spread your marketing virus. Below are ten totally doable ways to launch and propel 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 for free. Write a message inside encouraging them to give the eBook to their visitors and so on and so on. Submit the eBook to free eBook sites and directories. Add a link to the eBook in your email sigtag. The better 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 and rebrandable eBooks you could 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. Encourage your subscribers to forward a copy to their friends so they can subscribe. Offer a free gift to the subscribers who can get the most people to subscribe.

3. Articles – Writing and submitting articles can be one of the most powerful 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 with your resource box. Add a Send to a Friend link in your resource box. When possible, thank the person for reprinting your article and let them know of any other articles you might have. 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 has the capabilities of expanding your viral marketing to new heights. Try to regularly participate in at least the top three social sites which are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A newcomer that is rising in popularity very fast is Pinterest so I would recommend starting with that one as well. When used effectively, these social media sites allow you to spread your virus in ways that were not before possible.

5. Blogging – Blogging is a form of social media marketing and can do wonders for your viral marketing. A quality blog will 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 your webpage to anyone they think would be interested thus launching 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. You can find many options for free that have these buttons for many of the social media sites. The first site to come up for some of these options is ShareThis.

8. Videos – Over two million people watch YouTube videos each day so getting your marketing video visible to this massive audience will pump up your viral marketing. You can also post video clips on your site with a well-spoken marketing message or demonstration. 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 approval and consideration. 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 just might cause a widespread infection!

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 of an old idea, that no one else has used before. Develop a new virus for which there is no cure!

By Terri Seymour (c) 2012