Wikipedia defines viral marketing as a technique that uses pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in awareness through self-replicating viral processes. Basically it is marketing that appears to work much the same as a cold virus, spreading from person to person explosively.
The best part is that you can take advantage of this marketing technique without expensive software or technological expertise. Here are 6 techniques that will start a viral storm of traffic to your site, if you use them properly.
1. Give away information to your customers and include back links to your site. You can post these books or special reports on ebook directories, give away sites and use JV partners to give to their list. Encourage people to pass the information along to their friends who have an interest in the topic. If your information is accurate and helpful you'll find many people be passing the book to friends.
2. You can use a Tell-A-Friend script on your site. Essentially you give your customer and visitors a way to easily share your website. Depending upon your market you may find that offering an incentive to tell a friend or two will encourage more traffic. Incentives can be free information that is delivered directly after the tell-a-friend script has been executed. Assure your readers that you do not collect email addresses when they enter their friend's address. They are not opting their friend into your ezine.
3. Do you get funny video clips from friends and family? This is viral marketing. Although the clip may not be selling anything the concept of passing from person to person is viral. Now, putting your imagination to work, can you create an idea around your niche that would be interesting? Something that would be passed from person to person? All you need is a digital camera. Videos without the professional 'feel' lend themselves to authenticity. You only have to look at the popularity of reality TV to realize how much people like 'peeking' in on the lives of others.
4. Are you trying to get your information out to your public quickly? You can generate an Internet Press Release to draw in your readers. This is a method that can have far reaching effects when done with creativity and panache. Bring your readers to your page and send them out with a video or ebook to share with their friends.
5. Undercover marketing, done well, can be fun and intriguing. You create a mystery surrounding your niche. There are questions, mystique, a potential for danger and people keep coming back for more. It becomes fun and interesting. Your readers keep coming back for more and sending their friends to figure out the mystery. Yanik Silver has been doing this for sometime with his Underground Marketing Seminar. He doesn't release the name of several of the speakers, the attendees are undercover agents and the information is highly confidential. The whole event is cloaked in mystery.
6. Social network sites are here to stay. They often evolve around a particular topic. MySpace, the most popular network site, is a general forum where people discuss anything from monkeys to marriage. The information on these sites is searchable. You can easily develop a list of people interested in your topic or niche and release funny exciting information that they are encouraged to pass along to their friends.
7. Buzz marketing is creating a 'buzz' about a particular subject, video, website or writing. In 2001 Morgan Westerman discovered a poem in the public domain that he published to the Internet. It was a feel good poem that people started passing from friend to friend. Then the Twin Towers collapsed and people in the U.S. started searching for answers and encouragement. An Interview With God blossomed into a mega-hit. As he realized how much more traffic his site was receiving Mr. Westerman redesigned, added music and graphics. Later he sold screen savers, cards and inspirational books. This was a matter of pure chance. Mr. Westerman did not anticipate 9/11 but he was able to rethink his use of that public domain poem and has created an industry unique unto itself.
These were seven of the low technology techniques you can use to start a viral storm of traffic. They are easy to learn and to develop. Use them to your advantage!