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Viral Marketing! Are You Missing Out?

By Alec Duncan
Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Many of you are reading this article because you would like to further promote your Internet business and are looking for new ways in which to do this. You have read lots of articles covering various Internet Marketing techniques and are still looking for the "Holy Grail" strategy that will take your website to a higher level. After all, others are achieving this so why shouldn't you.

Here, I will describe a technique that, with some creativity and effort, can significantly boost your promotion efforts while at the same time setting it on autopilot. Is this the "Holy Grail"? For some it has been but like everything else it all depends on you.

"Less Work, Greater Results"

If this sounds good to you then do read on.

Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing is the creation of a message that gets passed on from person to person(s). It gives each recipient the ability to pass on your message to even more people with little or no effort. This is the strategy that helped make Hotmail what they are today. Each Hotmail user passed Hotmail's message on to everyone that they emailed and it spread like wildfire.

Ok so we know Hotmail did it and at a time when it seemed there was more opportunity for this. Not true. Companies are still doing it and it is still working and it will never end. Some of the top websites today are using it and you are being exposed to it without even realizing it.

"Ok so I know what it can do but how do I do it?".

Your Viral Marketing Strategy

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

What is it that my target market would love to get for free?

This question is easily answered with a little research. One obvious ways to determine what works is by seeing what works improving it. Visit your competitors' sites and see if they are using any viral strategies and see if you can improve on this. If you have a creative mind or have access to a creative mind then it would be good to start something fairly unique to get a solid foothold on the market share. People are always looking for cool new things and love to talk about them when they get them so this would be a definite advantage.

How can I provide this for them?

This would depend on what you decide to offer. It could be something you pay a small price for as well as something you create. It doesn't have to be something highly technical or expensive, just something people will enjoy or find useful.

For sake of simplicity let's use a common example of this. Well written articles that identify with the reader's problems and explains to them ways in which to solve it. This can be a great form of viral marketing.

There are so many articles written and published daily and the majority of these do not take advantage of viral marketing. Some authors just don't know about it and some just don't care. For those of you who care, one way you could make your articles viral is to add permission for others to reprint your articles in your author bio. Other webmasters that are interested in your content will simply grab the article and publish it on their site. Quick and easy! People love that.

If you would prefer them coming to your site first then you could have it additionally say something like this "To publish this article on your site see our guidelines" with guidelines linking to your site. You can also use the landing page from this to let them know about other articles you have written that are free to be published.

How can I make this work virally?

Not to worry it already has. With each webmaster that publishes your article, for example, the potential that your article will be published by other sites that visit his site have just significantly increased. So now they promote your article then someone gets it from their site and they promote it and so on.

"Ok now I have my article on lots of OTHER sites, how does this help me?"

There are many benefits to viral marketing. One obvious one is traffic. Depending on what your article is about you can inform the reader that if they would like more information on the topic or an aspect of the topic that they can get this at your site.

Another benefit is link building. With your article spreading across the Internet you now have more and more inbound links to your site. You can add keyword rich titles in these which will help with your search engine rankings. You are not only able to link to your homepage but also to inner pages depending on how your article was written. Some authors overload their articles with links pointing to their site(s) but this technique is often frowned upon by publishers. Be smart about it. Envision yourself as the reader and use that to guide you in your writing.


Though I have only touched upon one example of viral marketing there are many more ways to implement this with the only limit being your imagination. You don't need to implement them one at a time. You can have several viral marketing systems working for you at the same time with similar or different goals.

One thing you must avoid is reading this, thinking it sounds good and not trying it. One of the main reasons something won't work is not giving it a chance in the first place. So to your list of marketing strategies add "Go Viral" and reap the benefits.

About The Author
Alec Duncan is the founder of Li'l Engine a Search Engine Optimization resource. Visit Li'l Engine for great SEO Tools and Internet Marketing strategies and also check out Developer Tutorials for web development tutorials.


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