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Viral Marketing – The Basics

It is normal to be confused when you first hear the term “viral marketing.” Images of trojan horses and computer worms may come to mind. You’ll be relieved to know that “viral marketing” has nothing to do with computer viruses. It is, in fact, a term to describe marketing your business with things that can get passed around the Internet, such as eBooks, podcasts, forwarded emails, etc.

Viral marketing can be very cost-effective and easy to implement, when used correctly. To get started, take a moment and think about your target market and what they would find helpful. To get the most out of your viral marketing efforts, try to create something that your target market would enjoy so much they would want to share it with their friends. Hopefully, the people they share it with will also share it with their friends, and so forth. The more your item gets passed around, the more your name gets passed around, too.

For example, if you sell food related items, you could create a special report on creating gift baskets. On the cover page, as well as the last page of your report, you could include your logo and website address. You could also use this same report as a “freebie” to encourage sign-ups for your newsletter. Once people sign up for your newsletter, you can send them a link that will allow them to download the special report. You can let them know that they can forward the report to family and friends.

The key is to keep everything very helpful and light. If you created something that was blatantly advertising your business, some people would get really annoyed and automatically disregard the product. And that basically defeats the whole process of vial marketing.

Some other viral marketing ideas are as follows:

  • Ecourse: An Ecourse is similar to a special report, except that it is broken down into several days and each day a new “lesson” is delivered to the subscribers’ email. These can work great as they allow you to contact a person several times and offer them something different each time contact is made.
  • Ebook: An Ebook is longer than a special report, and it is something you could potentially charge people money for. However, if you want to use it as a promotional item, it can definitely work very well.
  • Top 10 List: Some people do not have time to read an eBook and just want the “Cliff Notes” of a particular topic. A Top 10 list can serve this purpose. For example, depending on whom your target market is and what type of products you sell, you could create list of secret ways to save money on your next vacation or tips on how to get baby to sleep through the night.

Crissy Herron


Crissy Herron is the founder of Indie Biz Chicks. She is the self-described "World's Best Aunt," loves Motion City Soundtrack, is awesome in the kitchen, and is a proud resident of The Mitten State. (that's Michigan, by the way.) And, oh yeah, she used to live in Alaska. (she likes the cold.)

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