Viral marketing is easily the most explosive method for promoting your brand or one of your products using the internet. In short, viral marketing is similar to word to mouth marketing in that it involves your marketing message being spread by your customers telling people who they know about your offer. However, with viral marketing, you can explode interest in your offer through people who have never bought your products and who might never become your customers. Viral marketing is the strategy that made Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, and many other platforms on the internet VERY popular and successful.

A prime example of this Hotmail who offered free email service and added an offer at the bottom of each email for the recipient to sign up for a free Hotmail account. This created the impression that those using the Hotmail service were advocates. Also, since the offer was free, there was no impression that the users were being marketed to. This is what caused Hotmail to explode in popularity within a VERY short time period...this is the power of viral marketing.

In this article, we’ll be covering six principles of using the power of viral marketing to build your email subscriber list and promote your company website…

Viral Marketing Step #1: Prepare for Growth

Before you launch a viral marketing campaign, you must be ready for explosive growth and visitors to your website. This means checking to make sure that your web hosting account can handle a high volume of traffic and that your merchant account is ready for a sudden spike in sales. Many marketers have had their merchant accounts shut down due to a sudden increase in sales and had a hard time getting them back up and running again. Your viral marketing campaign might be a very big success, and it would be a shame if you weren’t prepared to handle the fulfillment side of it.

Viral Marketing Step #2: Capturing Contact information is the Key

There are several methods you can use to spread your marketing message, but it’s important that you have an objective before you start spreading the message. The best objective when it comes to a viral marketing campaign is to capture contact information. In fact, collecting emails is a much more effective means of viral marketing than making sales is. This is because, with viral marketing, your message will be getting to a lot of people who might have never heard of you before and who will be much less likely to spend money than they will be to submit their contact information.

Once you collect the emails, you have the opportunity to market to them and build a relationship so that you can convert your email subscribers into paying customers.

Viral Marketing Step #3: A Message With a Free Offer

Once you have an objective for attracting new prospects and you’re prepared for explosive growth, you need to offer something in exchange for capturing people’s email or contact information. The offer can be a free white paper, a free E-book, or a free report of some kind. However, since you’ll be asking people to submit their email address, it’s a good idea to have an offer which you can send them via email. This will eliminate the “Why is this person asking for my email?” skepticism and help you to capture more qualified email addresses.

A good approach is giving away something free right away AND offering valuable content in the form of follow-up emails. Once you have an attractive free offer ready to go, it’s time to start getting your prospects to help you spread the word. Here is an example.

Viral Marketing Step #4: Offer an Incentive for Spreading the Word

This is where the power of viral marketing really shines. Within your free Ebook, free report, or free email mini-course, include a “refer a friend” invitation where your new subscriber can input the emails of some of their friends who they think might be interested in your free offer. Offer a reward to the person who does the inviting, which can be another free Ebook or report of some kind or even a free piece of software. Of course, you’ll need a program that automatically emails your offer to their friends and which is set up to reward the person for inviting people. Some tools which accomplish this are Viral Friend Generator, OmnistarTellTell a Friend Pro.

By having an incentive to your customers who are doing the inviting AND to the new invitees, you’ll have a powerful viral marketing machine that will run with little or no intervention from you. Just a few more things to do then…

Viral Marketing Step #5: Deliver Your Message with Multiple Forms of Media

Once you have your automated viral marketing system set up, it’s time to start attracting traffic to your offer page. A great way to do this is with multiple forms of media such as videos, articles, press releases, and podcasts. This might sound like a lot of work, but you can deliver one message by creating a video and have that content used to create articles and press releases that promote your offer. In this message, you’ll want to offer your free mini-course which will encourage people to subscribe to your email list.

After this is complete, the next step would be to immediately make another offer to your new subscriber in return for them inviting friends to take advantage of your free opt-in offer. You can include this offer on the thank you page, this way you can get your new subscriber to send out invitations when their interest is at its peak.

Viral Marketing Step #6: Explode Your Viral Marketing Campaign With a Contest

Once you have the first five steps in place, you can really explode your viral marketing campaign with a contest. In other words, offer a great prize to the subscriber who invites the most people to take advantage of your free offer. Don’t be afraid to make an investment in this prize, because the better it is the more effective your viral marketing campaign will be. It might also be a good idea to offer a prize for those who invite the second and third most people. Again, Viral Friend Generator, OmnistarTellTell a Friend Pro all have the capability of setting up contests and offering a prize to the subscribers who invite the most friends.

This simple process can help you to set up a viral marketing campaign that will generate a lot of interesting leads for your business. Best yet, you can repeat this campaign over and over as long as you’re attracting qualified customers and effectively monetizing your subscriber list.