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Using Viral Marketing to Build Links

Viral Marketing is highly fashionable at the moment, and big brands all seem to want to jump on the band wagon. We’ve seen brilliant viral marketing from Blendtec and successful (if controversial) videos from Diesel. Not only do these create a loyal group of followers and help raise their brand awareness, but they also attract thousands of links as bloggers clamour to link to the unique and relevant content.

Creating viral campaigns just like the above examples is no easy feat. They require oodles of creativity and typically a not-so-insignificant budget as well. However, you can create a successful viral campaign without having to re-mortgage your house by following some simple rules:

  1. Make it interesting and give people a reason to spread it. People love telling others how clever they are and there is a reason why there are so many viral IQ quizzes around that are, shall we say, perhaps a little bit biased. Inflating people’s egos for any other reason works really well too.
  2. It needs to be easy to spread—no more than a few clicks to send to a friend. If it’s overly complicated and people have to “work” to spread it, it is bound to fail.
  3. Make it easy to embed links on Web sites. For example, you can embed links with the results of the quizzes.Or, you can incorporate a badge that bloggers can display on their site. On the other hand, if the viral “bait” was really good people would link to it naturally anyway.

It must be noted that viral marketing will fail if you don’t “seed” it by giving it the bump start it needs. Viral marketing needs people to spread it, so you need to get your clever campaign in front of as many eyeballs as possible at the beginning. There are hundreds of creative ways to get it going initially, but here are some of the top techniques used today:

  1. Contacting popular blogs and seeing if you can get a mention
  2. Getting it popular on a social network such as
  3. Buying advertising on a popular social network such as Facebook
  4. Mailing your entire list of contacts and hoping for the best (although this is my least favourite)

Viral marketing isn’t difficult, but as it becomes more popular it naturally becomes very competitive. Smart people are all vying for the same time and attention, particularly as standards increase and viral marketing becomes even more sensational and attention grabbing. That is, until people get really tired of it and marketers find something else to do.

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