Some Basic Viral Marketing Principles

This post was written by Internet Marketing John on February 18, 2010
Posted Under: Viral Marketing Strategies

More and more businesses are adopting some basic viral marketing principals to gain their fair share in the market.

The Hotmail business model approach is a classic example of viral marketing.

This is how they accomplished it.

Hotmail’s marketing approach, was to just give away free web based email addresses, along with some of their other services.

Every message sent using a free Hotmail email address, was suffixed with a simple advertisement that reads: ‘ Get your private, free email at’

Following some basic viral marketing principals; the Hotmail subscribers used their service to send messages to their friends and associates, tagged with the advertisement and HTML link at the bottom of the message.

When their subscriber’s friends and associates read the message; they usually clicked on the Hotmail link at the bottom of the message and often subscribed to their service.

A continuous cycle is set up where the new subscribers to Hotmail, send messages to their associates, who in turn also sign up to Hotmail, and send messages to their friends and associates, who also sign up, and on it goes.

This is how one message has the potential to translate into thousands or millions of subscribers in a relatively short time, with little to no effort.

Here are some basic viral marketing principals to follow.

  • The most basic principle of viral marketing is to give away products or services.

Everyone wants something for free, even if they don’t need it.  Just using the word FREE, generates interest in even the most casual listener.

Selling cheap or inexpensive products also works, but giving away something for FREE will give you much faster results.   Giving away products for free, requires some patience before you actually see the results of your efforts but over time, it will generate income.

  • The transfer medium used to carry your marketing message to others must be easy to use.

The ease of communication the Internet provides is the reason viral marketing is so successful.  Using websites, emails, and software downloads are a few examples of how you can easily communicate your viral marketing message.

Use Hotmail’s viral marketing example and use short, straight to the point messages, that are easy to remember, copy, and transmit to your audience.

  • One of the basic viral marketing principals that is often overlooked, is to be prepared for phenomenal growth.

The viral marketing model creates rapid growth; and in the case of generating web traffic to your website, make sure your server is capable of handling an immediate surge in traffic.

If you take this for granted, you could lose potential customers to your website.  Visitors will leave your website if it takes a long time to load and if your host server crashes, they will never even get to visit your website.

  • Viral marketing strategies that exploit the motivation and behaviors of people for their transmission, usually work the best.

People love to be popular.   This motivates them to communicate with more and more other people.  When you exploit this behavior by including your viral message in people’s communications, your message is spread farther and faster.

  • Exploiting existing networks in viral marketing, will yield you much better results.

An average person has between 7 to 14 members in their network of friends, family, and associates.  People using the Internet create an even larger network of friends, family or associates.

When you learn how to exploit all of these networks; your viral marketing will explode!

  • Viral marketing doesn’t have to consume all your resources.

Use other websites or blogs to get your articles posted for free.  Use hosted sites like Ezine articles, Squidoo, Hub Pages, Blogger or WordPress, along with social sites like Twitter or Facebook to creatively transmit your viral marketing message.

When you adopt some basic viral marketing principals and apply them to your business and your products, you will see exactly how powerful viral marketing can be for yourself.

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