Getting Customers

What every entrepreneur should know about viral marketing

You purchase an item or avail a service and you like it. So the next time you meet up with friends or family, you are bound to mention it and directly or indirectly recommend it. And after hearing your positive feedback, your friend or friends buy the product or avail the service. This way you successfully advertise the product or service through word of mouth publicity and the business gets promoted without spending a penny.

This is the very idea behind viral marketing.

What is viral marketing? Viral marketing is an advertising strategy that entices people to pass on a marketing message to their relatives and friends. It’s called viral as it is similar to the epidemic that can spread at an exponential rate, once an individual gets ‘infected’ or in this case satisfied with a product or service.

The concept itself is not very new. The idea of passing along a message has been around for a very long time, in fact for centuries. It’s just that there was no specific term to describe it till 1997, when Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist came up with the term ‘viral marketing’ to describe Hotmail‘s marketing practice then.

Hotmail‘s practice was to append an advertisement of itself on each message that was sent using their service. In case the recipient got interested and clicked on the ad, then it would lead him to the Hotmail‘s website for a sign up. This went on and the growth was similar to that of an exponential curve.

Types of viral marketing:

Pass-along viral marketing

This is the most common type of viral marketing. Web sites that ask their users to ‘tell a friend’ about their products and services is an example of pass-along messaging. However, there is a risk of the message being labeled as ‘spam’ by email providers. Thus, it is important that the ‘from’ and ‘subject’ lines do not contain any word that may be tagged as spam.

Incentivized viral marketing

It’s a marketing technique used by companies in which users are offered rewards when they refer somebody to the company. This becomes effective when the referred person takes action, only then are the rewards given.

Undercover Viral marketing

This is the most difficult viral to spot. Undercover marketing sends a viral message that is disguised as an unusual page or piece of news without obvious link citations.

Edgy gossip or buzz marketing

Buzz marketing is the most common in the entertainment world. A good example is the spread of different controversies, like getting married or divorced, involving stars of a movie that is yet to be released. This is like a word-of-mouth advertising for the movie.

How Viral Marketing Campaigns are Shared or Transferred


When people forward messages such as inspirational messages, jokes, funny clips and pictures that advertise a certain product or service.

Instant Messaging

People who receive links from friends through instant messaging servers like Yahoo or MSN are more likely to check them out because of the notion of urgency from the sender.

Web sites

Most of the articles now published online have a link that says ‘Send to a friend’. This is one way to make the article reach many people by just posting it in on the site.

Word of mouth

Of course, word of mouth is the traditional way of passing on a message from one person to another and most of the time, the most reliable method too.

As seen above, there are ‘n’ ways to do viral marketing. But there are also inherent risks such as being labeled ‘spam’. As a lot of companies are using this method and promoting their products through email, the email providers have proactively created filters to separate potential spam from the trusted mails.

Another problem could be the size and format of the viral message. If the content is a video clip, its reach may be limited because of the size limitations of most of the email providers. Media format is another feature to be considered as not all recipients of the message may have the right application to open the file.

However, despite these constraints, businesses are already adopting viral marketing as one of the preferred marketing strategies. In fact, it is said to dramatically increase revenues by reaching out to a huge target market without having to spend a big chunk of money on advertisements. Viral marketing is bound to be quite effective, especially on the World Wide Web.

Entrepreneurial Learning

Viral marketing is spreading the word in the market like a virus. As the virus spreads form one computer to another, viral marketing is to spread the word about a product or company from one person to another. There are different kinds of viral marketing one can use. Check which suits you the most and apply it at the earliest.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

Growing a Business

Want Great Guidance ? Find yourself a Super Mentor


They are the gods of small businesses, those inspired individuals who have achieved the highest levels of success. They can be the shining beacons who light up the path of running your business with their vision, wisdom and wealth of resources and contacts. They are The Mentors.

If you are fired with the passion to take your business to great heights, the best thing to do is find yourself a super mentor. Here are some tips to help in your quest

Pinpoint your Need

Sit down and focus your thoughts on your business growth strategy. Which area of the business needs a lift. Is is staffing, is it the finances, is it the production, is it the your lack of customers or is it the business as a whole that needs a makeover. Once you’ve zoomed in on the sore spot, this is where you need…

Read More
Growing a Business

Dreaming Big? You can Move Mountains with these Business Productivty Tips


You may be full of admiration for some people who seem to manage themselves and their work so usefully and efficiently. They seem to fit in so much productive work into the same number of hours which everyone has.. Let’s look what makes them tick and take a few tips.

Learn to identify your most productive hours

Its true, most productive people know which time of the day they can be most creative and efficient. They identify and allot these hours for the best part of their work. This way they are able to give their 100% awareness to the job and business productivity.

Early to rise- A winning habit

Waking up early is a personal habit that has all the plusses on its side. You need not necessarily go to work that early. It’s a habit that gives you more time for personal care, like mediation, exercise, walking,…

Read More
Growing a Business

Leadership Qualities that can make you an Icon


You may have reached the leadership position through sheer dedication to performance and a do or die attitude . Now that you are at the top, your viewpoint needs to change. You have to now be a role model, one whom others will look up to and follow. Here are some tips that can shape your leadership and management skills

Be Competent: Employees will look up to a leader who has good industry knowledge and management skills. If you do not possess these skills you should surround yourself with knowledgeable people who can offer good counsel. Competence is a trait all employees will admire.

Be Trustworthy: No one will look up to a person they cannot trust. Your employees will want to rely on you and count on you. In difficult situations, leaders are expected to apprise their employees of the situations and find solutions on how to address…

Read More
Raising Money

Are You offering Your Services Using the Right Pricing Strategies?


In these times of fierce competition, business people , mostly those that offer services and belong to the service based industry, are finding it a challenge to implement the right pricing strategies. It is virtually a struggle to set the right business price that will retain and attract the customers, and not drive them away. Follow these tips, the crucial dos and don’t s and you may be in a much better position to offer your services at the best price.

Maintain your Business identity and Dignity

If you are offering a unique or special product or service, don’t underrate it just because you want to build a better relationship with the customer. This will just cheapen your offering as another run of the mill. If its something special you are offering the customer, then communicate this fact to the client and get the equation right with the most…

Read More
Raising Money

What is a Fair Wage? How Do you Assess Fair Wage?


How do you figure out a fair wage?

This is a very common question for startups and small businesses. They can’t seem to decide or understand how to set wages and manage reputations at a time. They are determined to pay well but they also have to think about encouraging their employees to stay with them for a long time. This is why there is a need to think strategically.

Listed below are a few expert tips to help you decide:

Don’t Focus Only on Money

Money should never be the main focus for you or for your employees. You should decide on the wages in such a way that your employees are tied to your business. When your business does well they should be able to taste that success and vice versa.

Also, think about additional perks such as exclusive benefits and time off. Many employees value this more than the overall…

Read More
Raising Money

Tips to Winning Hard Negotiations With Ease


While some negotiations are easy, others are quite hard to win. If you stumble you will lose.

Whether it is a potential client or an investor, negotiations can be very tough and frustrating. The problem is that the moment you let your frustration overwhelm you, you will lose the deal and you will give in to whatever is being offered to you. In order to avoid that, here are tips to overcome tough times and to win even the hard negotiations:


Know your opponent as well as possible. This is the rule no matter what you do. You should understand your opponent to the T. Who the person is, what his culture is, what he thinks, what he stands for, how is his network, etc. are the questions you should ask yourself and answer through research before meeting up for the negotiation. Understanding the opponent will give you a great advantage.


Read More