Pass-It-On Viral Marketing

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When we find a great resource, a funny video, or a cool app, we usually forward it to our colleagues or friends who we know will be interested in it. This old “they tell two friends and they in turn tell two friends” formula works very effectively online to enable you (with the right content) to reach a large segment of your target market.

For this type of viral marketing to be successful, you have to start with great content that recipients will want to share with others. It can take many forms:


Application, often referred to as an app—A fun or useful software program.

  • Apps
  • Ebooks
  • Fun videos
  • Checklists
  • Podcasts
  • Articles.

The pass-it-on viral marketing methodology works best using small files that can easily be spread around.

EBooks and iBrochures

Ebooks and iBrochures are very big these days. If you have great content, an ebook or iBrochure can do wonders to create great exposure for you, your site, and your products and services. Ensure that you have clear references to yourself and links to your Web site or social media accounts that provide a reason for people to click through. You might provide additional resources on your site or encourage people to visit for copies of other ebooks or iBrochures you have developed. Then market, market, market. Encourage e-zine and newsletter providers to send a copy to their subscribers, and promote it through your sig file, in newsgroups, and in publicly accessible mail lists.

Fun Videos

Nothing seems to spread faster on the Web than funny video clips. We’ve all seen the bear taking salmon from the fisherman. Sometimes these video clips are cartoons, seen one slide at a time with embedded audio, and other times they
seem to be full-scale productions. Savvy marketers are developing very innovative videos that incorporate their brand, their destination, or their products, with the objective of having a winner that will be passed on many times.


If you have a checklist that others might find useful, why not include links to your site in it and then provide it to your target market for use? For example, you might have a great checklist for retirement planning, meeting planning,
wedding planning, or cruise planning. Think about your target market and what they might find useful. Always remember to encourage them to pass it on through viral marketing.

Podcasts, MP3s, or Audiozines

Today’s technology enables you to very quickly and easily forward podcasts, sound bytes, MP3s, or audiozines. As long as the content is relevant, pertinent, and of value to your target market or people in the industry you serve, people will pass it on.


Writing articles that can be distributed as content for newsletters or e-zines is another form of viral marketing. Submit these articles to syndication sites so that they can be distributed to other sites to be used as Web site content. Just
make sure that you have clearly stated that others are free to use your article as long as they include it in its entirety verbatim and include the Source box. The article should contain links to your site. The Source box should include
information on you, your company, and your Web site.

You should track your viral marketing rate of infection. You want to know what is working and how fast it is working. You can always include a graphic in the article or ebook or digital game that is accessed from your site. Then you can use your Web traffic analysis to find information on the effectiveness of your pass-it-on viral marketing campaigns.

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