Viral Marketing

The term ‘viral marketing’ may not sound particularly pleasant but it can be the key to a business’ online market success and has taken the internet by storm over the last few years.

Viral marketing is an extremely powerful marketing tactic which, if successful, will change your business forever. Viral marketing is basically good old-fashioned ‘word of mouth’ which, whilst always massively important, has been supercharged thanks to the Internet.

It can take on many forms including advertisements, videos and images. Once the ‘virus’ has interested someone enough for them to share it with their peers, it can multiply and ‘infect’ a large group of people, if those people decide to share it as well – it is much like a human virus. (hence the name!)


Viral Spread

Fig 1. One person shares the video/image/etc. The recipient then shares it themselves, and so on, and so forth. (source:

All you’ll need to do is sit back and watch it all link back to your business… providing your content is interesting, engaging, funny, shocking or otherwise shareable!

The benefits of viral marketing for your company include:

–          Exposure for your brand and awareness of your products and services.

–          Increased website traffic.

–          High rankings in search engines.

–          Buzz and hype surrounding your company.

–          More customers.


Old Spice

Old Spice Man

The Old Spice advertisement was a clever and captivating concept that gained millions of viewers on YouTube. The advert features an alpha male promoting the idea that if a man couldn’t be like him then they could at least smell like him. Armed with the tagline ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’, it was original and funny, proving to be an instant hit.


Tipp-Ex Bear

Tipp-Ex released a video in 2010 on YouTube which caught the attention of Twitter and YouTube fans across the globe. The video consists of a short clip of a hunter who is interrupted by a bear. He then gets his gun out as if he is about to shoot. The attraction of the video was that the viewer then got to decide what the hunter did to the bear. So for example, instead of the ‘The hunter shoots the bear’, it could be changed to ‘The hunter plays football with the bear’. This was a clever play on the product as the viewer was virtually Tipp-Exing out the phrase and filling in the blanks. This craze swept the internet gaining millions of hits.


Gillette Federer

Gillette decided to recruit an international star for their adverts in 2010 in the form of tennis player, Roger Federer. The video takes place in a studio where the tennis star serves a tennis ball, knocking  a can off the head of a crew member. An international frenzy surrounded the video sparking the question of whether it was genuine. This generated discussion and speculation across the web and attracted millions of views in a very short amount of time.

How to use Viral Marketing for Your Company

Human motivation

PsychologyA marketing concept is a great starting point for viral marketing. It has to be clever, original and highly captivating. One way to do it is to focus on an element of the extreme whether it be extremely funny, ridiculous or unbelievable. It should provoke a reaction from all those it reaches which will then enable it to spread.  You’ll really need to tap into what motivates humans and what makes them tick. You want to make a certain impression. The concept will be quite specific and won’t please everyone but the aim is to cause a frenzy among the specific group of people that have responded to it. This is more effective than having a mediocre effect on a large group. In this respect, it is, initially a very targeted method of marketing.

Make it easy to spread

SpreadJust like human viruses, web viruses need to be easy to spread. So, once you have your concept, you need to make sure it can be shared within seconds. A good way to do this is through a YouTube video. These can be shared through Twitter and Facebook and all across the internet through the use of a link. Similarly, it’s important to always add a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ button at the bottom of your content so that it can be spread at the click of a button.

Get it found

SearchThe number one mistake with viral marketing is the ‘build it and they will come’ principle. They won’t – trust me. Once you have your content you should share it across as many possible social media and social bookmarking sites as possible. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, Folkd. All of these sites and more should be targets for your content. Reddit can be particularly powerful, but only if your content is interesting enough.

So, there we have it. Viral marketing has the power to really get you known online, but it is far from easy. Millions try, but very few succeed. However, give it a go… you never know what might happen!


Written by Guest Post