Creating A Successful Viral Marketing Campaign

Have you ever tried a product and recommended it to other people? That, in a nutshell, is what a viral marketing campaign is all about.

In order to create a successful campaign, you need to create buzz around your product. You need to give it the wow factor, so much so that when people read about it they will automatically want to tell their work colleagues, their friends and their family about it.

If you have an email list already, think about how you can spread the message beyond that list by getting the recipients to do your work for you. You should ensure that you find a good strong angle to promote as your wow factor, as it’s usually something unusual, different or quirky that gets the message to other people beyond your immediate circle of influence.

Don’t underestimate the power of using forums either. Be careful here though – don’t advertise your product or you’ll be kicked out. But you can generate some curiosity by adding a quirky signature line to every post you make.

All good viral marketing campaigns have real value at their center. To get people’s attention about your new product, you could write a free report giving away some information that will tempt people into going ahead and buying your product. Make the report worthwhile and valuable, and you’ll be giving people a reason to recommend it to others.

Luckily for internet marketers, the word of mouth effect is transferable to the internet, and the upsurge of sites such as YouTube has made it much easier to reach a specific audience with a viral video that gets you noticed.

The key to creating a viral campaign that works is to find an angle that pushes buttons for people. They need to feel they have stumbled across something really valuable… but not so valuable they want to keep it to themselves. Consider your customers’ likely reactions to what you are promoting before you start your viral marketing campaign, as these will greatly influence its overall success.

George Cleanthous

George Cleanthous

SEO Strategist at Web Profits

Formerly of EY and Alcatel, George has extensive experience in many facets of online marketing and has developed an expert analytics skill set. Specialising in Search, George helps drive innovation and the application of our search engine optimisation strategy.


  1. Email Marketing Perth says:

    Interesting article Alex,

    We’ve found email-driven viral campaigns particularly effective. As you say, there has to be an angle that pushes buttons and we always include a ‘forward to your friends’ feature (because html formatting often breaks if simply forwarded direct from the email client).

    We recently tried an experiment whereby a discount coupon was included and recipients were asked NOT to distribute it (“this is an exclusive offer for you, and you alone…”). In terms of viral effect, this worked even better!

    June 21st, 2008 at 8:00 pm

  2. Mark Eter says:

    One of my jobs is to send email newsletters out. What do you think is best practice for content? My idea is to give some article of interest and value to the readers, and also to give a message about what we’re selling. I figure that people aren’t going to read my ads unless I give them some interesting material as well.
    I take the point about making an offer in the email – that’s something we need to work on.
    Anyway interested in your thoughts.

    April 10th, 2010 at 7:46 pm