Viral marketing is a very effective way to drive traffic to your website and gain exposure for your brand. What exactly is viral marketing ? When one of your promotional pieces gets linked to, passed around, and spreads with a life of its own, it has gone viral. In order for something to do this, it has to be of interest to a lot of people. It can offer great value, be shocking, funny or controversial. The idea is to grab the interest of a few people who will want to share your material with a few more and so on.

Here are some viral marketing examples to better help explain.

1) Funny videos are a great method to use for viral marketing because video sharing is so popular today. Funny or weird videos get shared among friends and posted on blogs and get seen by a lot of eyes. Insert your brand or a link to your website into the video and you have one good example of viral marketing. Remember that your video needs to be unique in some way. There is a lot of competition out there and an average video will not get very much attention.

2) Hotmail is often used as the classic example of viral marketing. When they started giving away free email addresses, everyone who used their service also advertised it because a link to Hotmail was automatically included at the bottom of every email sent. More and more people saw the link, clicked it and signed up for a free email address. All these new users then sent out the Hotmail link with every email they sent and so on.

3) Giving away free ebooks or short reports is another viral marketing example that is pretty popular today. The free report contains advertisements for your website with links back to it. You give the report away and let everyone know they can also give the report away to their friends and subscribers. Pretty soon your free report has a wide circulation and your website gets a lot of free publicity.

4) Posting gossip or rumors on your blog can sometimes go viral as can posting controversial statements. This is also called link baiting. The purpose is to create a buzz that gets people talking about your post and linking to it. All those web hits and backlinks will be good for your business as long as you do it right. You have to be careful about stirring controversy or making statements that are untrue because it might blow up in your face and even hurt your business.

5) Viral marketing failures are not uncommon even among big businesses with huge advertising budgets. It is difficult to predict what will take off and what will be a flop. There are many good viral marketing examples you can learn from such as Burger King’s Subservient Chicken video and Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” videos. These were successful in part because they were interactive and unique.

Remember also to make your video or report easy to be shared. Allow your videos to be embedded on other websites and let your reports be freely shared. For the average webmaster the point to keep in mind is to over deliver on value whether it is in the form of a hilarious video or an informative report. Create something that people can’t wait to share with their friends and you will have a viral marketing success on your hands.

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