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									                          Viral marketing

Viral marketing is a web- and e-mail-based marketing initiative that encourages
people to pass along a message. Viral marketing has the potential to spread your
message quickly.

For example, suppose you send an e-mail to 10 people and each of them forwards
that message to 10 other people. The message you originally sent to 10 people has
now reached 100 people. This equation can continue, enabling you to reach more
and more people through e-mail forwards though your initial contact was only 10 e-

Since it has the potential to spread quickly and cost-effectively, viral marketing can
reach more people than traditional marketing. In many ways, viral marketing is
similar to word-of-mouth because the each e-mail recipient makes the decision to
forward an e-mail, making that forward like a personal endorsement.

One example of a successful viral marketing campaign is MSN offers
hotmail as a free service, and at the bottom of each hotmail message sent includes
a single line promotion, “Get your private, free email at”
As subscribers email friends and colleagues,’s message spreads. This
viral marketing campaign has resulted in what is currently more than 65 million
people who choose to use hotmail.

Another way to conduct a viral marketing campaign is to place a “Tell a friend”
button on your website. “Tell a friend” buttons are a way for someone accessing
your website to pass on your web link, an article, or any other item on your website
to someone else. Usually when you click a “Tell a friend” link, you can input a
friend’s e-mail address who will then receive an e-mail message with a web link of
the page or site you are recommending.

There are several suggestions for conducting successful viral marketing:

   1. Offer a “free” product or service as an incentive to take action. To take
      advantage of this offer, request that people subscribe to your organization by
      providing their name and e-mail address. With their name added to your
   listserv, you will be able to contact them with information about your
   organization, project, coalition, or initiative.

2. Make it easy for people to spread your message by including a “Tell a friend”
   button on your website or by encouraging people to forward e-mails to
   anyone who might be interested in the information or in learning more.
   Remember, keep your message concise to increase the odds of it being read
   and forwarded.

3. Be prepared to handle varying amounts of responses. If you offer a free
   service or product as a promotion, make sure you can fill requests.

4. Use human motivations and emotions effectively. Remember that people
   want to help worthy causes because it makes them feel good about
   themselves. This is an important element to remember when considering a
   viral marketing strategy. Make sure the language you use evokes the human
   emotions that are common to your target audience, but also inspires them to

5. Partner with outside resources by hosting articles and links on your website.
   In addition, remember to issue press releases and PSAs that highlight new
   information on your website.

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