Rules for Viral Marketing

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The thing about viral marketing is that only fresh and new things work.  Don't copy success, learn from it. With that, here are some viral marketing rules for putting together a successful promotion.

The 4 Simple Rules

Once you have a viral marketing idea that’s worth sharing, it is useful to think about these four simple rules of viral marketing:

  1. Simple to Understand - if you can’t describe the concept in one sentence, it’s probably not going to work.
  2. Simple to Use - keep it dead simple for the user to use - life is complicated enough.
  3. Simple to Find - seed your viral marketing campaign (blogs, emails, ads, websites, etc) and make it easy to find (see list).
  4. Simple to Share - make it easy for people to tell others.

Additional Tips

  • Set Goal - set your goal up front. Do you need to create awareness or generate leads? Your goal will determine the tone for your viral concept.
  • Personalize - make it personal for the user. Is there a way to incorporate their name or picture?
  • Reason to spread - what is the reward? Understand why ideas spread (see list).
  • Fun to spread - make the process of spreading rewarding, fun, easy and entertaining. Reduce the "work" aspect of it as much as possible. Don't neglect this aspect of the campaign.
  • Call to action - the call to action must be clear, simple, and prominent.
  • Topical- try to make it relevant to the current environment (politics, stuff in news, hot new trends, etc) and your product or service.
  • Things always change - just because it worked before doesn't mean it'll work again.


4 Simple Rules - from a viral marketing blog called