Viral Marketing Tactics - Step by Step

Hi guys,

I love Viral because it’s an effective way to get noticed and it’s cheap to implement. Here goes:

Step 1: The Idea

Something crazy, intense, funny, rude, clever. BUT the idea must relate to your product or whatever you are promoting. Let’s say you are promoting a site that sells bowling equipment. Ok, here’s the title for a viral video:

Man Dies In Freak Bowling Accident

Yikes! You get the idea.

Step 2: Create Video

Get yourself a cheap cam like a Flip. Get together with friends and head down to the local bowling alley for some hijinks. :wink:

OR get some stock photos here:

And get some screen capture software to put those images together and add audio:

IMPORTANT: Put a link to your blog at the end of your video. You want to push potential customers to a page where you get them hooked. Grab their email address, or make a sale.

Step 3: Big Push

This step is a very important ingredient. You need to give your video the initial momentum. Once it has that momentum, it will catch on and gain critical mass. That means viewers will start recommending it to their friends. Basically, they will do the work for you.

So, blast everything you’ve got at your video: Digg it, mention it on your blog, put a link to it on your Facebook page, tweet about it, email your list, tell all your friends, put it in your forum signature, and more.

You can also outsource much of this Big Push. Do everything possible to get that momentum! And remember, Viral is more than just video: an email can go viral, a Flash cartoon can go viral, a blog can go viral.

Ok, post your viral tips and adventures here. :wink:


“The reckless pursuit of free marketing, whatever the cost, is a recipe for disaster.”

Wow. I could NOT disagree more. It’s all about Continuous Improvement:
- If it ain’t broke, break it. Try something new.
- If it works, keep doing it.
- If it doesn’t, tweek it or try something else.
- Then try something new.
- Rinse and repeat.

And the continuous reckless pursuit of free marketing. One of my all time favorite books:

Interesting points. Targeting is extremely important, but tricky when it comes to viral. Definitely brainstorm this.

Free traffic does burn your time. So consider combining your efforts with some outsourcing.


I like, I like. How about:

Furniture Made of Coffee Beans



I have a website about coffee tables and I recently put out a video of a kid who played a prank on his mom and instead of hard wood floors he put just coffee tables in the rooms.

I agree. I like taking smart risks, getting creative. But of course, also testing, and getting results.


Good point. This is why I mention targeting and brainstorming. You need to take very careful aim with all marketing. I’m hoping people will read this thread, then do further research before they launch.

Long live the hijinks! :wink:


I’m hoping people will read this thread, then do further research before they launch.

Hopeful indeed. Good luck with that.


5 Biggest Marketing Disasters and the Lessons We Can Learn with number two being particularly relevant.

Viral Video Marketing Disasters: How NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice Failed

Some Viral Marketing steps are given below like:

  1. Focus on a targeted audience – B2B
    Focusing on B2B might mean less competition.
  2. Every language has different rules
    Providing content that serves your clients means their language preference will determine what language to use for a corporate blog.
    3.Free traffic costs nothing
  3. Increase traffic from referrer sites
  4. Manage SEO quickly and correctly

3.Free traffic costs nothing

One hundred thousand visitors don’t cost nothing, they eat up bandwidth. Which would just be a trivial cost of doing business, if most viral worked as marketing. …Or if even a substantial fraction of viral worked as marketing.

But most viral content doesn’t cause conversions. Good viral. Bad marketing.

It takes more marketing savvy to make viral work. Not less. Not zero. Random generic hijinks, by definition, don’t relate to the product or service in the vast majority of cases. That’s just probability. Statistics.

Sure. Anything could work out. That’s not the way to bet when it comes to effective viral marketing.

Your points gloss over the hard parts – targeting and product relevance – that cause most viral to fail at marketing objectives. The result is the wrong conclusion viral doesn’t work, or doesn’t work for their business. Viral works. You just didn’t work it right.

Perhaps making it seem like any random goofiness is going to go viral – in the right way – is an over-simplification.

What you’re suggesting is a good recipe to get any stray, random, marketing impulses out of your system – so you can realize you need to develop or hire more marketing savvy for something to go viral. Fail a half dozen times at this, and you’ll be in the market to learn about marketing and why the vast majority of viral marketing fails.

And you will have disabused yourself of the notion that ramping up traffic by several orders of magnitude comes without cost.

You’re talking about one of the most slipshod, low yield, scatter-shot, off-the-rails, hail mary gambles in marketing like it was as simple as making a frozen pizza. Excepting viral is free and a pizza costs money. Yet nothing is more expensive than the ‘free’ marketing that makes bandwidth costs rise and doesn’t pay for it.

The reckless pursuit of free marketing, whatever the cost, is a recipe for disaster.


So Many Elves, So Little Business details what usually happens. It didin’t cost nothing. But if you don’t have a balance sheet huge enough to bury a blunder on, don’t try viral marketing on a wish and a high spirited hijink.

Ok, here’s a viral video that got 23 Million views. Not too shabby. It’s a remix of a popular viral video:

Notice how he monetizes? He gives the URL of his site where people can download YouTube videos to their desktop. He places a big banner on his site for a video conversion tool.

Makes sense; people are watching a funny remix, and he sends them to a page that advertises a video editing tool.

He should make his link clickable, though. It will make the clickthrough to his site that much easier.

Guys, let’s make this thread a real resource for learning about Viral Marketing. Post your experience, tips, and links. :wink:


Perhaps they weren’t being hopeful enough.

…ad agencies attempt to create viral videos, and the mistakes they ALL make when they rely on traditional marketing assumptions about online video success.

Read more:

That’s a very important point. A lot of these organizations are looking to the past, instead of what’s happening now.

ALL’s executives made huge mistakes that conservative companies assume about online video engagement. They seem to think that the key to a successful viral video is to insert celebrities and make it look like a cheesy television commercial! This strategy is often done by traditional media agencies attempting online video, and its almost always a complete bomb.

Very true. Most people spot these a mile away. They look “fake organic”. They don’t look like a genuine moment was captured.


3 Things Any Video Needs to Go Viral

Branded video content works. Recent research conducted by Vizu revealed that viral video can be highly effective in driving purchase intent. For example, one campaign Vizu tested delivered a 110% lift in consumers’ purchase intent, with video viewers two times more likely to purchase than people who hadn’t seen the video campaign.