How Viral Is Your Referral Marketing?

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Lots has been made of late about viral marketing. There are many fancy definitions of what this actually is, but I’d like you to think about it as an automated form of referral.

Any business can look for and implement ways to make their referral marketing efforts more viral in nature.

I use a “tell a friend” feature on each post of this blog (see below the post) and receive enough traffic to that page to suggest that many people use that link to point my blog posts out to others.

LogoWorks, an online logo and design firm, allows its users to submit draft design ideas to friends to get their feedback before moving forward. Their system handles it all with a series of forms and links. Of course, once the person you asked to view the designs casts their vote, they are immediately presented with a 10% off coupon for their own use.

Enabling your clients with some form of feedback collection that gives them a logical and valuable reason to pass your name around is an essential to this form of small business viral marketing. Keep that idea in mind as I think it holds some real promise for your viral referral plans.

Giving away free tools can foster viral referring – my Instant Press Release creation page is a good example.

Creating “insider” communities of your best clients and arming them with some form of premium information to take out to the world can create buzz.

Publishing unusual marketing tools such as bumper stickers, yard signs and t-shirts can help people get in the viral mood. Even well placed examples of how to use your product on video sharing sites such as YouTube might be right for you.

A lot of viral marketing you’ve probably run across comes in the form of humor that’s aimed at a junior high school audience. The most important thing to keep in mind as you determine a strategy that might help you automate this referral tool is that it stay in step with your brand and core marketing messages. A viral marketing tactic that doesn’t focus on your ideal client and core message, even one that gets lots of attention, won’t provide any lasting value.


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