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Viral Marketing: What is it?
By: terri
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    Want to get more visitors to your website? One way to do this is by building buzz and interest. This is where viral marketing can help. Keep reading to find out what it is, and how to do it.

    First of all, viral marketing is NOT the selling of computer viruses! Rather, it involves creating something so catchy, so interesting, so cool, or so useful that everyone wants to read it, play with it, link to it, and forward it to their friends. In short, it spreads quickly, rather like a virus, leaving entertained and enlightened web surfers in its wake.

    A viral marketing item is sometimes referred to as "linkbait," because you're casting it out on the Internet in the hope that others will see it and link to it. What it actually IS depends on what is being marketed and the best way to use it to get attention. It can be a video or series or videos, like the recent Old Spice Guy campaign; it can be an image or set of images, like the woman who quit her job via dry erase board (a hoax, by the way, but a lot of people wished it was real); it can be a really good article; it can even be a fun application, like the Wonderbread sandwich maker.

    Figuring out what kind of linkbait to create, and making it really catchy, is the hard part. You'll want to create something that's related to what your website has to offer. It should appeal to a wide audience. It should ideally be useful or funny (or both). Remember that attention spans run short on the Internet, so you don't want to make it too long if it's a video, for example, keep it under five minutes (and the shorter, the better); if it's an article, you have somewhat more leeway.

    Once you have your viral marketing item, what do you do with it? Most of the time, it should go directly onto your own website. But you'll need to mention it on social media websites to get the word out. Use Twitter, Facebook, and other websites that focus on topics related to your linkbait. If it's a video, you might even put it up on Youtube but if you do that, make sure that you include your website's URL in the actual video. You want viewers to remember the URL and visit your website.

    If your linkbait is working, you should see visits to your website pick up very quickly. Can you relax now? Hardly. The number of visitors you get will taper off as quickly as they shot up if you don't give them what they want. Even if you're totally successful, there will be some tapering off in the number of visitors; ideally, that number will settle down to a higher average than it was before you set out your linkbait. After a while, you'll want to create more linkbait, and the cycle starts again. (Old Spice did a whole series of videos with the Old Spice guy, after all). Good luck!

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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