Tips on Developing a Great Viral Marketing Idea

A great viral marketing idea that results in exposure and links to your company's website could be just around the corner.

Viral link building doesn't have to be big. Small, targeted viral campaigns can create quality links and exposure to the right groups.

Here are some ways to create great viral marketing ideas.

Research Viral Success

Why reinvent the wheel? Research other strategies that have produced links and exposure.

Viral Link Building Tips
  • Don't limit your search to things labeled as "viral marketing campaigns."
  • Look for common thoughts. Find the patterns.
  • Have customers submit their funny stories with your products or services.

Don't limit your search to things labeled as "viral marketing campaigns." Some of the best ideas can be borrowed from sites that had no motivation to create a viral campaign. Often they simply found a solution to something that frustrated them, or had a funny idea.

Expand your research outside of your field to find the real gems. For example, I recently found a tool on a food site that I can apply to a beauty site. Because it hasn't been done in the beauty industry, the chance of viral success is much greater.

Yes, it's time-consuming research, but it's well worth it.

Research Discussion Sites

Spend time on discussion sites researching what your customers are talking about. Look for common thoughts. Find the patterns. You're searching for something most people in that group can relate to.

Questions to ask:

  • Is there something many people complain about? Could you turn this into something funny?

  • Is there a common problem you could solve with an online tool?

  • Are there jokes, or off-handed remarks, made about a certain experience?

  • Is there a common experience you could turn into a satire?

Here's a quick example. Let's say everyone in a business forum is complaining about a particular government agency. Create a cartoon making fun of that agency.

Are customers talking about your company? Don't be afraid to be the focus of the humor. Google sure did it back in 2002 in their technology behind Google's great results. Just check out the links to that page.

Humor is one of the most effective strategies for viral marketing. However, not every company is comfortable with this approach.

Staff & Customers

Another excellent place to research your idea is with your staff and customers. Have a brainstorming session with your sales and customer service people. Take advantage of their years of funny experiences dealing with customers.

Next, have customers submit their funny stories with your products or services. They may already have videos or photos you could use!

Current Events

Next time you're taking in your daily source of news, be on the lookout for things to make fun of or turned into a satire. For the more bold companies, create pieces dealing with controversial topics. There's no shortage of those!

Turn it into a weekly blog post with a cartoon, animation, or video. This will increase your chances of success as your readership grows. Need some inspiration? Check out "The Daily Show."

These are just a few starting points for developing an idea that will go viral. Always keep an open mind and always be on the lookout for ideas. That idea could be just around the corner.

Join us for SES Toronto June 9-11, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. The event will be packed with sessions covering topics such as PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, video optimization, site optimization, usability and more while offering high-level strategy, big picture, keynotes, an exhibit floor with companies that can help you grow your business, networking events, parties and more.