Viral Marketing Ideas

So you want your business to go viral? Going viral is all about creating something people will tell their friends about.

Not every strategy below will suit your company, but you should find a few that spark some ideas. And that’s what viral marketing is all about -- ideas.

Many of the ideas below are a bit crazy. But that’s what it takes to create something with viral potential. People don’t talk about companies that advertise the same way everybody else does.

Have an Idea to Add? Submit Your Viral Marketing Ideas Here

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Be Different

Do something differently from everybody else. Try to do a lot of little things differently as well. People love to talk about businesses that do things differently, even if those differences are small.


Exceptional Customer Service

Provide customer service that is 300% better than your competitors. Do something after the sale nobody else does.


Give Freebies to Viral Groups

Figure out who is the most likely to talk to a lot of people about your product/service, and give them a freebie.



Create linkbait on your website. Linkbait involves creating a unique piece of content people will want to link to. Linkbait should benefit the reader first, and the company second. It doesn’t work the other way around.


Offer a Strange Product/Service

Offer an unusually big, small, hot, cold, strangely colored, or fully-featured version of your service that is significantly different from anything on the market. It may only appeal to 1% of buyers, but the other 99% will talk about it.


Offer a Super Expensive Package

Offer an insanely expensive high-roller version of your service. New York Restaurants offer $1,000 deserts, and some people pay it. The others talk about it.

Nothing says prestige like buying from the most expensive place in town – even if you bought a cheaper model. After all, people buy the cheapest Sony TV they can find, and still feel good that they got a Sony over a no-name


Over Deliver

Under promise and over deliver, or better yet over promise and over deliver.


Piggy Back on Current Events

Tie your product/service into current events already in the news. Submit follow-up stories to local media outlets when they talk about your industry. Offer to be interviewed in stories related to your industry.


Referral Bonuses

Give your customers an incentive to refer their friends to your business.



Give customers something they didn’t expect. Surprise them with a small freebee or add-on that wasn’t advertised. Going over and above what the customer expects of you is almost always rewarded with interest.


Take Notice of Photo Sharing

Photo sharing has exploded. People are uploading photos straight to Facebook now for their 500 contacts to see. The days of "My competitors might see my prices – OH NO!" are over. You want people taking pictures inside your business.

Find ways to get people to take pictures of your product/service that will get posted on their Facebook, Flickr, and other social media accounts. Burger King leaves a cardboard crown on every highchair. Who wouldn’t take a picture of their infant with an oversized crown falling over her eyes and getting stuck on her nose?

Better yet, run a contest offering a freebie to whoever submits the funniest shot of your product in action. Post them all up on your website, and send the whole lot of them out to your e-mail lists as a viral mailer.


Unique Offers

Ditch the 10% off coupons, and focus on creating unique offers that are significantly different from those being offered by your competition.


Vanity Numbers

Vanity numbers (e.g. 1-800-BUYTHIS) are easy to remember. If people remember your number, they can give it to friends or family members who mention needing your product or service.

Watch out though, Blackberries and many other phones don’t match numbers to letters anymore.


Viral Emails

Send out a creative e-mail people will forward. Make lists of useful tips or funny ways to use your product.

Take pictures of crazy things that happen in your business Try to get that magic shot that everybody in town ends up seeing. Have somebody brand your logo and a funny caption on it before you send it


Viral Employees

Your employees are the best candidates to spark a word-of-mouth campaign because they are the most likely to talk about your business. Tell them well in advance about upcoming promotions, events, and specials and encourage/reward them for getting the word out.

Hire outgoing people who participate in a lot of activities outside their homes rather than introverts who watch TV/play video games.


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