Do you want customers to spread the word about your product?Do you know the difference between good and bad viral marketing?

Could you give everyone who visits your site $100 to tell their friends about you?

If you answered “yes, yes, no” this this article is for you. It will explain the differences between good and bad gimmicks designed to facilitate the word of mouth around your product. Lets assume, for this article, that you have a landing page that facilitates viral sharing.

What can you do to encourage people to tell their friends?

A good gimmick has a reward for the customer and the business. A bad gimmick only helps the business.

What makes for bad viral marketing?

  • There is no clear reward evident for either party.
  • The reward is one way… marketing for your business.
  • The customer is not told if they are helping by spamming their friends.
  • You are asking the customer to do marketing for something they know almost nothing about.
  • The customer doesn’t know when/how they could be rewarded for sharing.
  • You aren’t making it easy for someone to share online.
  • The idea/product itself doesn’t stand out enough to be shared in the first place.

People of the web… you can do better. You deserve to be treated better. Your customers deserve to be treated better and I’ll show you how.

Now let’s look at how you can create a GOOD gimmick without being evil for your business. Do something that treats you and your potential customers better.

What makes for good viral marketing?

  • Reward people. Personally thank them on Twitter and send an auto-response that provides them with more value and information.
  • Define clear rules. Tell people what they are. Tell people if they change and why, but try and stick to your promises. If you want 3 signups before you give something away… tell them that’s how they get in… and let them in! No one should be begging.
  • Tell people where you’re at. Is this just something on a napkin that you’re testing or are you actively working full time on it? There is no shame in the truth.
  • Tell them how they are helping. Let them know, without effort on their part… if their marketing is helping you achieve your goals. It’s as simple as saying “Hey – you got 5 people to sign up! Thanks! Here is a free ebook about building a landing page. “
  • Keep them engaged. Even if you can’t launch yet keep people informed along the way. Demonstrate progress. Send newsletters with information that helps them achieve their goals anyway… even if it’s without you.
  • Have faith in humanity. That if you provide people with a great service at a good price that people WILL actually tell other people about you. Good products and great services are not gimmicks.
  • Share your goals. Make people feel like they are part of something bigger than a ponzi scheme. If your goal is 1 million or 1 thousand signups… tell people that’s what you’re aiming for before you launch. People like being part of something bigger than themselves.

If you don’t do at least some of these good things… I’ll tell you what will happen. Customers will get frustrated and turn to an alternative. The reality is that people don’t do things 100% altruistically.

There you have it. I encourage you all to create good gimmicks that reward both parties.