Most marketing professionals and e-commerce merchants know about word-of-mouth, i.e. when customers tell their friends about products and services. It is famous for being one of the most powerful forms of marketing, the only problem is that it doesn't happen often enough! Referral marketing is, to put it simply, making a conscious and structured effort to make word-of-mouth happen much more often.

Viral marketing is any marketing technique that induces websites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message's visibility and effect. A popular example of successful viral marketing is Hotmail, a company now owned by Microsoft, that promoted its services and its own advertisers' messages in every user's email notes.

Content marketing: Writing articles or blog posts related to your business and submitting them to be published on other websites is another great way to reach your target market for free. Although mass distribution of a single article across the web doesn't have the same SEO benefits it once had, submitting exclusive articles to a specific site can still reap many rewards including SEO, boosting your credibility, and reaching a market that might not otherwise know about you. Because writing can be time-consuming, you may want to consider how you can repurpose what you write into other forms of content or with new angles for other audiences.
Consumers also face malware risks, i.e. malvertising, when interacting with online advertising. Cisco's 2013 Annual Security Report revealed that clicking on ads was 182 times more likely to install a virus on a user's computer than surfing the Internet for porn.[105][106] For example, in August 2014 Yahoo's advertising network reportedly saw cases of infection of a variant of Cryptolocker ransomware.[107]
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 
Video and mobile go hand in hand. 90% of consumers watch videos on their mobile. From Q3 of 2013, mobile video views have grown more than 233 percent. YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. Since people like to watch videos on the go, and the number of smartphone users is growing, your video audience keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.[citation needed]

Here’s an example of an affiliate page from Yeti that provides every detail affiliates need to know before signing up for their program. Within your ecommerce platform, you can create a page like this and even link to it in the footer of your site for more visibility. This quickly increases the number of inbound affiliate applications and allows affiliates to find you naturally.
The campaign became successful and viral with over 17 million people participating in the challenge worldwide. Many celebrities including Bill Gates, George W. Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Mark Zuckerberg, Rihanna, Tim Cook, Rafael Nadal, and Cristiano Ronaldo took part in the challenge. Below video shows the Ice Bucket Challenge taken by Bill Gates:

In 2004, Murphy launched an affiliate marketing program on the ShareASale platform with the goal of developing a diversified revenue stream for her business. At the time, the majority of her web traffic was coming in through search engines. As of 2012, the company still relies on search engines, but they have developed additional (healthy) revenue streams.


Ice Bucket Challenge only asked participants to pour a bucket of ice-cold water and donate. The objective was kept simple and clear, and challengers were not required to put in much effort. It is important for you to keep your message direct and simple as customers don’t have the time and patience to go through a lot of content to grasp the crux of your message.


Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others. Few work as well as the simple Hotmail strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain all these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy:
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