7 Essential Tools of Viral Marketing

Imagine having your site spread online like a benevolent virus.

To learn how to do that, I spoke with Hiten Shah, Partner at ACS SEO. His company has helped grow online traffic for big brands like TechCrunch, Guy Kawasaki, HP and Samsung.

Here are some techniques we discussed for making a web tool more viral. (Listen to the full interview to hear more techniques and learn how to make your content spread online.)

Hiten Shah

Hiten Shah


Hiten Shah is CEO and Co-Founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics company that gives web-based businesses actionable metrics. Previously he started Crazyegg and ACS SEO.

A few lessons from this program

Beat me! – Sites that allow their users to challenge each other are naturally viral. We talked about how eduFire.com went viral by allowing its users to play language games and then challenge their friends to score higher.

Can’t talk alone – Communication tools spread virally, because they can’t be used alone. When Skype launched and let people make free phone calls, users who downloaded it needed to get their friends to also download Skype so they could talk.

Everyone’s a show off – When you let people create on your site, you also inspire them to share what they created. They want to show off. That’s why tools like GE’s online whiteboard spread virally.

You must! -Remember back in the early days of the internet how quickly email went from being a strange new tool to one that everyone used? Email is a useless tool unless your co-workers, friends, clients, etc use it. So people had to get others to start using it. Sites and tools that you must use with others can spread faster.

Can I share? – If you want your site to spread, you have to make it easy for users to share and embed your content. (Listen to my inteview with Alex Funk to hear how to do that.)

Everyone has a GIANT ego – If you give people something to boast about, they’ll spread the word. Hiten told me that when Feedburner created a badge that let bloggers show how many readers they have, bloggers everywhere started posting Feedburner badges–and Feedburner’s business grew virally.

You don’t know jack – If you measure your viral growth, you’ll learn what works and know how to stoke your viral fire. If you don’t, you’re lost. (The CEO of BZZ Agents taught me how to measure viral growth in this interview.)

These are just a FEW of the viral tools that Hiten gave me in our interview. Listen to the whole interview to learn how headlines can make content more viral, how to use sites like Digg.com to get more readers, and many other tips.

(Noah Kagan, thanks for suggesting this interview.)

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