Many companies do some form of viral marketing without being aware they are doing so! If your email has a link to your website or a promotional message as part of your signature then you already have the basics in place.
You can also use your website to kick-start a viral campaign by placing a promotional offer (prize draw, competition, giveaway etc) and encouraging people who register/take part to promote it to their friends.
There are many affiliate programmes out there which can work well for viral marketing campaigns. You place text or graphic links on an affiliate partner’s website which will direct users to your site. The affiliate partner (referrer) will earn a percentage of the conversion that take place as a result of the visitor to their site coming to you. The conversion needs to be agreed in the affiliate agreement (sale or simply visiting your website). Most affiliate partners would offer complementary products or services to your own and you benefit by being exposed to their customers without any other marketing activity.
Forums are a good platform for viral campagins as users are already communicating with each other (chat rooms, news groups or discussion/review sites). Clearly, your message must be in context of the subject matter for the relevant forum to create interest. If it is a blatant plug you will get a black mark and alienate potential customers.
Crowdsourcing is the new phenomenon with major brands using social networks to promote their products and services. They rely on users to “like” their products and talk about them on their networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Social bookmarking is another way to get your website in front of people – using services that earmark pages specific to content and tags will allow others searching for this type of content to find your page easily and with the social sharing buttons readily available on most good websites these days, its very quick and simple to recommend something to your friends.
I have by no means covered everything in this post but it should give you a taster and for help pulling together your own viral marketing campaigns, you can always contact me.