The 3 “S” Formula to Innovative Viral Marketing

November 10, 2008

Remember the days when just having a website was enough to make a name for yourself on the web. The companies that put information online were ahead of the game. No interaction, just text and images, just information and a phone number to call, and you win.

Bad news, those days are long gone. Too many companies don’t get that. They don’t understand what they are doing wrong. “We have a website, it works fine, why isn’t anybody coming to it?”

Nowadays, the market is so crowded when you get online, that you have to put in some real effort to get the attention that you are looking for. Every website is designed for a different reason, but one thing they all have in common is that they are hungry for traffic. How do you get that traffic?

The 3 S’s of viral marketing that I have come up with are very basic ideas that companies and talented individuals have been using to help develop their online brands. You have to Stand Out, Spread the Word, and Serve the Users.

  • Stand Out – These days, different is good. You have to be unique to get noticed. Seth Godin will tell you that if you aim to do everything, you’ll be nothing. Focus on the things you can do best, and do them to the n’th degree. Stick to one message, stick to one service, and make sure people see that.
  • Spread the Word – Viral marketing is all about the spreading of a message, or an idea. If you stand out, people will talk about you. Your job is to make the flow of the conversation easy. Blogs, forums, discussions, wiki’s…these are all ways that people will be talking about you. Interact with them, give users and “journalists” a voice. SEO and search marketing will always help. If you have something unique to say, people will hear it.
  • Serve your Users – You have to give the people what they want. Learn and understand why exactly they are coming to your site. If they come for the latest news in the tech world, give them more of that. Make it fun for them, and don’t waste their time with other things that you think are cool. Listen to them, help them, serve them 100% of the time. They will love you for that.

Kevin Pruett over at will agree that for websites to be “sticky” they have to be well done, serve a simple purpose, and stand out. Use the 3 S’s as a guide to start to reform your online habits. Traffic is not going to find you, go out and make things happen. In the online world, if you are sitting still, you are way behind.