Why Viral Marketing Should Motivate, Not Manipulate

A few years ago, I got an email from a friend who was helping to organize a big vote in the city of Lincoln where I live. It was about a new arena that the city was building—a $200 million project. Voters were divided over the issue, and the debate was fairly intense on both sides.

The subject line of this email simply read:

“You must check out this website-hilarious.”

The link included in the message was “shouldivoteforthearena.com.” Obviously I wanted to find out what this was about, so I clicked on the link, and the page I landed on said this:


That’s it. Just “YES”—and the date the polls would be open to vote.

It was an interesting, inexpensive use of technology and viral marketing. The email was initially sent to a few hundred people, but over the course of just a few days, thousands landed on the website. It’s remarkable how simple, yet effective viral marketing can be.

Another nonprofit conducted a scavenger hunt on the front page of their website. On their homepage, visitors saw five trivia questions about the organization, along with a statement that read, “Find the answer to these questions and win a free t-shirt.” Users had to search the website for the answers. Everyone who got them right won a shirt.

 Read on at Firespring.org>>


Jay Wilkinson

October 28, 2014

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