Viral Marketing Strategies: How to Go Viral

June 17, 2008 - Get free updates of new posts here

I was thinking about this during a drive about many sites and services that just don’t have a natural or artificial viral component or online viral marketing. Some great sites come to mind:

Kayak.com, like.com, scribd.com (questionable). Also Mint. Mint created a product that tons of people wanted and was completely free. This made it easy for people to tell their friends about and as a result go viral and beat out Wesabe.


link to photo
The great marketing person you hired is thinking: “Shit, I wrote that I do viral marketing on my resume and our site is not viral so what do I do now.”

Arbitrage. Huh? What is arbitrage? Is that French? No, but it’s a decent way of growing your site. If you know your value per user over some period of time you can just buy traffic for less than that. Example:

monthly active users = 10,000
monthly revenue = $15,000
value per user = $1.5

Now let’s have some fun arbitrage math:

cost per click = $.25 (you can buy from Google, Facebook, where ever)
% click conversion to user = 25%
cost per user = $1 (it takes 4 clicks times 25% conversion to get 1 user at $.25 / click)

At this point for every user you buy you are making $0.50 ($1.5-1). You should buy as much traffic as you can! Bottom line: If the cost to acquire user is < value per user over fixed period of time you should be doing this.

* this math does not include a lot of factors like decay (how long the user stays) and more…

There are many other growth solutions including the dirty word, “seo” which I may write about in the future, word of mouth campaigns, generic advertising buys and more… Appsumo has found the best way to make sales and get more subscribers is through email. It may be different for you.

We have done arbitrage with some our apps (check out the best travel apps for iPad) and it works out well at different points in time. Has anybody else had luck with it?