Although there are many ways to market your business online, I only use free techniques because they have the chance to go viral. Viral marketing is a form of word of mouth marketing that becomes viral. What this means is that your campaign spreads like a virus. Viral marketing will allow you to reach market segments you might not otherwise reach.

Another advantage of using viral marketing is that as your message spreads, your marketing automates itself. By automating your marketing, you continue to drive traffic to your sites and make money without doing any work.

Below are seven ways to help you unleash a viral marketing campaign in your business:

1. Write articles.

This is, of course, my favorite internet marketing technique. The reason is that it allows me to:

-build valuable one way backlinks to my websites,
-increase my rankings in the search engines,
-brand myself as an expert,
-show my potential customers how I can solve their problems.

Showing my potential customers how I can solve their problems is the most important element of writing articles. The reason is that you are adding value to your products by giving information, and sharing with others what you know without asking anything in return. It also gives you an opportunity to show whether or not you may solve the customers’ problems.

Most internet surfers are tired of sales pitches; they want information. Give good information.

2. Send out a press release.

Press releases are another way to build one way backlinks to your website. It’s also a way to tell others about your business and show them what you can do for them. Online press releases allow you to connect directly with potential customers.

To write an effective press release, you want to concentrate on news about your business. Show others how you will solve their problems. Like articles, press releases are often syndicated across many sites, and this allows your press release to go viral.

3. Build a Squidoo lens.

Squidoo is the brain child of best selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin. A Squidoo lens is like a one page mini-site on a specific topic or product. Lenses allow you to give as much information as you want about your products or services. It also allows you to rank well in the search engines because Squidoo ranks well in the search engines.

Squidoo lenses offer readers a chance to vote on lenses, as well as bookmark them. The social element of this site makes lenses highly viral. Create a good lens, and you may go viral quickly.

4. Participate in social marketing.

Social marketing is an easy way to connect with both potential customers and others in your industry. This is an opportunity to get out there and “strut your stuff.” In other words, you have a chance to demonstrate your expertise.

Social marketing encompasses a wide variety of techniques, including social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, blogging, social bookmarking and videos. All of these are highly viral because they are interactive.

5. Write free reports to give away.

Although this technique has been around a long time, it’s also still effective. Mark Joyner used it with his free ebook, “Search Engine Tactics.” (This eBook has been downloaded over one million times.)

The way to make an eBook go viral is to first put it in a format everyone may use. PDF (Portable document format) is the way to do this because Adobe works on any computer. The other thing you want to consider is making the report brandable.

What this means is that you allow others to add their details, or the affiliate links to your report. Those who want to give away your report use a “brander” to add their affiliate IDs, as well as a link to their websites if you allow it. This gives others incentives to promote your report. More importantly, it gives them an opportunity to make sales. Branding increases the chances of your reports going viral.

6. Build a network of joint venture partners.

Although this technique takes the most work to do, it’s also one of the most lucrative ways to market your business online. When you build a list of joint venture partners, you have the chance to reach more potential customers in your market. Not only will you reach more potential customers in your market, you also have the opportunity to gain new affiliates for those who want to sell your products or services.

The secret here is to provide as much support to your potential partners as possible. Make it easy to join your affiliate program and include plenty of viral marketing materials like articles, reviews, and brandable reports.