The proper use of viral marketing can help your message spread rapidly. Take your message online and there’s no telling how many potential supporters you will reach. According to Steve MacLaughlin, Interactive practice manager at Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C., the success of any viral marketing strategy is in the “pass it on” rate.

“Response rates increase dramatically when users can see that a message is coming from a friend, family member, or co-worker,” he said. “People must be encouraged to pass a message along-don’t rely on them to think of this themselves.

MacLaughlin shares with us 10 tips for creating an online buzz:

  • Provide for effortless transfer to others — keep the message simple and easy to share
  • Encourage your supporters to pass it on — add copy that reads, “Please pass this email on to a friend”
  • Assure that it scales easily from small to very large. This is ideal for email forwarding to multiple contacts
  • Incorporate marketing techniques that motivate people to send on the message — make it inspirational, funny, cool, shocking, new, action-oriented, etc
  • Utilize existing communication networks — email, blogs, and message boards
  • Include links back to your Web site for additional compelling information. Don’t stop there. Include a viral marketing message there, too
  • Enable supporters to create personal Web pages so each individual can craft their own personal message — and encourage advocacy, build awareness or solicit donations on your behalf
  • Share news and success, building on the excitement and support of your mission
  • Highlight the impact so that others are motivated to share — send photos or video clips of a completed event with compelling results
  • Take advantage of the habits of the online generation — give them news the way they want it

tip to The NonProfit Times