After looking at hundreds of viral videos, microsites, emails, and services, I started to notice several patterns.
Here’s a list of the most common benefits/incentives that make people want to share a viral idea:
- Benefit in Numbers – To personally benefit from the product you need to sign other up people. The more people, the bigger the benefit (e.g. Skype).
- Competition – This usually involves challenging someone to a game (e.g. can you top my score).
- Entertain Others – Make other people laugh…the louder, the better.
- Influencer– Allows you to become the leader of the pack. Spreading the message will help build your reputation as an influencer or leader (the more you influence, the more powerful you become).
- Social Needs – Desire to be part of the herd or share an experience.
- Fear – Motivation based on fear of death, illness, isolation, shame, etc.
- Knowledge Gap – A situation is created where the visitor has to invite people to fill in gaps in her/his knowledge. Family history is a good example of this.
- Financial Gain – Commission, free samples, bribes…you get the picture.
- Entertain Yourself– Ability to surprise, trick, scare or embarrass someone.
- Altruism – Help friends just because it’s the right thing to do. It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling.
- Cause-Driven– These campaigns are centred around a cause or charity. Sharing them with other people makes us feel like we’re helping someone and that other people identify with our plight.
Have some other compelling reasons why people pass these things on? Share them! I’ve posted this list on a marketing wiki called Whamwiki.com. If you’d like to expand the list simply visit the wiki and post your additions.
And hey, while you’re at it – why not use reason 4 or 10 to share this article with your friends and colleagues (wink wink, nudge nudge)?