Viral marketing needs four things to work properly: (many of these you would have found in the Hubspot Webinar on April Fools Day) Never before has it been easier to reach potential customers. Using digital technology, you can reach your audience for pennies. But as it turns out, inexpensive marketing is a double-edged sword because it attracts more competition. This is because the technology that makes production of media inexpensive, also creates a low barrier of entry. As a result, the market is flooded with products, and the consumer is overwhelmed. The range of products and brands to purchase has become numbing to the customer. Proven strategies of the past are being abandoned, because they clearly no longer work. That being said, brand-building is one strategy that will never go out of date regardless of technological advances. And the good news is that building a brand has never been more feasible than it is now—if you are willing to use social media and use it well. Simply blogging or having a presence on Facebook is not enough. Viral marketing needs four things to work properly:
- An offer (preferably free) that has value
- An easy way to distribute the offer
- An incentive to get consumers to pass the offer along to their friends
- A way to make the campaign profitable
- An offer (preferably free) that has value. When thinking about viral campaigns, many people think of funny videos. Funny videos do have value, but I would encourage you to consider something different. There are just too many companies trying to do funny videos and it is hard to stand out. Rather, come up with an offer that has more legitimate value. For example, I offer free online piano lessons for church pianists. I have also offered free downloads of CDs and printed piano arrangements.The key is that whatever you offer has to have real value, and it probably needs to be free. People will not jeopardize their relationships by promoting an offer that has no value, and they will usually not promote offers that are not free (unless the brand is already very strong). Think hard about an offer you can make available that is inexpensive but has great perceived value to others. Be creative; there are numerous possibilities, particularly if you create digital media.
- An easy way to distribute the offer. You must provide an easy way for people to get your offer, and ideally, it should be delivered automatically without requiring your involvement. For many of us, our offers can be distributed digitally on our websites. If you can host your offer on your own website, that is the best scenario. If you cannot, there are other websites that allow you to do these kinds of campaigns. For example, musicians can use BandCamp to deliver their music offers to consumers.
- An incentive to get consumers to pass the offer along to others. It is critical that your consumers are “reimbursed” to pass along your offer. Sometimes, their payment can be as simple as the thanks they get from their friends when they pass along funny videos. But, I would not count on that being enough. Try to find a way to offer something extra to people who will post your offer in places like their Facebook status or on their blogs. These are the people who are critical to your viral marketing success.
- A way to make the campaign profitable. Viral marketing is primarily about brand-building. But it is also a great way to sell other products, build a fan base, obtain concerts and speaking engagements, and much more. Don’t make your offer something that you can’t afford to give away. Also, set goals for what you hope to obtain from your campaign