Viral marketing is easily the most explosive method for promoting your brand or one of your products using the internet. In short, viral marketing is similar to word to mouth marketing in that it involves your marketing message being spread by your customers telling people who they know about your offer. However, with viral marketing you can explode interest in your offer through people who have never bought your products and who might never become your customers. Viral marketing is the strategy which made Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter and many other platforms on the internet VERY popular and successful.
A prime example of this Hotmail who offered free email service and added an offer in the bottom of each email for the recipient to sign up for a free Hotmail account. This created the impression that those using the Hotmail service were advocates. Also, since the offer was free, there was no impression that the users were being marketed to. This is what caused Hotmail to explode in popularity within a VERY short time period...this is the power of viral marketing.
In this article, we’ll be covering six principles of using the power of viral marketing to build your email subscriber list and promote your company website…
Viral Marketing Step #1: Prepare for Growth
Before you launch a viral marketing campaign, you must be ready for explosive growth and visitors to your website. This means checking to make sure that your web hosting account can handle a high volume of traffic and that your merchant account is ready for a sudden spike in sales. Many marketers have had their merchant accounts shut down due to a sudden increase in sales and had a hard time getting them back up and running again. Your viral marketing campaign might be a very big success, and it would be a shame if you weren’t prepared to handle the fulfillment side of it.
Viral Marketing Step #2: Capturing Contact information is the Key
There are several methods you can use to spread your marketing message, but it’s important that you have an objective before you start spreading the message. The best objective when it comes to a viral marketing campaign is to capture contact information. In fact, collecting emails is a much more effective means of viral marketing than making sales is. This is because with viral marketing, your message will be getting to a lot of people who might have never heard of you before and who will be much less likely to spend money than they will be to submit their contact information.
Once you collect the emails, you have the opportunity to market to them and build a relationship so that you can convert your email subscribers into paying customers.
Viral Marketing Step #3: A Message With a Free Offer
Once you have an objective for attracting new prospects and you’re prepared for explosive growth, you need to offer something in exchange for capturing people’s email or contact information. The offer can be a free white paper, a free E-book or a free report of some kind. However, since you’ll be asking people to submit their email address, it’s a good idea to have an offer which you can send them via email. This will eliminate the “Why is this person asking for my email?” skepticism and help you to capture more qualified email addresses.
A good approach is giving away something free right away AND offering valuable content in the form of follow-up emails. Once you have an attractive free offer ready to go, it’s time to start getting your prospects to help you spread the word….
Viral Marketing Step #4: Offer an Incentive for Spreading the Word
This is where the power of viral marketing really shines. Within your free Ebook, free report or free email mini-course, include a “refer a friend” invitation where your new subscriber can input the emails of some of their friends who they think might be interested in your free offer. Offer a reward to the person who does the inviting, which can be another free Ebook or report of some kind or even a free piece of software. Of course, you’ll need a program which automatically emails your offer to their friends and which is set up to reward the person for inviting people. Some tools which accomplish this are Viral Friend Generator, OmnistarTell, Tell a Friend Pro.
By having an incentive to your customers who are doing the inviting AND to the new invitees, you’ll have a powerful viral marketing machine which will run with little or no intervention from you. Just a few more things to do then…
Viral Marketing Step #5: Deliver Your Message with Multiple Forms of Media
Once you have your automated viral marketing system set up, it’s time to start attracting traffic to your offer page. A great way to do this is with multiple forms of media such as videos, articles, press releases and podcasts. This might sound like a lot of work, but you can deliver one message by creating a video and have that content used to create articles and press releases which promote your offer. In this message, you’ll want to offer your free mini-course which will encourage people to subscribe to your email list.
After this is complete, the next step would be to immediately make another offer to your new subscriber in return for them inviting friends to take advantage of your free opt in offer. You can include this offer on the thank you page, this way you can get your new subscriber to send out invitations when their interest is at its peak.
Viral Marketing Step #6: Explode Your Viral Marketing Campaign With a Contest
Once you have the first five steps in place, you can really explode your viral marketing campaign with a contest. In other words, offer a great prize to the subscriber who invites the most people to take advantage of your free offer. Don’t be afraid to make an investment in this prize, because the better it is the more effective your viral marketing campaign will be. It might also be a good idea to offer a prize for those who invite the second and third most people. Again, Viral Friend Generator, OmnistarTell, Tell a Friend Pro all have the capability of setting up contests and offering a prize to the subscribers who invite the most friends.
This simple process can help you to set up a viral marketing campaign that will generate a lot of interested leads for your business. Best yet, you can repeat this campaign over and over as long as you’re attracting qualified customers and effectively monetizing your subscriber list.
Anatomy of a Viral Post
It’s easy to tell someone how to write a viral piece of content. “Just make it unique and high-quality!”
Well great. Now you know you need something unique and high quality in order to get people to share. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not going to allow you to start producing potentially viral content right out of the gate.
So today, we’re breaking things down. We’re going to talk about what it means to be high-quality and unique. We’re going to talk about the factors that make a post “viral,” and what you can do—starting NOW—to dramatically increase your odds at “going viral.”
The Title Counts!
When most people think of headlines, they think of copywriting. They think of flashy sales pages promoting internet marketing products.
And it’s for good reason they think that – the headline has long been associated with sales pages and advertisements. But there’s a reason why headlines are so important. The reason is this: the headline is responsible for grabbing your reader’s attention!
If your headline’s garbage, it doesn’t matter if your post contains the most unique and high-quality content the internet has ever seen – people won’t read it.
When you sit down to write a viral post (or any post, for that matter), think of what it is exactly that makes your content unique and high quality. Think of exactly what’s in it for the reader – what they’ll learn through your article that they can’t learn anywhere else.
Let’s face it – being unique is a huge deal. Unless you’re posting pictures of cats, no one’s going to share something they’ve seen before.
This doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel… just change the way it looks. Put a new spin on a familiar topic, then show that spin in your headline.
And just because we’re using headlines, doesn’t mean they should be “salesy.” Keep them simple and straight to the point. None of these, “FINALLY! Learn the Top Secrets to Mowing the Lawn!”
Bad headline – it doesn’t really give me anything interesting to grasp on.
“How Alarm Clocks taught me to Mow the Lawn in under 20 Minutes,” on the other hand, contains few “interest triggers.” It’s not perfect, but hopefully you get the idea.
The “I Never Knew That” Moment
Your article needs to be centered around one key point. This is what we’ll call the “I never knew that” point. This is what makes content viral. Someone’s looking for a solution to their problem. They stumble upon a page that’s immediately interesting and start reading.
Halfway through the content, they hit the key point. “I never knew that!” reverberates in their mind. Their attention is captured, they learned something brand new – something unique and highly interesting.
Then they move to the “share,” “like,” and “tweet” buttons. Because whenever we find something interesting, our first instinct is to share.
If you want your content to go viral, you need to surprise your readers. You need to positively shock them. Teach them a “life hack” that helps them get their morning routine down to 10 minutes. Show them a marketing technique that gives them thousands of hot leads in five minutes.
The Two Types of Viral Content
In closing, it’s important to note there are two different types of viral content – useful and entertaining.
Hands down, the most popular form of viral content is entertaining. It’s also the easiest to “go viral” on. The downside? People don’t buy from websites that entertain them. You could have a website that’s getting 1,000,000 unique visitors a month due to entertainment, but guess how many of them are going to buy something on your site? Not too many.
Useful, on the other hand, is the absolute BEST type of viral content for an online business. Because not only does it flood your website with buying traffic, it also grows your community at an exponential rate.
Once people realize you have great, unique information they can’t get anywhere else, they’ll follow you. They’ll join your forums, follow your “twitter,” “like” your Facebook page – you name it.
If you continue to deliver on the content end, this community will become your very own viral machine. They’ll share every single post with all their social media friends. They’ll be incredibly loyal and determined to help you succeed.
Viral content’s a big deal. And it’s not as hit or miss as most internet marketers think. By capturing reader’s attention and providing a knock-out “I never knew that!” moment, your odds at going viral skyrocket.
What Viral Posts Have in Common
Content marketing is the holy grail of online business. No question about it. Through effective content marketing, you get natural backlinks, social shares, a dedicated following and loyal customers.
Of course, content marketing isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the more “difficult” ways to market your business. Because it’s not about “techniques”. Content marketing is about providing VALUE, and not everyone can do that right out of the gate.
Content marketing is a lifestyle. And until you’re willing to dedicate everything you have towards providing value in your business, you most likely won’t get the results you’re looking for.
The cornerstone of content marketing is the viral post. Through a viral post, you get thousands of unique visitors, backlinks, email subscribers… the whole nine yards.
Viral posts generally have a few factors in common – factors we’ll be discussing in this article. Use these tips in your own content marketing efforts. But, like anything else, realize that content marketing is about practice. You probably won’t hit the jackpot on the first article. But if you are consistent and follow the tips in this article, you will get there.
Let’s dive in.
Content isn’t King – QUALITY is. You can have all the content in the world… if it’s junk, filler content, nothing will come of it.
So what is quality, and where does it come from? Quality is VALUE. It’s hard work and sweat, transformed into words. I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs with valuable businesses that make a lot of money. And one thing is in common: they all SWEAT.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with an entrepreneur who had close to 2,000 email subscribers after his first month blogging on a personal “make money” blog. That’s almost unheard of in that space. How did he do it? SWEAT. I watched him spend HOURS writing content. Then rewriting it. Then editing it. Then making custom images for every post.
On top of this, every post he created was packed with value from his own life experience – mistakes he made, lessons he learned, etc. He provided VALUE with his posts. As a result, people read them, shared them, and they went viral.
Expect to spend some serious TIME and WORK writing your content. But don’t let this scare you… it’s not “bad” work. It’s very rewarding. And, when you submit your post and it goes viral, you’ll know that it was all worth it.
Viral posts are long. In general, quality content is long. Why is that? Because the longer the article, the more value you can pack into it.
But let’s get one thing clear before we move on: it’s not about LENGTH, it’s about VALUE. In other words, if you have 5,000 words of nonsense fluff, that won’t do you any good. On the other hand, if you have 5,000 words of incredible value, case studies, statistics, etc, that’s going to do a world of good for your business.
Here’s one core idea to keep in mind when writing your content: always simplify.
After you write your first draft, go over the post and delete literally EVERYTHING that can be deleted. Try and shorten it as much as possible. Then read it over again and do the exact same thing. Then do it again. And one more time! Figure out EVERYTHING you can remove that doesn’t provide massive value right out of the gate. James Altucher, one of the most popular bloggers right now, says that literally every line should be a cliffhanger. You only get this level of quality if you simplify, simplify, simplify.
Easy to Share
Lastly, make sure your articles are easy to share. It blows my mind how people can create incredible content, but make it difficult to share.
Make sure there are social buttons on your site. Don’t put them EVERYWHERE, but make them very clear. Put them before and after the post, and on the sidebar (where appropriate). Use some good taste with social media placement.
Lastly, make sure your web design is up to par. If it’s not, the odds of your post going viral decrease significantly.