The term “viral marketing” can be seen as offensive, or “low brow”. The implication that anything is viral is soemthing nobody really wants to be associated with, but lets look at the name for a second or two – marketing we all know about and is the process of publicising your brand, product or services to a mass audience. Thats the nice part of the term. Now we come onto the word viral or virus….not a nice thing to think about, but what we are looking at here is the way in which a virus spreads. One person walks into Liverpool Street station carrying a virus. He doesn’t even know he has it, as at the moment its just lurking. By the time he has left the station, having simply walked past about 500 people, nearly half of them have a version of the virus themselves. They each go about their daily business, and before you know it half of London has the bug. Viral marketing follows the same kind of principle, but we want our users to pro-actively spread the messages we are giving them.
We want to be able to put your message out onto one website, and have it spread organically around the web. Each person who then puts the information onto their website will then allow it to spread to their users, contacts and viewers. The process repeats exponentially until your content is spread over a huge amount of websites – many of which you will never have heard of. If you remember the T-Mobile advert from a year or so back with the “Flashdance” scenes in Liverpool Street train station, this was modern viral marketing at its very best. The advert had entertainment value and was something that had not been seen before. As soon as it had been screened, users went actively searching for it on YouTube, then posted this to their own FaceBook profiles, tweeted about it (with links) and started discussing it on the various other social channels available. Blog posts suddenly mushroomed all over the place, and in total within 4 weeks the advert had been viewed over 10 million times on the official upload alone – this doesn’t take into account the huge amounts of re-uploaded videos that were created. These views spread far beyond the original targeted advertising zone and helped spread the brand message to a massive demographic with each and every user being given the slogan “Lifes for sharing”.
The lesson for smaller businesses (who probably cant afford Saatchi and Saatchi to create this kind of campaign) is that this advert went into the viral marketing category for three reasons:
- It was entertaining. Plain and simple, there was a reason that users felt they should share it with their friends. By sharing they were adding value to their contacts lives for a few minutes. Viral marketing has to have a motivation factor, a reason for the people who see it to pass the message along, in whatever form the message comes
- It was unique. In a world where people are constantly bombarded with messages, slogans and marketing from all kinds of business, this stood out a ssomething that was different. Think about it, would you bother telling your friend that there was a sale in a greeting card shop (unless you knew they were looking for a card at that exact moment). Viral marketing needs to have something about it that stands out from the crowd, so that when it is spread by users they genuinely feel they are telling their friends something which they didn’t already know.
- It was unexpected. At the time this advert was released (January 2009) this was not a normal thing for television adverts. Sitting down watching the TV, or online and clicking a picture of a train station at rush hour, few people expected the scene that unfolds. As an individual, you want to pass this on to see your friends reactions as they watch it, or to hear there reactions via online discussion. Your own viral marketing needs to carry a factor of surprise – something that makes your readers/viewers/listeners mentally go “wow!”. If you can actually make them say “wow!” then you know you have hit the right note.
The Flosee Viral Marketing Approach
We can’t claim to be the kind of company that can come up with a T-Mobile style campaign for your business, for that kind of thing you would need to see a specialist firm and probably hand over a large amount of cash. However what we can do is to frame your message in a way that hits the three criteria of viral marketing, and help you to structure your promotional activity in an way which stands out from your competition. To recap, the three main criteria of viral marketing are:
So we use the various social media platforms to construct a campaign which hits these buttons, and which adds instant bang to your website activity. However, the way in which we go about our campaign ensures that there is also a longer term benefit gained through search engine optimisation, encouraging users to place links to your content and putting the content alongside information which encourages involvement with your brand.
Viral marketing pricing
Every single viral marketing campaign will have a different set of criteria for success, a different message and a different set of target audiences. For this reason, this is one area where we dont offer any “off the shelf” pricing, but rather build a whole viral marketing campaign which focusses on the goals for your individual business.
If you would like to discuss the various methods and techniques we can use to set your brand free on the web, please get in touch with us for an informal discussion about your viral marketing.