Viral Marketing Example
“Word of mouth is NOT a marketing channel.”
With those words, in my first book Big Ideas… for Small Businesses, I made my opinion pretty clear on the validity of word of mouth when it comes to marketing.
“Word of mouth is often code for “I don’t do any marketing at all” – people who reply on word of mouth alone, literally do NOTHING to influence how many new customers they get. They’re completely in the hands of fate – they have this Kevin Costner Syndrome, where they think “if I build it, they will come” – well not if they don’t even know you exist, they won’t!
If ‘word of mouth’ is your biggest source of new customers, then you’re in trouble. Sure, you might be getting by right now, but you’re not in control of the flow of new customers – so how can you plan staffing levels, investment in new technology, the growth of the business, when you’re not even in control of how many people come through your door?”
What is Viral Marketing?
Viral Marketing is where word of mouth meets Direct Response marketing.
Word of mouth happens when people randomly tell their friends about your product or service. Viral Marketing happens when you ask – and even expect – your customers to spread the word.
Word of Mouth marketing is accidental, whereas Viral Marketing is deliberate. Word of Mouth involves simply creating a great product, and crossing your fingers, hoping for the best.
By contrast, Viral Marketing involves baking word-of-mouth-generating processes into the product or service itself.
It’s helpful to think of your Viral Marketing efforts in terms of a virus. The sole aim of a virus is to replicate itself – to spread to another host. And so it should be for your marketing assets – each customer should generate more custom for you.
Viral Marketing Examples
In my book Evergreen Assets, I championed Viral Assets as one of the six asset classes required to run a successful small business.
Some of the Viral Marketing examples that I described include:
- Case Studies
- Referral Systems
- Your Network
However, there are two viral marketing techniques that are more powerful than any other, and incredibly easy to implement:
- A culture of referrals. If our goal is to create a referral culture where our customers bring their friends along too, then we should make that desired culture crystal clear from day one: “Our customers refer their friends and colleagues to us. That’s what happens around here. That’s what we do. That’s what you should do too.”
This could be as simple as stating “Did you know? 67% of our business comes from referrals.” or asking the question “Who do you know who would make a good client?”It could mean publicly thanking each person who refers business to you.
You could send a small gift to show your appreciation. Or you could remind a client that they themselves were introduced by a friend – and encourage them to think of someone else they could refer.
You might even insist on a referral as a condition of taking them on as a client in the first place! Legendary Direct Response Marketer Jay Abraham achieved a 50% referral rate (yep, fifty out of one hundred clients came from referrals) for a health club by asking new members to commit to referring their friends if (and only if) they achieved the results they were looking for.
- Ask, and ye shall receive. Most small businesses simply don’t ask for referrals – they rely purely on word of mouth, so that’s easily resolved. Ask and ye shall receive.Do you have a blog? Simply add an extra line to the end of each post – “If you enjoyed this article, please send it to a friend.”You can of course make it easy for them here by adding some code to email it to a friend, share it on social networks, or simply paste the URL to their clipboard.
But don’t miss the opportunity to remind readers of that culture of referrals – “71% of our readers were sent by a friend.”
My Viral Marketing Example
Social network sharing buttons on your website can also help to spread the word – when the trigger is shown at the right time. I used to own a website that fooled visitors into believing they’d been caught speeding.
This resulted in an invitation to view an image allegedly taken by the speed camera. When users click to view the image, they didn’t see a still of their vehicle speeding down the road, but rather a picture of a monkey pulling a funny face, together with a “gotcha!” message – and an invitation to fool a friend, together with social sharing buttons.
I owned the website for more than ten years, and it used to get around 250 visitors a day. One day, I noticed a massive spike in traffic – more than 30,000 in one day! The website had been picked up by LADbible, and featured on their social media channels. 30,000 birds, with one stone!
But that wasn’t the end of the story – because I had viral marketing assets on my website, encouraging the newly fooled to trick their mates, with social sharing triggers displayed at the point of the “reveal”, I received a further 25,000 hits on day two.
Day three saw 18,000, and although the traffic slowed, my viral marketing ensured that clicks were still coming in six weeks later – meaning one post (and a Viral Asset), turned 30,000 people into 250,000+.
A quarter of a million hits, with one stone (and some viral assets).
Want More Viral Marketing Examples?
My bestselling book Evergreen Assets will help you turn one customer into more than one – ensuring that you need never rely on word of mouth again!
With hundreds of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews, Evergreen Assets is helping small business owners throughout the UK to fully leverage the viral marketing examples contained within the book, and implement them in their business.
“Putting it into practice really does work!
There is some really practical advice that can very easily be put into place by following the framework. It doesn’t have to be done in the order of the book. I follow the framework for case studies and testimonials and now have over 80 quality (and meaningful) testimonials on google along with case studies. I’ve also started work on my email list and (as per in the book) got help from an expert rather than spending time trying to do it all myself!
Great read and as said (plus I got the audio too!) – I’m already putting this stuff into practice and I’m definitely seeing the difference already. Thank you!”
– Graham A Baker, Amazon Review.
Best of all, you can get a FREE chapter of Evergreen Assets here.
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