Viral Marketing Campaigns: Increasing Your Chances of Success
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Viral marketing is one of the most commonly recognized advertising tactics, but a campaign’s success can be elusive. No matter how well designed and interesting your YouTube video or internet meme might be, you are still dependent on other people to spread the word. The annals of marketing are littered with stories about viral flops, so what can you do to prevent your attempt from being added to the list? While you have no control of how the population at large will receive your efforts, there are things you can do to increases your chances of success.
Come up with a unique and brilliant concept
This is a bit obvious, but it is the most challenging part of the process, especially since many people have difficulty separating their genius ideas from their bad ones. Before you begin generating ideas, really ponder what you are trying to promote.
What is its purpose and why should people care? Identify the three most interesting things about it and focus on those characteristics.
Your concept should directly correlate to the subject’s strength while also reflecting your client’s sensibility. As you formulate ideas, scrutinize them for potential weaknesses. Can you
identify elements that are worthy of criticism or prone to mockery? Criticism and mockery are not necessarily bad things since they get people talking, but you need to imagine reinterpretations of your intent and decide if they could irreparably harm or undermine what you are trying to do. Most importantly, do a little digging to make sure your concept is original and has not already been attempted. Even if a marked resemblance is purely coincidental, you will not only incur an indelible smudge on your professional reputation and the campaign itself, but also you will forever be linked to that other campaign, which can have a whole other set of negative implications.
Execute with the highest production values possible
Your idea will involve some creative output, and, in this technology driven age, it is very easy to create videos, graphics, and design with high production values. Many people gravitate towards viral marketing because it is something you can accomplish without spending a lot of money, but that can translate into shoddy work. Usually, lack of funding requires additional investment of other resources like time and energy. Be aware of the tradeoff and do not scrimp. There is a fine line between thriftiness and cheapness, and you do not want to torpedo your efforts with stinginess. While you should operate within your constraints, budgetary and otherwise, be willing to expend whatever is necessary and available in order to realize your concept fully. Sometimes that extra amount of effort is all that is required to transform a great campaign into something extraordinary.
Start spreading the word
While it is true that you cannot guarantee your idea will spread like wildfire, you can certainly fan the flames. Once you have launched your campaign, you need to create awareness. Writing press releases, articles, and blog posts about your viral marketing campaign is one way to increase your campaign’s visibility. Of course, social media is really the key to propagation, and that begins with posting on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Ask colleagues, friends, and family to do the same. Email has become somewhat of an old school concept, but it can be just as effective if it finds its way to the right people. Just be selective about who you include on that recipient list and make sure there is a genuine rationale before clicking send. Keep in mind, however, that as important as it is to make the most of every social media platform out there, your efforts should not devolve into spam. Posting links on irrelevant websites, massive spam emails, and shoving your campaign down people’s throats will not serve you well. Thoughtful linking and dissemination, on the other hand, is necessary if you want your campaign to gain any traction.
The truth is a strong and unique concept with stellar execution will largely do the work for you. If you create something that genuinely entertains or intrigues people, your viral marketing campaign will quickly make the rounds. Of course, there is that element of the unknown, that unpredictable X factor that compels people to share and discuss your campaign. While you cannot control that elusive and indefinable quality, you can stack the deck in your favor with creativity, hard work, and thoughtful sharing.