By Sweta Patel
Last week I attended the inaugural Women Investing In Women Summit in San Diego. The best part of the experience was the fact that the event catered to a niche market where everyone was willing and open to helping everyone else. This was people-to-people business in real time. While I was there I was able to catch up with a few of my entrepreneur friends and colleagues and we talked about some of the challenges they were facing with their businesses. The biggest challenges of them all were marketing, sales and crafting campaigns that truly built a stable customer base.
Here are the five viral marketing secrets I shared with them based on the work I’ve done with a wide variety of clients:
The Power of The ‘Barnum Effect’
Have you ever read a horoscope based on your birthday month? How many of your friends and family resonate with the personality described? This is called the Barnum Effect, when people are able to find personal meanings in readings or sayings that are vague and apply to many people.
Now you are thinking, what does this have to do with marketing? We created a quiz for a national career-coaching service to see which career type they were. This was a quiz on Facebook that was directed to our website and it would send users a general career choice based on their personality. The best part of this quiz was that it tripled the client’s database in terms of new leads for their live events. We actually took the client from 140,000 qualified leads to just over 630,000 qualified leads in matter of three months. The moral of the story is to use astrological-like badges, sayings, or quizzes that could apply to many people. Most of the people just liked the fact that they belonged to something and they were part of the brand.
Best Practice: Use a plug-in called Survey Funnel and create a newsfeed ad around a quiz that relates to your industry.
‘Remarkability’ Reaps Rewards
Jonah Berger (author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On) talks about the concept of remarkability as an enabler of virality. People like to share things that will make them look better in front of their friends. Hence, there are so many multimedia pieces being shared everyday. For example, for our national brand house-cleaning client we created a remarkable campaign combining the “Will it Blend?” concept with house cleaning. We came up with “Will It Clean?” Their target audience was amused by the series of videos sent by email each morning. We added the “forward to a friend” button so they could forward them and share them on Facebook. This campaign grew the client’s business from three locations to six locations. How are you making your target audience look good?
Best Practice: Be different and create something worth sharing. This can be an ordinary object retuned with some creativity.
What’s Your Social Currency?
In David and the Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it is better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. Do you agree with this? In social networks we see our friends trying to impress just their friends. They would rather just have their friends find them impressive than a larger audience. Now lets takes this example to LinkedIn.
Have you noticed how LinkedIn rolled out different rankings of participants’ networks? People love sharing their rankings — their social currency — with their friends. They like to be seen as better and smarter among their friends. If you are in the top percent of your network, you are seen as an influencer. This allows you to bring value to your friends and peers in your network.
Best Practice: Create a brand advocacy program where people can share the value they bring to the group in a testimonial form or through influential shared badges.
Many of my very intelligent peers have asked me, “Sweta, do people on Facebook have a life? They are always sharing dumb things.” This is when I first realized that people like to argue over really dumb things. Large arguments over intellectual concerns are rarely see. People argue over the small things because it is fun and easy. Can your brand create a “light” controversy?
Best Practice: Ask people questions that trigger their personality. These can be preference questions, debatable questions, or even fill-in-the-blank type of questions.
The Secret Community
Most people prefer to work with the people they like. When you work with your friends or people who are like-minded, then the work is just more fun! When your biggest fans and customers feel like they are insiders, the outsiders want to be part of it as well — just to see what they are missing out on! We just launched an informational product for one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the female business market. She saw a revenue increase from $30,000 to nearly $90,000 per month when we added a “Secret Members-Only Facebook Group and Forum” to the mix. Now she is hosting and live-streaming her talks all over the U.S. and Canada. (Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a free ticket — $2500 value — to one of her VIP events!)
Best Practice: Create an informational product that helps the business work around a community and work with the words. For example, studies have shown that more people buy when it is 75% lean meat versus 25% fat. Even though it is the same thing, people make purchases based on the wording.
Sweta Patel is a San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur whose company is Global Marketing Tactics.
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