September 24, 2009

Viral Campaign – The ultimate How to

The title of this post might induce some critics, but I am used to them, and they teach me stuff they don’t even know about. So, I like the self indulging “ultimate how to” phrasing as it is exactly what I am going to tell you.

So simple, yet one of my biggest secrets. The viral campaign has allways been an element in my basket of tricks to pull out when I want to make something profitable. Some people are talking about viral videos, some people are talking about viral content. All they are really talking about is content that someone has either 1. got really lucky to get a lot of visitors too, or 2. something of quality that someone has payed someone to bump in order for the rest of us to enjoy. Actually, most of the videos that go viral and that have a commercial undertone are bought. There are several clans that both push stuff on digg, watch stuff on youtube or spam people on twitter. If you have good content enough, and you want guaranteed results in your campaigning.. then spam is not a bad idea to start from.

However, this how to is not about spam. This how to is how you get mediocre, highly commercial content to get shared between users.

Still doing the E-mailing thing
A couple of years ago the only thing available was e-mail. At least when working with viral campaigns. I was fortunate to hook up with some rad people back in the days that understood two things. 1. people can be bought and 2. they can tell others about it if you give them incentive enough.

Fiiine said I. Quite naive at the time, I asked: “But don’t people see through your greed and start disliking you?”, the reply was simply; “Well not if you give them enough value for themselves”. The bottom line was that everyone is willing to spam everyone given the right incentive.

I know… I am using the word spam. But in fact, that is what it is. If you are a friend of someone and they have not agreed to recieve commercial messages from you, then you are in fact spamming them if you send them such a message. However… we would never think of suing a friend, no matter how many quizes or “join my group” requests they send our inboxes.

E-mail was king back then and e-mail is king right now. Until Google Wave is fully launched, I think viral e-mail campaigns are about as profitable a campaign you can make. There are too many surveys about it. When recommended by a friend to do in a certain way, people comply. Ie. if a friend recommends me to do something, I am much more likely to do it, then if a company recommends me to do the same thing.

E-mail just happens to be the most outspread social network around, and thus, it is the best one to use.

Facebook Connect, and Twitter
To the toolbox, the past two years has added some new great techniques to add on the magnificent share possibilities of e-mailing.

Facebook Connect gives you the posibility for users to easily log in and share your stuff, where ever they are, and how ever they want. At least by messaging on Facebook or posting stuff on their Facebook wall. Be it your offer, content or promotion, or perhaps just their own comment, or reflections on what you are doing. I have been too lazy (or to busy) to put Facebook Connect on this blog. But it is really worth while to do so.

Another thing is Twitter. What twitter really does is that it gives you the possibility to set up waves of news flowing all over the world in just minutes. It is amazing how people are willing to RT their friends content given there is a well enough written Tweet… Ie. the title.

So, what are the secrets to a viral campaign?
Basically there are a couple of rules you should follow not to fail.

  1. Allow people to share what ever you want them to share (doh.. just put it in here for the idiots)
  2. Allow for people to load all their contacts from MSN when sending e-mails
  3. First give a person a reason to join, then give them a reason to share
  4. Allways, I say… ALLWAYS have two values. One fixed and guaranteed, one that is not fixed and dependent upon performance
  5. Spend loads of your time on the subject (it doesn’t matter what it says as long as it looks good in most inboxes or twitter clients)
  6. Use active language on all the buttons (“claim your invites” instead of “share this”)
  7. Use the words “max”, “private” and “increase”

If your viral campaign does not comply to the seven rules stated above. It is upp to lady luck if you succeed or not.

For now that’s all I want to share 🙂

//Jesper

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