3 Ways to Tell If Your Marketing Has the Goods to Go Viral

3 Ways to Tell If Your Marketing Has the Goods to Go Viral

Today consumers are inundated daily with shocking television commercials, viral videos and social media ads. So you’re probably not surprised at the lengths many companies and nonprofit organizations go to capture your attention in the hopes that their creations go “viral”.

You may even feel inspired by the really good ones enough to launch your own viral marketing campaign. According to social media scientist Dan Zarella, viral marketing is a strategy by which a marketer creates a campaign focused around the goal of causing viewers of that promotion to spontaneously spread it by sending it to friends.

But you need to make sure that your marketing benefits your business, instead of damaging it. How do you venture beyond your comfort zone to successfully attract business instead of repelling it? Let’s review some successful company campaigns and the right stuff they had in place to succeed.

1. You resonate with your target audience.

3 Ways to Tell If Your Marketing Has the Goods to Go Viral

Does your marketing speak directly to the people you want to attract? Will it easily be communicated on social media with creative copy and imagery that compels people to share? Will you partner with a charity or another business to amplify your reach? Are you choosing content for the sake of shocking people into learning more about your business, or does your content give an authentic voice to your cause or product?

For example, Geico’s camel in their Hump Day commercials (always puts a smile on my face) or the slim downed dancing hamsters in KIA cars work for these companies because their cheeky ads are directed to a specific audience. But this same anthropomorphic shtick wouldn’t work for couture designers or jewelers who are selling to a luxury market.

One of my favorite marketing campaigns was from a few years ago when Lush Cosmetics joined Shark Savers to ban the shark fin trade and consumption. The company invited the public to its North American stores to sign petitions to their local government officials, demanding that they outlaw the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins. In partnership with marine conservation organization Shark Savers, LUSH asked the public to pledge not to eat shark fin soup. And in a dramatic illustration of how sharks are caught on longlines and slaughtered for their fins, a LUSH employee was suspended by shark hooks inside a San Francisco LUSH store. The company also created a limited edition product, Shark Fin Soap made of seaweed and sea salt with 100% of the proceeds going to Shark Savers’ work. The campaign attracted both worldwide media and new customers.

2. You see value in funding an impactful budget.

Once you have chosen a campaign theme and possibly a partnership that works for you, it’s key to invest in high quality, professional images, graphics and copywriting that make a big impact with your audience. It’s up to you to invest in the resources and advertising that will give your marketing campaign the best chances of being seen by your target market.

Alex and Ani is one company heavily investing in its viral marketing efforts. The jeweler’s SuperBowl commercial, ‘Main Street America’ was voted #8 in effectiveness by BrandAds and is a favorite commercial of mine for its beauty and simple message. Main Street has long been a part of the cultural fabric of America: the essence of our thriving economy. It’s where people gather to live, work and play and the jewelry company recaptured Main Street, America in its commercial attracting customers nationwide who believe in purchasing products made in the U.S.A. It was relatable to many people on so many levels.

Okay so you may not have the blockbuster budget to create a television commercial or purchase SuperBowl airtime like Alex and Ani, but you can hire a highly-recommended local videographer to capture your vision in video, which can then be added to your website for sharing on your social accounts and with interested media and bloggers.

Next week, inBLOOM’s Julia Palazzo will write about her success participating in, and marketing, a lip dub video to Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off” she created with Phi Sigma Sigma’s Gamma Nu Chapter at Rutgers University. The video has received over 48,000 views so far and they are on their way to raising more than $40,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, inspiration for the video.

3. You understand the needs of your media contacts.

Will your campaign attract the attention of local, regional or national media? Are you sharing information or a story that resonates with the media outlet’s audience? Does your campaign include statistical information of interest to others? Will bloggers find your materials professional, engaging, and helpful to their subscribers? Do you have an authentic story to tell or does your pitch come across as a marketing stunt to get coverage?

If you understand your target market, then you’ll easily have a sense of which media to pitch your release with details on the marketing campaign. If you’re co-branding with a business or nonprofit, then you’ll often have a broader reach.

When contacting the media, make sure to do your homework and only share information that is necessary. Clogging their inbox with large files and lengthy releases will end your campaign before its even begun.

Be sure to also signup for HARO alerts. Help A Reporter Out connects news sources with journalists. You just never know the type of content reporters may be looking for that you have to offer. But respond quickly because HARO has grown to gigantic subscriber proportions and many people have their eyeballs on the inquiries for sources.

Overall, if your new marketing is entertaining, professional, and true to your company values and vision, it should be successful and go “viral”. You’ll also have fun creating and promoting it!

cover photo: miuenski

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Jennifer Smiga
Jennifer founded inBLOOM Communications to help brands bloom in a digital world. inBLOOM’s team of writers, designers, publicists and marketing specialists excel at converting followers to customers. inBLOOM’s clients benefit from Jennifer’s experience in donor relations, marketing, public relations and event production.

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