After raising brand awareness through viral marketing, you should be organized and have your sales and marketing teams ready to drive lead generation and increase sales.
Every person who starts and runs a start-up company, running digitally and/or physically, holds one key purpose: to raise brand awareness as soon as possible while being cost-efficient. While technological developments and the rapid increase of e-commerce makes it easier for people to start working on their own ideas, at the same time it makes it more difficult by having to face international competition, regardless of the niche market you choose.
Brand awareness is the extent that people and future customers are aware of your brand, products. services, personality, identity, logo, and all these characteristics that set you apart from other similar companies. As a start-up owner, you aim to do that as fast as possible, but your resources and budget do not allow you to go all-in. As such, you are considering many options, discussing with experts, friends, colleagues, but you are not sure which way to go.
But, let’s make this simple: you have a start-up, your brand is not popular, you don’t have too many resources or a great budget to spend, but you have the willingness to work and make it work.
Then, the answer is one. You have to use viral marketing and leverage virality techniques.
What is viral marketing?
Viral marketing is a form of marketing that operates organically and through word-of-mouth; it’s based on leveraging free – usually – channels that allow a specific message to be reached to the greatest possible audience and engage your audience to keep sharing the message.
Viral marketing needs a precise, comprehensive project management schedule, social media accounts, and choosing the right free email marketing service for your business, allowing you to communicate with your audience in a personalized and segmented manner.
- Social Media: Make Your Message Go Round
Fortunately, or unfortunately, social media are the center of digital marketing evolution. As people feel the need to connect and communicate with others, social media will keep playing a vital part in every marketing campaign.
Social media give you the opportunity to design, share and interact with your audience in meaningful ways. However, this cannot be done if you focus on vanity metrics (such as likes), but on KPIs, which mean something for the results of growing your brand awareness.
Create short campaigns, easily-understood, strong-worded with bright visuals that engage the audience and add a clear CTA. Not any call, but a specific one that will make every person feel that there is something to be gained by sharing your content.
- Video Marketing is Your Dark Horse
As BuzzSumo has shown, both in 2017 and 2018 reports, the most shared content on social media is video. With Facebook “supporting” only valuable content, video is highly promoted and increases your chance of making it.
But, regardless of Facebook, video is a strong visual medium that increases your virality on all social media campaigns, email marketing campaigns, and your website engagement. By adding a piece of engaging, authentic and original video that matches your brand identity, you will see a great improvement in your engagement rates.
Make sure that your general content, but also video content, is SEO-friendly and that you haven’t accidentally made SEO mistakes that will make your content under-perform.
For example, the greatest case of proper viral marketing is the advertisement of the Dollar Shave Club. Not only did it manage to go viral in no time, but it also created the demand for its services.
- Use Gamification to Engage
Gamification marketing is to create, design and implement marketing campaigns that add elements of gaming in the process. It can be as simple as collecting coupons to get a prize or as complicated as creating a new mobile application. For example, TGIFs restaurants apply “gaming elements” by collecting points and getting discounts at certain levels. Or Nike created a game, where people wearing the new Nike shoes got to “play” in the virtual world, running.
Also, gamification marketing can have a social impact and be used for a greater purpose. Let’s take for example the Fun Theory Website. They managed to create a viral marketing campaign while working towards a more fun, green, and just society.
- Customer Loyalty and Referrals Work Better Together
More and more companies engage in customer loyalty programs with millions of businesses offering something different. Customer loyalty is defined by the desire and willingness of a customer to engage with you, buy from you, and work with you rather than any other company that might offer similar services.
So, the way forward is not to build just a point-system for your loyal customers, or give them a few prizes and free products. The best way is to create a community for your start-up customers, a referral customer loyalty program. As your customers increase, so will their referrals and your community. This will further engage them and you will slowly create your own brand advocates.
Especially if you operate your start-up digitally and use Shopify, there are many ways to analyze and see what works better. There are a few analytics tools that can be included in the best Shopify apps, but you should always see what works better for your viral marketing campaigns and what provides you better and more detailed data.
- Boost Your Email Marketing Campaigns
This is a part that most people talking about viral marketing will not include. However, integrating email marketing campaigns into your viral marketing projects is the best thing you can do. Why?
As using social media, content marketing, referrals, and gaming elements might not reach all your database, you should utilize email marketing. By using segmentation, personalization, and targeted audiences of your subscribers, you will manage to reach them with the specific campaign you wish.
Pro Tip: Before sending out email marketing campaigns, run an email deliverability test, which will ensure that your emails reach your subscribers. Otherwise, you will have wasted an opportunity to create momentum.
It’s up to you
Running a start-up is a journey with a clear destination, but without a specific way to reach it. You can ask around, take opinions and advice, but it will never do the trick. You have to start testing different channels, projects, campaigns to find out what fits your start-up brand identity. Your messages should be concrete, strongly-worded, target-oriented, and shareable.
Viral marketing techniques are here to help you and provide better results in a short time, but this doesn’t guarantee your long-term success. After raising brand awareness through viral marketing, you should be organized and have your sales and marketing teams ready to drive lead generation and increase sales.
What are your thoughts? What would you do differently?
Let me know what you think and I’ll be happy to chat with you.