Today we’re learning about Viral Marketing from Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University course taught by David Meerman Scott (don’t forget to check out last week’s post on Inbound Marketing with Facebook and LinkedIn). Scott talks to the class about how to make yourself marketable for viral expansion on the web, or, as he refers to it, being a world wide rave.
Who Are Your Buyers?
When setting up a viral marketing campaign, Scott’s first suggestion is to get to know your buyer personas, and get a concept of how you intend to create individual demographics for the people you are trying to reach. Make sure you are really catering to your target audience, and that you have that audience well defined.
What Do You Want People To Believe About You?
Once you have your buyer personas figured out, think about what do you want your buyer to believe about your organization? Scott gives the example of Volvo wanting to express their viral marketing campaign for safety, and Obama’s drive towards change. In Obama’s case, he promoted himself not as a product, but rather by what he wanted his buyer personas (American voters) to believe about him.
So, now that you know who you’re trying to reach with your viral marketing campaign, and what you want your audience to think about you, you need to earn their attention! Now, the old rules used to be that you needed to buy attention with advertising, beg for attention through PR and the media, or bug for attention by direct selling. Here’s the new rule: earn attention by creating something great! You can now publish your way into being a world wide rave (a viral marketing genius) through things like blogs and ebooks (like Scott’s New Rules of Viral Marketing). Ebooks help to create inbound links, which does nothing but increase the number of people gaining information about you and your product. But Scott also reminds (and warns), “on the web, you ARE what you publish…”
Scott’s next suggestion is simple: play nice—online viral marketing is all about the people. In my opinion, you get back what you put out there, so if it’s positive, you’re viral marketing campaign is positive, you’re likely to get that back, but if viral marketing is negative, well…same deal. Take Scott Ableman and M3 for example.
Ok, you know viral marketing is about the people, who those people are, and to play nice, so how do you get their attention? Keep in mind that nobody cares about your products, it sounds harsh, I know. But what they care about is: themselves, their problems, and solving their problems—hopefully with your products! And something else you might be adverse to at first—lose control of your viral marketing campaign. Just let go and let people do what they do and share your great product with others. Why? Because it helped them, so they will share their genius finds with others who are trying to solve similar problems. This is essential if you want to get people to share your viral content, otherwise you’re putting a gate on your information; would you rather have the 1 email address from the person who said, “ok, I’ll give out my email to see this ebook,” or 20 people exposed to your information and sharing it (because you didn’t make them give anything in return for your amazing content, so people more readily downloaded your ebook)? Sharing it!
And the final thing you have to do, according to Scott? Manage fear. Yes, viral marketing is relatively new and could be scary for some; but it works. The thing is, you have nothing to lose! You can always delete it if it’s not working out.
So go create some great, valuable content, give it away for free, and see if it goes viral! And of course, don’t forget to check in next week for a lesson on Advanced SEO.
Copyblogger on Viral Marketing