Marketing
Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing Strategies - How to Go Viral?

January 20, 2023
9
min read
By
Uttam Gupta
Marketer
,
GrowthSchool
Reviewed by
Sindhu Biswal
Growth Head
,
Betterhalf
Contents

Viral marketing is a powerful and cost-effective way to reach out to large audiences, build brand awareness, and generate leads.

It relies on the creation of content, products, services, and experiences that people find interesting enough to share with their friends or followers.

By leveraging different elements of viral marketing and using creative storytelling, you can get your message shared far and wide. But how do you go about doing this when competition is cut-throat?

In this article, we dig into how to do viral marketing through some impactful strategies that will supercharge your business to go viral.

Note that these viral marketing strategies are not quick fixes and require dedication, time, and effort to be successful.

Big Scaling The Business

"Big scaling" in businesses is a strategy that aims to quickly and dramatically increase the size of a business or customer base, often through viral marketing tactics. The goal is to achieve rapid and exponential growth by leveraging the network effect, where a product or service becomes more valuable as more people use it.

Big scaling by itself can fuel virality, as the rapid growth and increased visibility of a company can lead to more people talking about it, which in turn can lead to more growth. This is because when a company or product becomes popular quickly, it can create a sense of excitement and buzz, which can lead to people wanting to learn more about it and tell others about it. This is known as the network effect, where a product or service becomes more valuable as more people use it.

When a company or product is rapidly scaling, it can have a domino effect where more people become aware of it, and in turn, more people decide to try it, leading to more people talking about it. When people see their friends, family, and social media connections talking about a product or service, they are more likely to consider trying it themselves and tell their own connections about it. This creates a snowball effect that can lead to significant growth in a short period of time.

Additionally, when a company or product becomes popular quickly, it can also lead to increased media coverage and coverage by industry influencers. This can further fuel the viral spread, as traditional media and influencers can reach a large and diverse audience, which can lead to more people becoming aware of the company or product.

Therefore, big scaling can fuel virality as it leads to more visibility and buzz, and this visibility and buzz can lead to more people talking about the company or product, thus creating a network effect that drives further growth.

Embedding Your Product or Service In Other Platforms

Embedding a product or service into other platforms, apps, or websites is an effective way to make a business go viral because it allows the product or service to reach a larger audience more quickly. By partnering with other companies or platforms, businesses can leverage the existing user base of those platforms to promote their product or service to a wider audience.

One example of this is the case of Uber, which has embedded its app into other apps, such as Google Maps, to increase its visibility and reach more users. When users open Google Maps to plan a trip, they can see the option to order an Uber directly from the app, which makes it more convenient for users to use Uber's service. This helped Uber to increase its user base quickly as people were already using Google Maps as a tool for transportation. Adding the option to book a ride with Uber within the app made it even more convenient for the users.

Another example is the way social media platform like Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms embedded their "shopping" feature into their apps, which allowed brands to post a shopping icon on their posts; it made it easy for users to purchase products they see on the app, this embedded feature helped e-commerce businesses to drive more sales.

Embedding a product or service in other platforms can also provide valuable insights into how users interact with the product or service, which can help to improve it. Additionally, it can help to build trust and credibility with users, as they are more likely to try a product or service that is integrated into a platform they already use and trust.

It's important to note that for this strategy to be effective, it's important to identify the right platforms to embed the product or service and make sure that it adds real value to the existing user base. Identifying the right partnerships and platforms can be the key to success in terms of making a business go viral and scaling quickly.

Creating 'AHA' Content

The term "AHA" in viral marketing refers to the "aha!" moment, which is the moment when someone comes across a piece of content and is immediately struck by how interesting, surprising, or valuable it is.

This "aha!" moment is thought to be one of the key factors that drive people to share content with others, and thus the AHA score is a measure of how likely a piece of content is to generate that kind of reaction.

The AHA score is a combination of multiple factors that are believed to be indicators of the "aha" moment, such as the level of engagement, virality, the time spent on site, etc.

It's a metric that some companies use to evaluate the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, that is, how likely the message is going to be shared.

Building Content Boundaries and Guidelines

Creating content boundaries and guidelines is an important way to make sure the message is consistent, clear, and on brand. This helps create brand awareness and trust, as users know what to expect from the company's content.

The boundaries and guidelines should include things like tone of voice, topics to be discussed, the language used in communications, etc. It's important to note that these boundaries and guidelines should be flexible enough so that content creators have the freedom to come up with innovative ideas yet still stay loyal to the core brand message.

In addition, it's also important to have a system in place that identifies and flags any content that might be inappropriate or offensive. This helps companies avoid potential controversies and uphold their image as responsible creators.

Increasing Switching Costs

Switching costs are the expenses or effort that a customer incurs when they decide to switch from one product or service to another. These costs can be monetary, such as the cost of purchasing a new product or service, or non-monetary, such as the effort required to learn how to use a new product or service.

For example, many broadband internet providers in India ask for a refundable deposit when opting for a new connection. However, the user can get a refund only after using the connection for a specific period of 2 or 3 years. That way, the user's cost to switch to a new connection goes up from zero to whatever the deposit amount was.

Raising switching costs can be an excellent viral marketing strategy because it makes it more difficult and less attractive for customers to switch to a competitor's product or service. This can help increase customer retention and loyalty, leading to increased brand loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.

So, how do you increase your brand's switching cost?

There are several ways to raise switching costs for a product or service, including:

  1. Creating unique features: By developing unique features or capabilities that are not available in competing products or services, businesses can make it more difficult for customers to switch.
  2. Building a strong brand: Building a strong brand can make it more difficult for customers to switch to a competitor's product or service, as they may be more loyal to the brand they know and trust.
  3. Building a loyal customer base: Encouraging customer loyalty by providing excellent customer service and support, and developing a strong community around the product or service, can make it more difficult for customers to switch.
  4. Integration: Building a product that is highly integrated into the customer's workflow, making it difficult to remove or switch with other products; this can be done through APIs or other forms of integration.
  5. Cost: Raising the cost of switching to a competitor's product or service by increasing the price of the product or service or requiring customers to pay a penalty to switch.

It's worth mentioning that raising switching costs is not always an ethical strategy, and it's important to provide added value to the customer and not lock them in by creating barriers without value, so it's crucial to be aware of the regulatory laws and limitations of the strategy before implementing it.

Create a Viral Loop

Josiah Humphrey - Medium
A viral loop is a process that encourages existing customers to bring in new customers, leading to exponential growth. It is a viral marketing strategy that focuses on creating a self-sustaining cycle of growth, where each new customer brings in more new customers. A viral loop can be thought of as a "viral feedback loop" that amplifies the impact of viral marketing.

A viral loop can be broken down into three main stages:

  1. Acquisition: This is the stage where a business acquires new customers through various marketing channels.
  2. Activation: This is the stage where new customers are "activated" by using the product or service, and they start to engage with it.
  3. Referral: This is the stage where existing customers refer new customers through word-of-mouth, referral codes, or other means.

The key to creating a successful viral loop is to design the product or service in such a way that it is easy and incentivized for customers to share with others. For example, by creating referral programs that reward customers for bringing in new customers or by creating a product or service that is inherently shareable, like a social media app.

The viral loop also refers to a concept in which the customer's behavior influences their friend's behavior, and their friends' behavior influences the customer's behavior. The loop continues, spreading the message and creating exponential growth.

Induce Urgency

Inducing urgency is a viral marketing strategy that aims to create a sense of time pressure for customers to take action, such as making a purchase or referring friends. It can be an effective way to drive quick and significant growth by encouraging customers to act fast and share the product or service with others.

There are several ways to induce urgency in a viral marketing campaign, such as:

  1. Limited time offers: Offering a promotion or discount for a limited time period, such as 24 hours or while supplies last, can create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to act fast.
  2. Scarcity: Creating a sense of scarcity by limiting the availability of a product or service can induce urgency. For example, a flash sale with a limited amount of stock or a limited number of spots can create a sense of urgency and drive sales.
  3. Fear of missing out (FOMO): Creating a sense of FOMO by highlighting that a product or service is highly sought after or in high demand can induce urgency.
  4. Exclusivity: Creating a sense of exclusivity by offering a product or service only to a select group of people can induce urgency. For example, beta testing and early access to a new product.
  5. Time-sensitive events: Creating a sense of urgency by highlighting that an event is happening soon, such as a webinar, workshop, or live stream, can encourage people to act fast and join in.
Urgency can create a negative impact on customer experience if it's done excessively, it's crucial to balance the sense of urgency and use it as a tool to create a sense of excitement, not pressure.

Use Referral Marketing

Referral marketing is a type of viral marketing that relies on existing customers to refer new customers to a business or product. It is based on the idea that the best form of marketing is word-of-mouth and that existing customers are more likely to trust the recommendations of their friends and family than traditional marketing messages.

This strategy leverages the power of social networks, making it easy for customers to share products and services with their friends and family. It can help to quickly and dramatically increase the reach of a product or service, leading to exponential growth.

Referral marketing is often cheaper than traditional forms of marketing, as it relies on existing customers to do the heavy lifting of spreading the word about a product or service. As a by-product, it can increase customer retention by creating a sense of loyalty and engagement with a product or service, as customers are more likely to stick with a product or service that they have recommended to others.

Further, referrals increase trust and credibility for a brand or product, as people are more likely to trust the recommendations of their friends and family than traditional advertising. This translates into an increase in conversions.

By implementing referral marketing as a component of your viral marketing strategy, you can increase customer retention and drive new customer acquisition through the trust and social proof generated by word-of-mouth recommendations.

Think Vernacular

Creating content in vernacular languages can be a way for your brand to target specific niche groups or communities. For example, if you want to target customers in a certain geographic region, such as a country or city, creating content in the local language can be an effective way to reach that audience. Additionally, if you want to target a specific ethnic or cultural group, creating content in the language spoken by that group can also be a good strategy.

However, creating content in vernacular languages may not attract a global audience. In fact, limiting the language of the content, could actually reduce the reach of the content to an extent.

It's important for brands to balance the desire to reach a specific niche group with the need to reach a broader audience. You should consider the size of the target audience and the potential reach of the content when deciding which languages to create content in.

For example, a brand that targets primarily to English speaking people could still reach a global audience by creating content in English, whereas a brand targeting a regional audience in a country where the majority of the population speaks different languages and dialects can reach a larger audience by creating content in those vernacular languages.

When it comes to content, a multilingual strategy can help a brand expand its reach and connect with a broader range of people. For example, a brand might create content in English for a global audience and then translate that content into different vernacular languages for specific regions or groups.

Overall, creating content in vernacular languages can be an effective way for brands to reach niche groups and communities, but it's important to carefully consider the target audience and potential reach of the content before deciding which languages to use.

Helpful Viral Marketing Tools

In addition to the strategies outlined above, there are many helpful tools and technologies that can help brands with their viral marketing efforts. Here are just a few:

  1. Buzzsumo: This tool allows you to search for the most popular content on a particular topic across various social media platforms. You can use this information to identify the types of content that resonate with your target audience and to get inspiration for your own viral campaigns.
  2. Google Trends: This tool can track the popularity of specific keywords and topics over time, which can help you identify current trends and popular subjects to focus on in your viral marketing campaigns.
  3. Canva: This graphic design tool allows you to easily create visually stunning graphics, infographics, and other types of content that can be used in viral marketing campaigns.
  4. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer: The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer analyzes headlines, providing feedback on their performance potential and suggestions for improving them. Headlines are one of the most important factors in creating viral content, so this tool can help you craft one that will stand out.
  5. Hootsuite: This social media management tool allows you to manage multiple social media accounts from one platform, schedule posts in advance, and track analytics to help you measure the success of your viral marketing campaigns.
  6. SEMrush: This tool provides insights about the search engine ranking, traffic, and backlinks of a website, helping to understand which content strategies are working for the competition and identify new opportunities for your own viral campaigns.

Wrapping Up

Going viral is a dream for many marketers and businesses. It has the potential to bring immense amounts of traffic and increase brand awareness. But it's not something that happens by chance; it takes a well-planned and executed viral marketing strategy.

Viral marketing is a powerful tool for increasing customer acquisition and strengthening brand loyalty. It can help to quickly and dramatically increase the reach of a product or service, leading to exponential growth.

It's also essential to remember that viral marketing is not about tricking or manipulating the audience but about creating authentic and relatable content that resonates with them.

While it may seem daunting, with a well-crafted strategy, a strong understanding of your audience, and a little luck, you can achieve viral success.

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