By Dvora Goldstein

Compete

Generating viral buzz has been an integral part of any business’ strategy. However, it goes beyond simply having a social media presence and sharing content that is potentially shareable and likeable. Viral marketing involves knowing your audience, what clicks with them, and ensuring you follow through.

Here are a few tips and best practices for effective viral marketing.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Viral marketing is not trial-and-error. You need to have a solid visibility over your audience. Use analytics tools to know where they come from, their preferences. Segment your audience, so that you can target the right message toward the right sets or subsets.

Free tools like Google Analytics can help here, because you’ll gain valuable insight into various aspects of your audience, including where they’re coming to you from, what path through your website they take, how long they’re spending on your website, and more.

If you’re not sure what your audience will respond to better, use a tool like Optimizely to get help with split testing your audience, and optimize the experience for them across your website and mobile apps.

Tools like Compete let you dig into what your competitors are doing.

Compete is used by many companies to compare metrics against competitors.

In the end, you’ll get more information about your audience so you can make better-educated decisions to make the most of your online campaigns to and increase your market share.

Bulletproof Your Infrastructure

What good is a successful campaign if it brings your website down? On average, businesses lose anywhere from $84,000 to $108,000 every hour their website or application is down. Make sure your server will not lag or bog down when you get tens of thousands of concurrent users reading your content. You can bulletproof your infrastructure by running your website, service or application on an elastic or scalable infrastructure like cloud hosting.

With a high availability infrastructure, you’re assured that no single point of failure can bring down your entire online service. Your audience or customers can rest assured that you will be available 99.999 percent of the time.

Create Top-Notch Content

Sure, you may be tempted to simply reuse viral memes or take images from other people’s work. To some extent, you can co-opt these potentially viral bits and pieces. But it’s disappointing for a reader to click on an interesting headline only to find rehashed nonsense. Make original content. Stand out from the crowd.

Spend time creating a single piece of content that can be repurposed in a number of ways. This case study examines how a single session used to record video and audio turns into 10 pieces of content for one company.

  • Primary video is uploaded either as a YouTube channel video, or an iTunes video podcast. Video is embedded on the blog.
  • Audio becomes a podcast embedded on the blog, and added to the iTunes podcast channel.
  • MP3 file is transcribed via outsourcing. Transcript is used to create a blog post, a guest post for another website, and caption/transcript/subtitles on YouTube.

Follow Through

What good is a viral hit if you don’t get anything out of it but page views? Make sure you optimize your content for conversion. Have solid calls-to-action. Make sure the conversion path is easy.

Use TrenDemon to identify the effective conversion paths and traffic sources, so you can follow through and bring more visitors to the conversion path. You’ll get content recommendations and help with calls to action. Because it integrates with a number of tools you’re already using like Google Analytics and WordPress, the process is automated. This will help you push the best content for your audience.

TrenDemon

TrenDemon is a service that promises to increase leads to your company.

Use Fanplayr to add intelligence to your campaigns. You’ll analyze visitor traffic, segment that traffic, and from there, send targeted offers to those customers. Every customer gets a unique call-to-action, for example, which will encourage them to buy, subscribe to your service, or learn more.

Learn from Your Successes and Mistakes

Here, data-driven decisions play a part again, but it refers to how you learn from your own successes and mistakes, and even that of others. Analyze the data from your analytics tools after a campaign. Look closely at what elements worked, and what elements didn’t.

Use the data to tweak your future campaigns. Adjust elements like copy/color, offers, and other factors, and see which performs better. Over time, you’ll be able to create the ideal viral campaign.

Viral campaigns capture your audience’s attention by triggering an emotion. Before a campaign can go viral, it needs to be promoted in places where your audience is most likely going to find it.

This comes down to using data to know your audience, creating the right content that speaks to the audience, using the right promotional channels, and harvesting the data afterward to do it all over again. When successful, this methodology can effectively increase conversions, and therefore profits.

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