How to make your business go viral

We started out with a marketing budget of £1,000 and, with this, managed to get 1,500 bookings on to our holiday packages, generating revenues in excess of £250,000 in our first three months. This was done by promoting well positioned products in the right way, and relying on our customer base sharing our holiday packages through their social networks. Had we not positioned our products right, the ROI on our marketing would never have been so dramatic.

Your product or service has to fit the following criteria:

1. It has to really connect with people

You need to position your product so that people really care about it, or people think that it is cool. They need to want to tell their friends about it, whether this is a ski festival at an incredible price, or a concept for a potentially life-saving helmet that recently went viral amongst the road cycling community (so most young professionals of the Boris Johnson era).

2. It has to have mass appeal

The more mass appeal the product has, the more people in Person A’s Facebook friend list will re-share it. Without this, you have a few shares, not virality. If your product or service does not have mass appeal, find something about it that is cool or enticing. There is always an angle.

Next, you need to ask yourself if the following apply to your business, to confirm that it is truly unique and right for the target market:

  1. Your product fills a real, tangible gap in the market; 
  2. You are innovative. If your product or service is a copycat, it won’t strike the right chords with people; and
  3. Your brand is spot on. Your brand needs to reflect what your customers want, and needs to reflect what you do.
After you fit the criteria, you need to promote your product in the right way. Here is how:

Focus all marketing budget on social networks

If you are committed to this, use solely sponsored stories and Facebook ads. You need to provide the spark to create the potential wildfire that is viral sharing.

Amass an army of advocates

We recruited hundreds of “promoters”, who were rewarded with free holidays in return for successfully promoting our holidays to their social networks. This creates unbelievably high ROI marketing, and starts the viral sharing process.

Make your website and social media posts ‘share ready’

Whether it is a ‘share’ button by the key parts of your website, running Facebook like and share competitions, or encouraging retweeting, you need to give people the nudge to share your business.

Follow this, and your small start up marketing budget will go far.

Rob Tominey is co-founder of Mainstage Travel. Check out Mainstage Travel and follow Rob and his business partner Aden on @robtominey and @adenlevin.

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