The holy grail of many internet marketing attempts, going viral can expose your business to hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of new customers overnight – and it’s completely free.
What is going viral?
When a blog item, news story, photo or social media post spreads like a disease, it’s described as going viral. As each person who shares a post exposes dozens or hundreds of others to it, a site with a typical readership of 12 can suddenly find itself with a hundred thousand clicks, all on one page. As this sharing is completely free, and entirely user-driven, it’s a dream for internet marketers.
More visitors = more sales
In most cases, simply increasing the number of visitors to your site will increase sales. A surge that multiplies your daily web traffic or phone enquiries by a factor of 10 or 100 might be difficult to handle in the heat of the moment, the increase in sales will usually well worth the hassle. If you’re hoping to go viral, its worth considering how scalable your business is – could you handle 10 times as many orders this week as you usually get?
More exposure = more opportunities
For some businesses, the real boon to a successful viral internet marketing campaign isn’t a direct increase in sales but a blossoming of opportunities. If you’ve been hoping to move into a new market area or supply a niche service then simply having an extra 10 or 100 thousand people know your brand name can open some amazing doors. This is often the aspect that’s reported in the news, but you don’t need a headline-worthy share to reap the benefits.
How do I make a post go viral?
The short answer is: you can’t. By definition, going viral is an unexpected surge in readership and sharing of a story, above and beyond the success predicted for a campaign or blog post. Viral internet marketing campaigns anticipate that people will share posts to a certain extent, and focus on reaching certain targets. Going viral is like winning the lottery – great if it happens to you, but not a pension is a smarter investment. What you can do is make it easy for your blog posts, news stories and images to be shared while still retaining a link back to your site.
Should I aim to go viral?
Most news stories about going viral ride treat the surge of attention as purely a benefit to the individual or business behind the headline. However, for many small businesses a brief surge in enquiries does not result in sustainable growth. As an example, if a blog post or internet marketing for a Portsmouth hairdresser is shared a hundred thousand times in the USA, the salon is likely to be swamped with emails without actually getting more walk-ins. A sustainable, local, internet marketing campaign might be less glamorous but overall better for your business.