Not every product or marketing campaign is naturally viral.
For example, at my company we built an online reputation management product that helps users improve their search engine results. Given that our product isn’t considered viral or ‘sexy,’ we expected moderate growth. However, within several months of our launch we attained more than 100,000 users.
We owe our momentum to a few strategic moves we made from the beginning. We utilized a strategic press push, covering a new feature, which resulted in more press coverage, social sharing and users.
There is no way to truly guarantee that your offering will go viral, but here are a few lessons we learned after marketing our product and seeing great results:
1. Promote one feature at a time, and make sure it’s relevant.
Many startups want to communicate their entire story, by selling on all of their product or service features, when marketing to consumers. This makes your message hard to digest and easy to ignore.
Instead, focus on one key selling point that a consumer would really care about. This could be a feature that your competition doesn’t provide.
2. Pitch the right media outlets on your company announcement.
Generally, when you launch a new company only a few major media outlets are going to cover your story (if any) so you need to make your efforts count. Start by gaining clarity on your end user (demographics), “Who is going to use your product and care about your story the most?”
What magazines do they read? What online websites do they likely visit?
After we understood who our target market was, we realized Mashable — a great social media news blog covering cool new websites, social networks and web technology news — was the best way to reach them. We were right.
The coverage of our announcement trended for three days, received 13,000 shares, yielded 15,000 signups and did so well that other great outlets (including The Huffington Post and Yahoo!) picked it up.