Okay, so we’ve covered the foundations of creating your viral marketing engine.
You started by answering the 6 magical questions to build your viral marketing structure. We then took the 5 simple steps to optimizing it, formed your viral loop, and expanded your user base with viral branching. Last chapter, we went over how to bait those users with the perfect viral hook.
Now, let’s put all that hard work into action, and start generating what we’re all really here for – growth.
The Intersection of Internet Marketing and Virality
Ever hear of “the big orange button?” If not, you’ve got some homework to do. (It’s a pretty famous concept in conversion rate optimization.)
The Big Orange Button is essentially a low-tech, high-impact change you can make to the color of your call to action button that will increase your conversion rates. This occurs because this simple change makes the button stand out to the user in contrast to other page elements.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Whether you’d like to believe it or not, quite a bit of conversion optimization works like this.
Zero times out of 10 does the process of improving something entail slogging through a swamp of math and tech wizardry. It just involves educating yourself enough to be able to do some of the simple, yet correct things, in the right order and at the right time.
Thankfully if you’ve educated yourself in the realm of viral marketing (which you should have if you’ve been following along), you’ll soon find that one of the more important, wildly under-appreciated aspects of any viral loop is also one of the easiest aspects to improve upon.
Viral Invite: Growth Made Easy
A viral invite is the act of a user sending out an invite from your site/application, or sharing a link to it with the goal of recruiting others. In essence, it describes the user physically carrying out the action you want them to take that directly contributes to your viral growth.
Everyone’s familiar with the concept of invitations. (Unless you have no friends. In which case consider this your formal invitation to be my friend and the friend of Viral Panda. Welcome.)
Take everything you know about invitations and combine it with what you’ve learned about sound viral marketing strategy. The result is nothing short of awesome, so long as you put in the work.
Without a doubt all the viral factors we’ve discussed up until now are critical. Achieving viral growth cannot be put into practice effectively without those factors. But once you’ve created your viral value, added your incentive, identified your hook, and optimized your mechanics, you’re going to want to spend considerable time and effort focusing on making it as quick, easy, and intuitive as possible for users to invite as many others in one shot.
Thankfully, if you’re familiar with the traditional internet marketing game (and I suspect that by reading this you are), you’re familiar with conversion rate optimization.
For this task, that’s exactly the skill you’ll need.
Optimizing for Viral Invites
The first thing to keep in mind is that conversion rate optimization is NOT specific to sales.
A conversion action is whatever you want your users to do. Conversion rate optimization (or CRO) is improving the rate at which users take that action.
In sales, when you improve ease of use, decrease the number of steps required and lower possible friction points in your sales funnel, your sales will inevitably increase. The same holds true in your viral loop.
The first step is asking a few key questions:
- What is the process like for sending an invite? Map it out using a tool like LucidChart.
- How can you make the above process quicker and more efficient? Think from both a design and a technology perspective. Use resources like ConversionXL, the Unbounce blog and the Conversion Rate Experts blog to find all the conversion factors that can help.
- Is every step absolutely critical to the end goal, right now? Can any of it be done later, or dropped completely? Use common sense and logic for this (which I unfortunately can’t hyperlink to).
- What’s the viral value gained by a user for sending an invite? Try to quantify this, make it more obvious, and increase it.
- How can you augment that value even more with viral incentive marketing? Get users who are on the fence about acting off that fence and on your side of it.
I could continue to bloviate about how important CRO is, but I’ll save you some time and encourage you to instead check out some of the resources I’ve listed above. These can be used to augment what you’ll find here, and in no time you’ll have everything you need to create an optimized viral invite process that delivers the goods.
As a business, you could get users to send a million gajillion invites or share a gajillion bazillion things across every major social network and, by themselves, these actions will end up being totally meaningless. These invites and shares won’t get you more new users or more sales. Heck, they won’t even buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
The real value comes from what happens next. Specifically, new prospects being exposed to your product or your message, and then actually taking the action you want them to take.
So, let’s get into it!
Do You Know the Secret Message To Double Viral Growth?
Just because you’re users are sending out invites, doesn’t mean those invites are resulting in new sign ups. So how do you convert these newly acquired visitors into users? With the right message that’s how.
- Cycle Time: What the Primary Defense Mechanism of Rabbits Can Teach You About Growth - March 15, 2016
- Viral Infection: How the CDC Can Make You a Viral Marketing Savant - March 4, 2016
- Viral Communication Marketing – How Apple, MailChimp and Hootsuite Used Hotmail to Inspire Explosive Growth - June 25, 2015