Dave Rotheroe is the founder of Viral by Design, which is all about helping you leverage viral marketing to accelerate the growth of your business. It’s based on lessons Dave’s learnt growing his own eCommerce businesses – in fact, he’s back on the podcast for the THIRD time! And this time he’s going to be sharing the inside track on how to use viral marketing in your business.
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About the Business
- Uses psychology to get people engaged and sharing content.
- Based on a core set of principles.
- Founded using the blueprint from Dave’s successful meal subscription box, Cheese Posties.
Using primarily Facebook ads, Dave’s subscription box business—Cheese Posties—became such a huge success that the team had to shut it down when they weren’t able to scale up to meet demand. The silver lining of that shut down was a job offer for Dave and eventually, the launch of Viral by Design.
People in the business had noticed that Cheese Posties took off quickly and grew at a rapid rate and they were looking for help recreating that kind of acceleration. The job he ultimately took was with Frank Kern Inc. where he says he learned huge amounts of new information while he was helping launch several new concepts.
While at Frank Kern, Dave continued to study the psychology of virality and was blown away by the efficacy of his viral media tactics and felt like it was time to branch out on his own.
Creating the Formula
Viral By Design was launched from Dave’s desire to share the success of viral advertising tactics with clients. The company focuses mostly on viral videos, but Dave says it’s not the delivery medium that counts so much as the structure of the message.
Dave has identified a number of core concepts that form the basis for why a piece of media goes viral, and he has structured the business around these. The main piece of advice and major take away from his first subscription box business was how important it is to really know your demographic. Cheese Posties was actually built through the process of studying the most popular content specifically for the demographic
Dave and his partners were targeting. It was actually the use of unexpected combinations that drove the best engagement that inspired the team to come up with the idea of selling unusual toasted cheese sandwich combinations.
The Principles of Virality
There are trends that occur in most viral media pieces. These principles are like having a recipe card of psychological triggers that make people share.
1.) Social Currency – People generally share stuff that makes them look good.
2.) People share to strengthen a bond. This tendency makes them more likely to share within a niche.
3.) Demographics – WHO is the customer?
4.) Stories and Narratives – People relate to stories and it helps them get context for a product or experience. Something as simple as an instruction video can get people engaged with a brand.
5.) Simplicity – keep the message simple!
6.) Remarkable – People don’t share boring content. Re-examine what makes your business and niche remarkable.
7.) Intrigue – Give people a reason to keep watching. Use gap theory – create gaps that need to be filled- to drive interest and engagement with your business or product.
8.) Practical Value – Any way you can help people is a way to get them engaged.
9.) Emotion- Use emotion to motivate people to buy.
Viral for All
Even for people who don’t have funky, cool products Dave says there is almost always something that can go viral. If it’s not your product it could be the story of how you got involved in the business.
If you can identify the things in your business that are unique enough that people will talk about them with their friends—then you have something with the potential to go viral.
The other big case focuses on viral is that it stretches your advertising investments. Using virality is a great way to amplify the reach of advertising dollars.
Brass Tacks of Virality
- The ad is the viral entity, not the medium. The ideas and emotions that make up a piece of advertisement are what makes it go viral.
- Understanding Demographic is Key. Find out where your niche is and be where they are.
- Just like the medium, the platform isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is to advertise in areas where your niche is already hanging out.
- Starting in smaller communities (very niche) is a good way to start virality.
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Viral Marketing – People don’t approach virality because they think it’s too elusive. Understanding what makes something go viral is useful whether or not your ad goes viral.
Tool Top Tip
- Deadline Funnel
Growth Top Tip
- Get inside the head of your very best customers. Set up an opportunity to talk directly with them about what they like—what they don’t like, etc. and adapt accordingly.
- Christian Zeron of Theo and Harris explains how vlogging grew sales to $2.5million per year
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