Viral marketing tips: get your campaigns off the ground with some psychology

Viral marketing is very different from many forms of online marketing. While pay-per-click advertising and email marketing rely on razor-sharp calculations and per-customer acquisition costs, viral marketing is much more dependent on psychological triggers and natural marketing methods.
Perhaps that is why it is rarely the most scientific marketers that make the most successful viral marketing campaigns. It is difficult to calculate the spread factor for viral marketing news, just as it is incredibly difficult for Hollywood to predict which movies will hit big and which won’t.

The internet has opened up the age of the unpredictable hit, and with some psychological effects it’s possible to give your viral marketing campaign a much greater chance of being that hit. 

In this post you’ll find some psychological tips that can help you get your viral marketing campaigns off the ground and into the minds of the people you wish to reach.
1. Appeal to nostalgia: use well known images to your advantage

There is a strange desire amongst 20 and 30-something to relive their childhood memories. Video games, movies, and TV shows of the past are quickly becoming a major spectacle, largely due to peoples’ love for nostalgia. You need not look further than the latest reboots of Transformers and the Batman series to see that people love revisiting their favorite past events.
When you create a viral marketing campaign, don’t appeal to the present. Instead, incorporate ideas, events, and images of the past and create something that people are instantly familiar with.
2. Make people search for information

Giving it all away only achieves one thing for your marketing campaign: a total end to conversation and discovery.

You want your audience to be constantly researching your product, event, or service, no matter what it might be. Rather than giving away all the details in your marketing campaign, lead people on a search for information that drives them to discussion and word-of-mouth marketing buzz.
3. Capitalize on everyone’s love to be an insider

Walk along any bar-lined street and you’ll see an odd spectacle: the most expensive bars attract the largest crowds. Those nightclubs with a long line at the door aren’t attracting attention because they are the most fun or the most cost-effective, but because they give their patrons a feeling of exclusivity.

Use their strategy for your viral marketing campaigns, give people an ‘insider’ experience that they can’t replicate elsewhere.
4. Create urgency: count down to your event

It could be a product launch, a major event, or simply a new business. Whatever you are marketing, give people a deadline for their conversation and buzz-building.

Urgency and anticipation are the driving force behind hundreds of worldwide events, just look at the way concerts and industry conferences are marketed.

Instead of making your viral marketing open-ended, create a narrow time line and work your way down it. 

More about word-of-mouth marketing and viral marketing in this section of our blog.

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