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From the lowest place on Earth comes the highest ideas
From the lowest place on Earth comes the highest ideas
Just this morning I was literally in the lowest spot on Earth thinking about some of the best business ideas.
This is no joke. I was floating in the Dead Sea, which is also the lowest point on the Earth's surface at 1,385 feet below sea level on the shores of Israel. The salt and mineral content is so high here that it makes the water dense enough for you to just float on top of the water, which got me thinking ' 'Why do some ideas sink and others rise to the top? Why do some ideas go viral and others fall flat?'
So pay attention because this e-letter is dense with practical guidance you can use.
Look, if you're trying to turn your big idea into the next Internet viral sensation, that's like saying you're going to become a millionaire by writing the next best-selling novel.
It's a one-in-a-million shot!
But does that mean everything I've said about going viral is a sham and you should just start playing the lottery instead? Nope, you know me better than that!
I've got a better way to help make your ideas rise to the top that's working right now for many organizations just like yours. I'll tell you how. Plus, I'll show you several very cool lessons including one change that resulted in 10 times the response, which you can use too!
How to take ANY idea viral
Before I went begging in the streets of Jerusalem last week, I was telling you about the secrets to viral videos that are attracting the attention of viewers. This week, I want to tell you how to take ANY idea viral in just about ANY social media platform.
Go small to go BIG
What’s the secret to going viral? You have to go small to go big. Don’t try to go viral in an ocean. It’s too big. Go viral in a sandbox.
It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than just be another fish in the ocean. Think niche. Take your idea viral in a smaller pond where you can dominate your market.
I’m always collecting best practices and sharing them in this space and here’s one in which I can give you the inside scoop. In this example, the American College of Healthcare Executives increased their response to a membership campaign by tenfold! You read that right. They got ten times the response! Traditionally, they registered 120 members from a promotion; but in this case they increased membership registrations to 1,111.
3 magic words you’ll never want to forget because they’ll change your business and your life – if you apply them.
How? I’ll give a hint in three words: Simplify. Codify. Multiply.
They created a membership referral program in which members received points for referring new members to the organization. They simplified the message even more to say the more referrals you make, the more points you can redeem towards any FREE gifts (more about the gifts in a moment) and a chance to win FREE registration to the association’s national convention.
Next, they codified it. They created a series of referral letters members could send quickly and easily as an email to their colleagues. As members sent out the referral emails, they multiplied the message far more effectively than the association could have on its own. Did you get that? They took the marketing promotion viral! When was the last time you had other people promoting your marketing for you?
One secret you’ll need to know
Don’t get me wrong. Members never would have done it on their own so I’ll let you in on another secret: you need irresistible bait to fish in your pond. In this case, they offered members their choice of several prizes depending on the number of points they redeemed (see the picture, right).
This was interesting. Guess which prize was the most popular of the two Polo shirts, pen and leather Smartphone holder?
See for yourself by moving your mouse over the image! I never would have guessed that would have been the most popular gift but people loved it because it made them stand out from everyone else. It was a status symbol.
What’s the catch? You have to have the right bait for the right audience. Test your ideas. Often, the winners turn out to be ideas no one expected to perform well.
Here’s the best part; you don’t have to try and attract millions or even tens of thousands of people to your idea. In this case, 1,111 is a home run!
You really don’t have to go big to hit it out of the park!
We have lots of referral partners too. As part of our relationship when speaking at seminars and conferences for organizations they also feature us in articles in their magazines, in blogs and on their websites. In a sense, they endorse our services. In exchange, we give their members great content they can use to turnaround their organizations. It’s a win-win.
But you have to give people a reason to act. Take a look at the two Facebook ads to the right for a separate promotion from Brian Offenberger. Which do you think did better? Mouse over and see if you answered correctly. The winning ad got 222 clicks and 112 fans on Facebook and the other got absolutely nothing. Why? Because the ad offered more than just a hat; it gave people a reason to take the next step.
Every once in a while you may even hit a grand slam. That’s what happened with Douglas Wray, who used the principles of simplify, codify and multiply to explain social media with donuts! He took a complex problem (how do you explain social media to people?) and made it fun and easy. Every relevant social media platform is simplified with just a few words (see the picture, right).
He codified his simple chart by publishing it to Instagram.com. Since then it’s been multiplied by viewers. More than 100,000 people have re-posted it on Facebook and Twitter! Can you believe that?
Wray admits he never expected his social media chart to go viral but because he was playing in social media already, the idea took off. Another lesson learned: You’ll never harness social media’s power if you don’t play that game. You have to play to win. Try it. Test a few ideas, which you can do quickly and easily with social media.
3 Laws of Going Viral
To help you, here are my 3 Laws of Going Viral, which says for an idea to really take off it must be:
And one of the best ways to do this is to entertain and make your idea fun. Watchfire LED Signs got their message across with this tweet (see image, below left). How does a sign help police nab the “ball cap bandit”? Most signs take days or weeks to develop from the time an artist designs to the time it’s finally put on display. But LED signs can be changed instantly with a few keystrokes.
And as soon as the “ball cap bandit” struck, the FBI struck back with a billboard campaign advertising the crime using LED signs that led to his arrest. Not only did it catch on with the public following the heist, but it’s an idea that caught on with potential clients for Watchfire LED Signs.
People were curious about it. It was easily digestible in just 140 characters in a tweet. And it was a cool story the public and potential prospects wanted could share with their friends and colleagues. With just that one story, Watchfire can show vendors in the sign world just how easily their signs help attraction and can increase response for businesses and organizations. Small market, big fish!
So how can you create a story to attract the attention of your prospects? Don’t try to go big. Instead, try to be a big fish in a small pond.
Here are five questions to ask yourself as you take your idea viral as you simplify, codify and multiply:
1. How can we create curiosity to get their attention?
2. How can we create irresistible bait to get people to take action?
3. How can we make it simple and digestible?
4. How can we make it sharable?
5. How can we use the formula PASS (Pain, Agitate, Solve, Story.) For a refresher, GO HERE.
6. What do we want people to do next? What action do we want them to take?
Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,
Jon Goldman, President & CEO