How to Create a Viral Launch Page
December 3, 2014
What does it take to achieve virality? To create a storm of conversations that keeps the right people coming back for more? Do we have what it takes to go “viral”?
It’s a list of questions that possibly every marketer has on their minds in the digital marketing world. And with all the random internet sensations and celebrities (remember the Target guy?) that mushroom out of the woodwork, you’d think the answer would be within grasp.
But it’s not. And achieving overnight success takes a lot of hard work, planning and deep thinking.
Back to the Basics
I’ll get right to it. What are your goals for building virality? With launch pages, the primary objective is usually user acquisition. Sometimes new user acquisition feels like a shot in the dark – a brand new audience meets a brand new product and nobody knows how the relationship is going to work just yet.
It’s a lot like a blind date. And unless you’ve been able to create buyer personas before launching your product, you’re going to be hard pressed for pre-launch data in this über hyper actively social and amorphous world of ours.
But I’ll admit – it’s kinda cool to know something you’ve created was able to reach a few million people in a short span of time. And if that’s what you want, that’s perfectly fine too.
But once again, it’s going to take some thought and planning and being able to bring the right elements together.
The Ingredients for Virality
How do you do it? There are several factors that need to fall into place, but a good amount of preparedness and how well you’re networked certainly help with gaining some traction.
Timeliness is another huge factor.
Oreo won the marketing Super Bowl in 2014 because of their ridiculously prompt response to the blackout during the game.
However, the example above is about viral content.
Creating viral launch pages is slightly different (and more involved!). The recipe for viral launches begins with developing an understanding of human nature; because, let’s not forget that we’re dealing with real people here, and real people have a few common traits running between them.
And on top of that list of traits is greed. Think about it – who can resist a great deal that actually proves to be useful after the sign up? I don’t have exact numbers, but the answer to that very rhetorical question is “too few people.”
People also like to feel special; they like to feel exclusive; they want to know their voice and opinion matters, and if you truly care about user experience and product quality, you’ll find yourself hemming and hawing to deliver exactly what they want, when they want it.
And if you can give them something to look forward to (packaged nicely, of course) then you’re looking at generating a worthy buzz very quickly.
The Road to Virality
1. Innovative Details: As marketers, we can’t stop innovating. Among the many reasons social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have taken off, one of them is how simple and innovative their sites are. People want to share and people want other people to know about what they’ve shared. It’s what we do as, well, people.For example, Forkly, a site that makes it “ridiculously easy to match taste buds with the food and restaurants around you” asked people to sign up for notifications if they wanted site-trial invites. And then they granted early access to people who referred 3 friends or more.
That’s pretty darn brilliant.
2. Build What They Need: We’ve all seen the lines for Apple’s next product release wrap around several blocks. And I have a sneaky suspicion that some of us reading this post were probably in one of those lines. Apple are who they are because they make no excuses about getting people to think differently from the status quo. It’s a lesson we can all learn and imbibe.
3. Solve Problems: Have a clear value proposition for your clients. What do they stand to gain? Why should they sign up with YOU vs. everyone else offering the same service or product?
Take a look at what Stripe’s done.
To break things down a little, here’s what’s going on:
– A clear solution for a widespread need. Who loves multi-step payment processes and jumping through hoops? I sure don’t.
– A clear call to action, i.e. “Get Notified”
– Simplified follow-through. When Stripe goes live, everyone who’s signed up is notified.
4. Beta Access: If you have a new product coming up soon and you’re still running beta tests, give your loyal clientele an opportunity to engage with your new offering before it’s available to the world at large. It’s exactly what companies like Spotify did before releasing their software to the world. And they got a bushel full of leads while they were at it.
5. Social Integration: This one’s a gimme. If you want to go viral, make it easy for people to share, especially on platforms like Twitter. And you can make it a sweeter deal by incorporating giveaways, sweepstakes, loyalty and referral rewards. Add an element of scarcity (Limited Time Offer! Early Bird Registrations!) to get people to sign up and share with their networks.
Other Stuff You Can Do
- Build GREAT Content
This one just doesn’t go away. I present to you the Mexico Wave Challenge from Coke as part of the Happiness Contest campaign.
So good. On so many levels. That is all.
- Offer unique IDs to early adopters. You’ll make a lot of people with generic names very happy. You’ll also be able to reach people who are concerned with their personal branding, especially niche-based celebrities and thought leaders.
- Offer Referral-Only registrations. “You have a friend who has a friend who knows us? You’re in.” Because nothing gets people more than knowing that they can’t get in with the next hottest thing.
- Use clear Calls-to-Action. Contact Us! Learn More! These CTAs are has-beens. Think about the action you want the user audience to take. Do you want them to fill out a form? Download an ebook? Sign up for your offer? Tweet their participation? Guess what goes in your CTA.
- Get celebrity endorsements if that falls within your budget and make them relevant. Guy Kawasaki endorsing a tech start-up is a lot more believable than Justin Bieber doing it.
Additional Read: Increase Organic Traffic with this Guide
See what I mean? Going viral can sometimes be a lot more about planning than throwing the bird out of the nest and keeping your fingers crossed. Sure, random content and ideas DO go viral, but what are the odds of something unplanned taking off across hundreds of thousands of viewers? Again, rhetorical question, but you get my point.
By the way, don’t forget to share this blog post!
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