Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Social Media

How to Create Viral Videos Worth Sharing

Not so long ago, a friend shared a link with me on Facebook.

The video recording quality was grainy. The audio was out of sync with the video. The props were cheap. The film set was non-existent. The result?

A viral video that was viewed almost 40 million times, and shared 23 million times, in 12 months. When I shared this video to my wall, I immediately got two responses — one that said, “Wow, I wish I was their client.

Unfortunately, there was no chance of that happening (since the video maker was a dental practice in London, South Carolina and my wishful friend lived in northern Michigan). But the video maker had achieved the holy grail — a viral video that doesn’t just entertain, but ATTRACTS NEW CLIENTS.

So, what was so magical about a video for a dental practice? I mean, seriously. Is there a less sexy business? Few businesses create such a uniform groan from their patients when it’s time for your appointment. Big companies spend hundreds of millions creating videos that they hope will have a tenth of the social engagement that this video had. So how did they do it?

1. Use lots of humor. Self-deprecating is always good (as long as it is in good taste), but other good uses of humor include showing familiar things in a humorous light.  Remember the e-Trade baby? That set of hilarious viral videos was first launched eight years ago, and still remains the most effective ad campaign in its history.

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2. Keep the videos short. And entertaining. There’s a reason Instagram limits its videos to 60 seconds or less. Effective viral videos need to be fast and furious. The second they lose their humor, or momentum, the audience is lost.

3. Be as human as possible. The days of slick corporate ads are long gone. People want to feel real connections with the business they buy from and the products they use. My dental video example couldn’t be less polished and less “unprofessional”.  Yet it’s wildly successful. Why? Because the dentist is being “real”. If you are familiar with my Client Stampede marketing, then you will know that creating personality-infused marketing is at the heart of every uber-successful ad campaign.

So to recap on the formula for viral video success. You don’t need expensive camera equipment.  Or professional lighting. Or fancy video editing. Or special costumes, in order to make a viral video, viral.  As with any marketing for your business, it’s all about the message. What are you saying, in a funny, entertaining way, that resonates deeply with the audience?

 

(Oh and the dental video I’ve been referring to? You can view it here:

 

 

Got QR Code Fever Or Wondering How You Can Use QR Codes In Your Marketing?

QR Codes have lovers and haters.  The haters say its just another fad.  The lovers are using QR codes and laughing all the way to the bank. You be the judge.

Here's my view - it's new technology, it's a fast-growing technology, and if your target market has smart phones and are somewhat tech savvy then I think its great to find another media to connect with them that's low or no cost. Plus QR codes are a great customer involvement device and provide another call to action you can use in your marketing to get prospects to buy.

Here’s my favorite QR Code creator (some elements are free, others cost a bit): http://www.QRStuff.com

Here's a list of QR Code readers / decoders / scanning apps for iPhones, Androids and more: http://www.qrstuff.com/qr_phone_software.html

And most importantly, here are some examples of how you can use QR codes in your marketing to make more sales

  1. Business Cards Put a code on your business card containing all of your contact information and give them an irresistible offer
  2. Put a QR code On A T-Shirt Send them to a great landing page with a free introductory offer or low cost offer with big savings
  3. Use a QR Code as a "get more info" option If you have a physical store, put a QR code on products which when they scan it gives them additional info.  If you don't then you can use QR codes in your service menu or product menu to keep it uncluttered.  List just the main points of each product and service offering in your menu and then give them a QR code they can scan to get more info
  4. Put It On Your Website's "Contact Us Page" People take a picture of your page on the screen, put you in their contact list
  5. Put It On Your Instruction Sheet People scan it to get step-by-step instructions on how to use a product or service, or get directed to a video where you give them step by step instructions
  6. Use QR codes In Print Ads People scan to be taken to a specific landing page on your website
  7. Put It On A Campaign Sign, or a Poster Take people directly to your website - preferably a squeeze page so you can incentivize them to "opt in" and give you their info
  8. Put It On A For-Sale Sign Take them to a website with video and information about the item being sold - for example a house, a car, a boat.  You could even post this on a bulletin board.
  9. Use a QR code to Put It On Your Luggage Ok so it won't get you customers but it'll save you a lot of grief if your luggage ever gets lost…
  10. Send a Tweet Scanning it sends out a tweet
  11. Do A Location Login Put on every table and the walls of your restaurant, does a foursquare login or a Facebook location login
  12. Add To Your LinkedIn Page Passes your contact information or website
  13. Call Us To Place Your Order Scan dials their phone
  14. Send a Teaser Postcard Send a QR code to a potential client, which takes them to your website
  15. Put It On Your Conference NameTag Contact information or website
  16. Put A Backsell On Your Invoice Taking them to a landing page making a special offer to upsell them
  17. Paypal Buy Link Scanning takes them to Paypal to buy your item
  18. Promote An Event Scanning the QR code puts it on their calendar
  19. Announce Your Free Wifi Scanning logs them into your wifi account
  20. Put It In Your Powerpoint Presentation Build your list by sending them to a special bonus offer if they sign up!

What other ideas do you have for using QR codes?  Share them by posting a comment...

Direct Mail - Even Google's Doing It & Why You Should Be Too

I recently stumbled upon a blog posting made by HubSpot that made me very angry.  In case you haven't heard of HubSpot,  they're a relatively new comer to the digital marketing game and have carved out a pretty nice niche for themselves as the go-to folks for everything social media. Note their entire business is DIGITAL MARKETING.  Anyhow, this blog posting absolutely slammed direct mail as being a dying media - and they accused anyone of using direct mail in their marketing as being antiquated, not "hip" and very much behind the times. First of all that's total crap.  Way more businesses, small and large, acquire new customers using targeted direct mail than any other form of media.  I write more about the vital importance of using Direct Mail in this month's Marketing Dynamite newsletter - delivered incidentally by direct mail to my clients, future clients and colleagues in the marketing industry. (If you're not currently a subscriber, subscription is currently FREE - which I know is a bit ridiculous given the enormous value it delivers, and won't be for long - go to www.BlazingCopy.com to sign up).

In 2010, the federal government alone spent a total of $41,534,848 on Direct Mail Advertising.  Direct mail is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing.  And if you're not using targeted direct mail in your marketing, you're missing out on a mega-sized opportunity.

So, just in case you haven't figured out why Hub Spot is so anti-direct mail, I'll connect the dots.  It isn't their business.  They're 100% online marketers.  Instead of advising their clients on what actually works in marketing 9and finding a way to offer those services within their own company, even if it means doing (gasp) traditional marketing - they're sending their clients down a rabbit warren, giving them misguided advice, and costing their clients millions in lost revenue.

So - be very careful who you listen to....

Why Social Media is BS

I’m a little tired of the hype around social media because its use seems so widely misunderstood.  Not surprisingly, the number one question I am asked when people hear I grow businesses for a living is, “How can we make money from our social media?” I’m also worried that other marketing professionals and small business owners are getting caught up in the hype and plowing precious marketing dollars into social media thinking it is the magic silver bullet that will fix their problems.  It isn’t.

Using social media won’t make your customers happier. Great customer service will.

Social media won’t fix your lead generation problem. A well-written, multi-media marketing campaign will.

Social media won’t fix your sales conversion rate. Choreographing your entire sales process will.

Social media won’t make you retain customers. Product innovation and consistent customer communications will.

And hiring an intern to manage your social media? Well, that won’t transform your company either.

There is a lot of hype, and too little realism around social media.  Social media is not a marketing strategy or technique, it’s a technology, a tool.  Social media can be ONE powerful tool among many in your marketing toolbox, but for many small businesses it’s an extremely costly and time-consuming tool that can be very slow to deliver returns.

Yes, there are ways to monetize social media.  But for the majority of businesses, using this tool as a reliable method of lead generation will grow their company at snail’s pace.  It simply doesn’t make sense for all businesses.  And it requires a ton of resources to upkeep. Instead there are far better ways to get quicker, and larger bangs for your marketing buck that involve a mix of cleverly executed online and offline advertising.  This is where you really should be focusing your attention.

11 Social Web Facts That Are Mind Boggling

We all know that social media and the internet is exploding.  But just exactly how much can be something that's a bit difficult to wrap your head around. The folks over at Pingdom compiled some incredible statistics about the Internet's growth.

Here's are 11 facts that are...well...mind boggling...

1. In 2010, 107 trillion emails were sent on the Internet. (Source)

2. At the current rate 36 billion photos will be uploaded to Facebook each year. (Source)

3. Each day 2 billion videos are watched on YouTube. (Source)

4. Each month 30 billion pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook. (Source)

5. In 2010, users sent 25 billion tweets. (Source)

6. Worldwide there are 1.97 billion Internet users. (Source)

7. At the end of 2010, there were 88.8 million – .COM domain names registered. (Source)

8. As of December 2010, there were 255 million websites. (Source)

9. Worldwide, there are 2.9 billion email accounts. (Source)

10. The average Internet user watched 186 online videos per month (USA). (Source)

11. Every minute 35 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. (Source)

Has your jaw hit the ground yet?  Which of these is the biggest surprise to you?

How To Use A Stealth Social Media Tool To Spy On Your Mailing List Subscribers

I recently stumbled across a fantastic tool that I want to share with you that answers that multi-million dollar question - how can I leverage social media to grow my business? (actually it's one of the top 3 questions I get asked by my clients all the time). The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Are you ready for it?

The tool is called Flowtown and here's why it's incredible:

On Flowtown you upload an email or your entire email list.  FT  then trots off to all the major social networks and finds those people for you.  You'll be able to see WHO those people are and exactly what they're talking about.

That in itself is of huge value to your business.  But FT does a lot more than that.

(drum roll please)...

FT will then spider your lists to show you who your major influencers are, which of those people have others following them and how many followers they have.

Wow.  Imagine if you knew the top 5% of the most influential people on your list.  How would you treat them differently?  What kinds of relationships could you start up if you contacted them directly?

FT also enables you to hook a little script onto your opt-in forms, so when people opt in to hear from you - you'll be notified immediately when people of influence have joined your list.

The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Just think about your mailing list for a second.  How much do you really know about the people on it?

If your mailing list is a bit, ahem, neglected - if you're missing major chunks of information about your prospects or customers, then not only can FT fill in the gaps, but you can know more about the people on it than you ever imagined.  And, almost in the blink of an eye you can know who the most valuable people are on it.

What takes most businesses years to figure out (if they ever actually do), you can know immediately.

So then you can treat these major influencers very very differently.  You can create special offers just for them - do whatever it takes to turn them into raving fans of your business, reach out to them for JV opportunities, ask them to become trusted advisers in your business and get their feedback on new products or services you're about to launch...  the possibilities are endless!