Entries from August 2012 ↓

How To Go Viral With Your Marketing

“OK, this is it lads. We’re going to create a viral video for our latest project. Any ideas?”

Well, if that’s how you think the process starts to create viral marketing for your business, you couldn’t be more wrong.

For a start, you can’t make something go viral – that’s the public’s job.

What is viral marketing?

Well it’s a way of using social networks to promote brand awareness (or boost sales) through a self-replicating viral process. Which means that you create something others love and feel compelled to share with their friends…who then share it with their friends…who then share it with their friends…who then share it with their friends….you get the idea.

And that is precisely why you can’t ‘make’ a viral video, image, eBook etc.

Qualities of viral marketing

The only way you’re going to make your piece of marketing go ‘viral’ is by creating an emotional connection with your view/reader.

Someone isn’t going to share your collateral just because you ask him/her to; it has to resonate with them and compel them to click the share button or talk about it to their friends.

There are no rules to say it has to be funny, gimmicky or super clever – it just has to evoke an emotional response.

OK, that kind of leaves the door wide open, but quite often the simplest ideas are the best.

Whether it’s a demonstration that captures the imagination like Blendtec’s ‘Will it blend an iPhone, the clever Honda ‘The Cog’ sequence, or the wonderful Cadbury’s Gorilla advert, your idea just has to capture the imagination of your audience.

That means studying your audience, studying your product (and the relationship between the two) and then working out which emotional connections your brand needs to make to kick-start the immediate ‘need to share’ reflex.

With the country gripped by Olympic fever, this has to be my favourite video on YouTube at the moment. OK, it’s not a product or a sales pitch, but it captures the excitement of a nation:

Reaction of the BBC commentary team as Mo Farah wins with 10,000 metres in London 2012.

What’s your favourite?

We’d love to compile an ‘all time favourites’ list of viral marketing, so leave a comment below with details of the one that captured imagination – and tell us why.


The Importance of Getting Your Email Marketing Right

Does this sound familiar?

“Dear Sir/Madam,

Do you want to see your website in Top 10 position in Google or other major search engine?”

Day after day I receive umpteen of these emails from SEO companies (and others) telling me they can get my website into a top 10 position in Google.

First, this is obviously a blanket email, because if they’d done any research they’d realise that my website was already on the front page for my chosen keywords.

And secondly, it’s addressed to ‘Sir/Madam’, so they haven’t bothered to take the trouble to personalise their email.

Not a great start then.

We’re all used to getting these types of emails, but it’s essential that you don’t fall into a similar trap when undertaking your own email marketing.

To spam or not to spam, that is the question

A little while ago I posted on the UK Business Labs forums about email marketing and how to get the most from it by offering relevant and targeted emails to your own, home-grown opt-in marketing list.

This caused a furore as it was intimated by a reader that email marketing was spam regardless of whether you use an opt-in list or a bought list.

However, provided you follow a few basic courtesies you should avoid alienating any of your customers.

Be clear from the start

The only way to gain trust and keep your customers happy is to be clear and upfront with then from the outset.

If you are cultivating your opt-in list to send out a newsletter, tell your customers how frequently you’ll contact them.

If you want to send a newsletter and occasional email marketing messages or offers, again let them know. If possible, offer a choice of messages so they can opt-in, for example, to your newsletter but not your other emails.

Giving them choice and being open and honest about what you intend to do with their email address will generate that all important trust that’s vital for strong and lasting customer relations.

Divide and conquer

As mentioned above, splitting your email marketing list and offering different communications that people can opt in and out of will help you target your marketing efforts.

That way, you won’t cheese off half your customers.

Get personal

Don’t send out generic emails addresses to ‘Sir or Madam’. Use their name and make your communications personal.

So, is using an opt-in list spam?

Not in my book.

People who want to receive your news and offers gave those email addresses. So, provided you stick to your promise of what you’ll send them and when, how can that possibly be seen as spam?

After all, Wikipedia defines Spam as:

…the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately.

And, as your list has opted in to your messages they’re not unsolicited.

Over to you

What do you think about this issue?

What do you class as spam?

Leave your comments below and give us your take on this contentious issue.


Sally Ormond – Copywriter

The Life of a Copywriter

A short while ago I was asked to do an interview for Felixstowe TV for their Suffolk Women Owned Businesses (SWOB) channel.

If you’re slightly curious about how I got started, what I do and other bits and bobs about me, follow the link below, grab a coffee and watch the video.Sally Ormond - Felixstowe TV interview

Don’t expect an Oscar winning performance (I’m no Angelina Jolie), just a candid chat with a Suffolk copywriter.

Sally Ormond on Felixstowe TV


Social Media – Employers and Social Snooping

It wasn’t that long ago that we posted about why you should watch what you say on social media, especially in the light of the story that appeared in The Drum about the council press officer who was forced to quit his job after an ill-judged social media and social snoopingtweet.

Well, once again the issue has been raised in The Drum, this time looking at the legal perspective of work-related social media comments.

We’ve all been there – after a long and arduous week at work, you’re relaxing in the pub with colleagues and decide to rant about your employer or a client on your Facebook page.

After all, it’s your Facebook page so you can write what you like – right? You know your friends will have sympathy with your plight and will offer the soothing words you crave.

But what happens when your employer also sees your comment?

You could argue (as mentioned in The Drum’s article) that they shouldn’t be snooping and that reading your posts is like ‘reading your personal mail.’ But the post goes on to say that research suggests that ‘30% of employers have taken a member of staff through a formal disciplinary procedure as a result of comments made on their social media pages.’


The problem seems to lie in the potentially viral nature of social sharing. You may well post your opinion on your wall, but you have no control over who shares it, re-posts it on their wall or re-tweets it. Before you know it, your comment could be plastered all over cyber space.

So, is there anyway round this minefield?

Well, we all have lapses of judgement from time to time, but when they occur online in the social world, backtracking can be virtually impossible leading to serious consequences.

Although no company can prevent their staff from using social media, they should have a social media policy in place that clearly outlines what is and isn’t acceptable. Plus, they must also ensure they make it very clear what the consequences will be should anyone overstep the line.

What do you think?

As an employee, do you think it’s right that your employer should be snooping into your social world?

If you’re an employer, do you check up on your staff? Do you have a social media policy in place?

Leave a comment below and lets find out your views – whichever side of the fence you’re on.

SEO for Start Ups

SEO is about your customers not the search engines

Nope, we haven’t gone mad; search engine optimisation really is all about your customers.

Most SEO companies are now playing nicely and not condoning devious techniques such as link buying, hidden text and generally exploiting every loophole and short cut they can find.


Apart from the fact that they were attracting hefty penalties for their clients, they’ve now realised that search engine marketing is more like social marketing and everything must be centred around the customer not the search engines.To be successful on line today, your strategy must include not only general keyword optimisation for your website’s structure and content, it must also involve social media marketing aimed at your customers.

No, that doesn’t mean sending out a raft of marketing messages every minute in the hope that you’ll wear down your customers and make them buy from you. Instead it’s about engaging with your audience, providing them with useful content and information and optimising your web content to reflect your customers’ needs.

For many start ups all of this can be quite confusing so this 10 minute video by Maile Ohye of Google might help. In 10 minutes she talks you through some basic search engine optimisation techniques for start ups to help you get on the right track.

It’s well worth a watch, so grab a coffee.