What Good Are Viral Campaigns, If You’re Not Making Sales?

On the 97th Floor SEO Blog where I post about viral campaigns every Friday, I got asked this questions about what good viral campaigns do, if they sell no product?  Its a fair question to the un-learned (maybe not by the type of person that asked it – proclaimed SEO) I guess.  The problem with this question is, the person asking it, is completely missing the point of why people like me are running viral campaigns.  There are many other amazing places for stories to go viral, but for the sake of this post – I am going to focus on Digg.

The Digg Effect?

If you get a FP on Digg, and it gets you so much traffic it takes your server down because of 40-100k plus uniques to your site (from what I have seen) you are bound to get noticed by someone.  So looking at your sales, and seeing none should not be alarming.  You can get crazy traffic from Digg even if your story does not make it popular.  But if it does …

You just experienced the Digg effect. What is the Digg effect?  After your server recovers –

  • People know about you now.
  • They know about your site.
  • They are going to be linking to your story. Yea Links!  We love links!
  • They are going to continue to talk about you for weeks, More Links!!
  • Other social networks may pick up your story and send even more traffic, links and saves.
  • Digg carries a lot of trust.
  • Stories rank well and push more trust to your site.
  • You get added benefits from Alexa (crazy burst, and then steady flow of traffic)

What does all that do?

It makes ranking for the keywords you want to be going after much easier, and in many cases gives you additional rankings for those keywords you want to be ranked for.  With the added links, traffic and trust now pushed to your site thanks to Digg (and this viral campaign), it makes getting ranked for the keywords you want a little easier.  You now have some authority, and will continue to build it.  Once you are ranked for the keywords you are going after – that is where you will start to see the sales come in, and finally understand why all this was worth it.

Case Study

I want to share a case study that can prove all of this, and show you the power of what Digg can do for you.  It also shows how you can make money with viral campaigns.  Almost a year ago I ran a viral campaign for a drop shipping company called Wholesale Match sharing 10 Real eBay Success Stories.  They wanted to be found for the term eBay Success Stories – and almost a year later are still ranked on Google in the top 2 of the first page for the term (as of today) check out the screen shot:

Ebay Succes Stories
Ebay Succes Stories

You can see from this next screen shot, this viral campaign has brought almost 33k unique visitors to the post since it was launched (not quite a year ago).  Believe it or not – that number is quite low, we have had other stories bring upwards of 110k uniques because of a FP on Digg.  If you go an take a look at the number of visits from other blog posts – not so impressive.  So you get the steady traffic, and they do make sales because of this.  They are a drop shipping business, and teach people how to make money on eBay – so its a no-brainer they are making money from this viral campaign.

This story probably would have even done much better but it didn’t stay on the Front Page very long because the users of Digg hate us SEO types, and anything they feel is marketing related.  There were to many haters because Wholesale Match had been making the Front Page to often I guess.  It just goes to show you that even in this type of a market Digg can stil be good for you, if your content is good enough – even with all the loser haters that abuse the system (bury) there was enough “real users” that enjoyed the article and ended up sending a lot of traffic and from the screen shots you can see the positve effect from all this!

Power of Viral Marketing Campagins
Power of Viral Marketing Campagins

The Digg story/URL itself still ranks in the top 10 (#10) of Google for the phrase eBay Success Stories, as you can see from this screen shot below: This proves there is much trust and love from Google.  it helps you get two of the top 10 rankings for a keyword that you really wanted to be found for that (from what the owner has told me) converts really well.  Remember – all this was over a year ago, so it really does work well!

Digg gets your site additional rankings in the SERPs
Digg gets your site additional rankings in the SERPs

I have just given you some insight to Digg, but there are many other powerful places that send massive amounts of traffic, links and trust to your sites because of viral campaigns that I have not explored here.

Finally

Viral Campaigns are powerful and they can make you make money.  I hope this post and case study has given you some ideas, or at least reasons why you need to be making viral campaigns a priority for 2009.  Once you really figure out the power, and the over all long term effect viral campagins have on your site, the only problem you will be left with is your ability to contain yourself from working on them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

****Shameless plug***** – remember Dream Systems Media can help – Learn more via our social media marketing page.  Just fill out the form on that page, and we will get back with you shortly!

7 thoughts on “What Good Are Viral Campaigns, If You’re Not Making Sales?

  1. Anthony says:

    In my experience, traditionally viral marketing has been far more effective that the new version, which includes Social Media promotion. While Social Media can produce wonderful numbers which impress people and clients, the traffic doesn’t seem to have the stickiness that traditional viral marketing does. For example if one publishes a white paper or (free) ebook and makes some buzz, over time, those seeking that information will find it, and it will convert at a much higher rate. Too often Social Media is misused, and the traffic, while impressive, is almost invalid.

  2. Mat Siltala says:

    @Anthony
    You make a valid point here, but it makes me wonder if you even read the article, or got its point? You are using viral campaigns and the “buzz” to get people talking about you. The more they talk about you, the more people will be linking to you, pushing trust and in turn making it easier to rank for the words that will bring a higher conversion. I agree there is abuse out there, but if done right these campaigns can be powerful and help increase your overall conversion rate, gain additional rankings in the SERPs which will bring you more traffic AND sales!

  3. Pingback: Posts about Viral Marketing as of December 25, 2008 | The Lessnau Lounge

  4. David says:

    Mat,
    This is a great article for business owners who are novices with Internet marketing. My experience is that experienced business owners who are Internet marketing newbies look at viral marketing as being ineffective b/c they do not see an IMMEDIATE return on their investment. What they fail to realize, and you point out so beautifully, is that their return will come in the form of increased rankings thanks to all of the links. Nice explanation.

  5. Mat Siltala says:

    @David
    Thanks Dave and you too make a great point – experienced true Internet marketers know the value of viral marketing and one of my goals is to help more people understand the power of viral marketing in 2009. Thanks for your comments!

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