Entrepreneurs and internet marketers are all desperate to go viral. They want to see their social marketing campaigns spread like wildfire across the web. So they spend lots of time, honing their messages and planning elaborate videos.
This model has worked for many start ups. There are tutorials all across the internet explaining how to make your crowd-funding campaign go viral with a clever video.
But here’s the truth: You don’t have to go viral to be a successful entrepreneur.
In fact, many e-commerce businesses manage to thrive in non-viral markets. How have they done it? And how can you emulate their success?
Can A Non-Viral Product Succeed?
Some products are not going to go viral. Case in point – Brickell Men’s Products makes skincare and grooming products for men. They knew when they started the company that their customers wouldn’t be sharing pictures of their face washes and moisturizers across social media.
But they also knew they had a winning idea. Josh Meyer – the CEO and co-founder of Brickell – started thinking about skincare when his girlfriend told him she had to Photoshop out his wrinkles in a recent photo.
When he couldn’t find any men’s skincare brands that used natural and organic ingredients, he discovered an opportunity.
The way to success is finding an untapped market. You have to find a problem that you can solve for your target customers. But you don’t have to have a marketing campaign go viral to achieve that.
1. Non-Viral Marketing
Viral marketing campaigns are designed to generate buzz and be entertaining to everyone that sees them. They aren’t meant just for potential customers. These campaigns are aimed at the general public and depend heavily on social sharing.
Non-viral marketing takes the opposite approach. It focuses inward on the specific target market you’re dealing with, zeroing in on a niche.
In the case of Brickell, it meant educating men about skincare. Because most guys realize they need to take better care of their skin, but don’t have any opportunity to talk or ask about it.
Brickell has capitalized on this by making the brand a source of expert advice on all things skincare related. Their email newsletter offers a series of educational messages on how to develop a daily skincare routine.
It’s not a hard sell. It’s just helpful information that most guys can’t find anywhere else. That leads to a strong brand relationship and customer loyalty. The result? E-commerce success.
2. Don’t Focus on Social
New e-commerce businesses tend to focus on increasing their followers and other social stats. But this is totally pointless if you are working in a non-viral industry.
That’s not to say you should ignore social media entirely. All brands – especially e-commerce brands – should have a social presence. You can use these channels to build the culture and style of your brand.
But it should not eat up your valuable time. Social media is not going to be your major source of sales if you’re dealing with a non-viral product. Sure, social media is sexy. But, for many companies, the ROI just isn’t there.
Whatever efforts you put toward social channels, make sure you’re tracking the ROI. You may discover it’s zero, as far as sales are concerned.
Spend your time building your email subscriber list instead. That is where you will get most of your sales. It’s the most direct connection you have to your customers – even those that aren’t going to interact with your company on social media.
3. Build Sales & Boost Traffic with Your Blog
It’s true – many small business blogs suck. But that’s because too many marketers only use blogs for SEO. They think exclusively about traffic.
True, one of the most powerful tools you have for driving traffic to your site is your blog. But it can be so much more than that. You’ve got to offer readers quality articles, not just filler content that they can reader anywhere online. You must stand out from the crowd.
Brickell uses their blog, The Grooming Manual, to educate customers. It’s a brand building effort that teachers readers how to use their products. It’s not direct sales like an email marketing campaign.
Instead, these blog posts are designed to help readers and answer questions they haven’t been able to find answers to anywhere else.
Expand your blog’s reach by promoting it in email blasts and through social media. This keeps people aware of your brand and directs them to your site via a non-product page. When you’re dealing with a non-viral product, that’s often a better route.
You can also reach out to other bloggers and post your content on their sites. This will get your information and products in front of a whole new audience.
If you have top-quality content on your business’s blog, that will serve as writing credentials for other bloggers you work with.
Guest posting boosts traffic to your site and build serious brand recognition. If possible, include a link to your email list with your guest post. Another option is to work with influencers to have them write product reviews. Or you can set up a giveaway, perhaps working together with brands in markets adjacent to your own.
A good blog will open many marketing doors for your e-commerce business. Your products may not have viral potential. But if you team up with other blogs that do have that kind of reach, you will certainly see boosted traffic and sales.
4. Non-Viral, No Worries
Viral marketing campaigns are memorable and effective. They drive huge sales to their companies. But they’re absolutely unnecessary if you’re dealing with a non-viral product.
Don’t waste your time chasing social media dreams if you’re working in a non-viral market. Instead, build your business the way Brickell Men’s Products has. Establish your brand as an essential source for information.
Connect with customers and grow sales via email, not social media. And develop a blog that can be an excellent source of information for your potential and long term customers.
With hard work, you can become a successful e-commerce entrepreneur. Don’t worry about following the lead of viral marketers. Forge your own path. There are plenty of opportunities to find success, even with non-viral products.