Creating a viral referral loop: 5 critical skills you must learn

Creating a viral referral loop: 5 critical skills you must learnWhen I used to work in corporate America, there is one memory I will never forget.  It was this project that ate up managers like they were a dozen lemon pepper wings on Super Bowl Sunday.  One of the managers I had along the way, joined the project mid-stream and ended up lasting only a few months before he was let go.  I believe one of the reasons he didn’t last long was embodied by a quote that he would repeat to the team every time something wasn’t going his way.  He would say “you don’t know what you don’t know,” and he said it so often that you would think he didn’t know anything.

When I first heard him say this, I thought he was on to something that made sense.  But after he got fired for not knowing what he didn’t know, I quickly reversed my opinion.  With the amount of information available literally at your finger tips from any smart phone, there is absolutely no reason for you not to know what you don’t know.

With that said, as a bootstrapping entrepreneur you can’t afford not to know what you don’t know about how to create a viral referral loop for your business.  As I wrote in a previous post, creating a viral loop is the only goal that matters for a bootstrapping entrepreneur.  Although their is a scientific formula for doing this, putting the businesses processes in place to get your best customers to refer at least 3 people to your business and then get at least 50% of those referrals to do the same does not happen through osmosis.  There are some critical skills you must develop first.

So in an effort to make sure you know what you don’t know, here is my list of the 5 critical skills you must learn to help you create the viral referral loop for you businesses:

  1. Storytelling 

    One of the three traits of a viral advertising campaign is that it doesn’t immediately come off as an advertisement.  The best way to do this is by telling a story.

  2. Email Marketing 

    The fastest way to creating a viral loop is through automation. Email marketing is bar none the best way to automate communications with your best customers. As stated before, focusing on your best customers is the first step to creating the viral loop.

  3. Writing Headlines 

    In today’s society, people see over 5,000 ads per dayThere is just no way the average person can pay attention to more than 1 or 2 of them.  As a result, most people have started to tune out most things they see and hear, as well as scan most things they read.  The only way to get someone to pay attention to the things you write is by catching their eye with headlines that resonate with your customer’s problem or need.

  4. A/B Testing 

    As described in Wikipedia, A/B testing is the experimental process of comparing two versions (A and B) of a marketing message.  The two versions are usually identical except for one variation that might impact a customer’s behavior.  That variation is then monitored and measured to identify the best one.  Using this technique provides you the opportunity to optimize everything from your email headiness and calls to action, to how you greet your customers on their first visit.  This will put you on the fast track to creating the viral loop.

  5. Spreadsheet Software 

    Forecasting outcomes is a big part of creating a plan of action.  However, you can’t get to where you’re going without knowing where you’re at. Using spreadsheets software is the most accessible tool to get started with so you can both record your current status and use simple fourmulas to calculate where you’re going.


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