As an entrepreneur bootstrapping your business, you know the easiest way to get to the promise land is by having your business go viral through word-of-mouth advertising. The problem is that most entrepreneurs believe that the chances of this happening amounts to winning the lottery. While this is true to a certain extent, the lottery ticket aspect of going viral is only one side of the coin.
The ability to make something go viral is both an art and a science. On the one hand, the art of going viral is synonymous with luck. While on the other hand, the science of going viral is typically attributed to skill.
When you are bootstrapping your business, you just don’t have the luxury to spend money on advertising that requires luck for success. This is why the vast majority of bootstrapping entrepreneurs default to word-of-mouth advertising as their only strategy to grow virally.
The first thing you learn when studying the techniques of storytelling is that triggering the right emotions in your audience is critical. In addition, when you study the traits that make something go viral, you also find that triggering the right emotions is the first thing that matters. So it follows that when you start planning a viral advertising campaign that uses storytelling as the base ingredient, defining the emotions of the campaign is the first thing you must do.
As a bootstrapping entrepreneur, staying on top of the latest advertising trends is a must. It’s a must because in today’s society, people see over 5,000 ads per day. There is just no way the average person can pay attention to more than 1 or 2 of them. As a result, big corporations spend big dollars researching how to get consumers to pay attention. There is no reason why entrepreneurs can’t take advantage of this research.
This past weekend I celebrated the birthday of one of my little ones. The party was held at an indoor children’s play center named KangaZoom. The facility had your typical inflatable jumpers, bouncers, and slides. From the outside looking in, there was nothing exceptional about KangaZoom. However, once the party was over I knew the owners of KangaZoom had the one thing it needed to grow its business virally with word-of-mouth advertising.
Over the years, I have found that the difference between a day of progress and a day of stagnation is separated by whether or not there was a written to-do checklist to follow. So now that I have declared that the only goal that matters for a bootstrapping entrepreneur is to create a viral referral loop, there must be a daily checklist with the things to do that will incrementally progress you to this goal. Both you and I know that without this checklist, the dream of going viral is nothing but a pipe dream.
One of our main goals at Nichevertising is to educate bootstrapping entrepreneurs on the critical importance of achieving a viral referral loop in their customer acquisition process. We define the viral referral loop as the ability to get your best customers to provide at least 3 referrals every month / quarter/ year (whatever fits your business), and then get at least 50% of those referrals to do the same.
The reason why we feel so strongly about the importance of educating entrepreneurs on achieving this goal is for three reasons:
When 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.
Every bootstrapping entrepreneur knows that they need to spend more time on their advertising strategy, but for one reason or another don’t. I belive the reason for this is that it is often expensive and time consuming to figure out the ins and outs of all the various ways you can advertise your business to drive new customer traffic in the door. Everything from pay per click (PPC) ads, banner ads, social media marketing, yellow pages, radio and television is offered up by pushy sales reps trying to convince you that their solution will provide a ROI. I say ignore all of this and focus on this: YOUR BEST CURRENT CUSTOMERS!!!
I was chatting with my mom over the weekend about how the different online advertising campaigns she was trying were doing for her business. She is the business manager and co-owner of a chiropractic wellness center in Georgia. What I heard made me cringe. She told me that the money she was spending on internet advertising wasn’t providing a return on investment. She also told me that after several years of trying various online advertising campaigns most of her business still comes from word of mouth advertising.