The Journey From Zero To Viral

The Journey From Zero To Viral

written by Houston Golden
February 23rd, 2017
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Going Viral is Fun, but it isn’t easy!

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Using Facebook Ads

Placing Ads:

  • Send ads to promote your discount at the end of the giveaway. These ads target everyone on your email lists.
  • If you have a complement upsell (to the prizes) on the “Thank You” page, then use Facebook Ads to promote the complement upsell throughout the giveaway. Send these ads to everyone who enters the giveaway. You do this by using a Facebook pixel to develop a custom audience.
  • Send ads to the custom audience of those who went to the giveaway, but didn’t enter (best to run this continuously throughout the giveaway). You exclude those who did enter by exporting the entry list and uploading it as a custom audience.
  • Ads with people (e.g. smiles perform better, but steer from stock photos), prizes, a sense of urgency (e.g. pasted image over the ad that says “7 days left!”), urgency copy (e.g. “enter in seconds”), and benefit copy (e.g. feel stylish with your new iPhone).

Keep in Mind

  • Make sure to test rigorously different pictures, copy, and placement.
  • The copy will be different for each custom audience (e.g. if they already visited the promo page, but didn’t enter into the giveaway, then you can use copy like “You were so close to winning an iPhone.”
  • Be creative and be specific to your audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to hit them on other platforms too such as Perfect Audience and AdRoll.

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Give an Extra Incentive

  • Associate the giveaway with an event (e.g., Christmas, New Years).
  • Award more entries for sharing the giveaway via social networks.
  • Award a guaranteed gift (tiered system) such as a discount or an eBook for receiving a certain # of referrals from sharing. For example, give a  gift for first five referrals (something simple, non-shipping preferable).
  • If you can give them a gift for the first referral and just for entering, it can make a HUGE difference.
  • You can mix a tiered giveaway with basic referral and random-selection.

Facebook Posting

It’s critical that you post every day on your Facebook fan page. Your organic reach is not high, so your visitors won’t feel as if they’re receiving spam.

What to post:

  • Pictures of winners (make sure to tag them if possible)
  • Always include a link back to the giveaway (make sure you use a Bitly link)
  • Any press your company receives
  • Blog posts that contain call-to-actions hyperlinked back to the giveaway
  • Light-hearted pictures of you and of your team

Twitter Posting

1. Find your entrants on Twitter and thank them for not only entering but referrals.

a. This takes time, but one little push might make all the difference.

b. Throw in a mixed giveaway – if you enter, get 5 referrals, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, then you get X prize.

2.Tweet five times a day with the link to the giveaway page if you tweet over ten times a day already.

a. Find the balance between spam and great promotion.

3. Announce winners via Twitter with an @[username], too.

4. Reach out to partners or influencers who entered with a retweet.

BAMF The Journey From Zero To Viral Article Image
Find your roar!!! Don’t hold back on promotion.

Influencer Partnering

Contact influencers:

Reach out to social media influencers. I suggest finding their emails via outsourcing using Upwork or Elance. Here are some other tools that effectively help find and connect with relevant influencers:


Dig deeper into Twitter analytics: Who are your followers? Where are they located? When do they tweet? Find and connect with new influencers in your niche through searching relevant key terms.


Cool tool that lists and organizes blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts by a social influence algorithm.

Blog RSS aggregator organized by topic. Lists feature top blogs in each category edited by Alltop staff.


Score-producing, public face that measures an individual’s ability to move their networks to action.

When it comes to influencer partnering, you need to provide them a HUGE amount of value if you don’t have a significant following.

  • The more you convince them that the prize and the associated event of the giveaway appeal to their audience, the higher the chance of them promoting your giveaway.
  • Leverage what you have that can benefit them (e.g. email list, % of sales from giveaway, other trades)
  • Make it easy for them to participate. Let them know that you have the entire giveaway process automated. Show them past case studies (e.g. screen share, personal visit, care package).
  • Make sure you have the terms and conditions laid out properly.
  • See if they have they have similar products or services that can be used as prizes, too.

BAMF The Journey From Zero To Viral Article Image

Launch Date & Preparing

  • Determine launch day: Your promotion gets an early boost if you launch your sweepstakes at the right time and the right day. Take a look at your own data to determine the best time and day for your audience.
  • Give yourself two weeks before a 21-day giveaway to promote, prepare, and automate. Anything less, the chances are you’ll run into some problems. Remember, you need to set up emails templates, plan all your posts,  and set up your Facebook ad campaigns. This may be over a hundred messages going out on different marketing channels.
  • Don’t fill up your schedule during the giveaway. Set some time aside each week to make fixes.

Kickstart it with a Video

Your video on the Enter To Win page should be high-quality, story-oriented, and have a clear call-to-action. If you want to have a quality giveaway, then I highly suggest utilizing a video that would seamlessly work as Kickstarter video, too.

Yes, this takes work. But there’s nothing more convincing than a personable sales video. I wouldn’t suggest going too overboard. You don’t even need to have anyone speaking.

Don’t wing it! Look at what others have successfully done. Here are some great examples:

  1. Coolest Cooler – Raised $13 million –
  2. Waterdeep Double Album – Raised $40K –
  3. Emberlight – Raised $300K –

The “Enter to Win” Video

  1. First ten seconds of getting the viewer’s attention is crucial.
  2. Make sure to include your call-to-action within the first two minutes in voice, text, or just text below the video.
  3. Your call-to-action needs to be time sensitive. “Enter to win” is not as good as “Enter to win now.”
  4. Don’t do it by yourself if you’re not great with visuals. Get help, but don’t go broke.
  5. Tell them who you are and your vision (the why).
  6. Related to your bigger vision: “This is real. You can make a real difference.”
  7. Tell them when you are announcing winners.
  8. Show them how incredible the prizes are, don’t tell them.
  9. Run the script and final version of the video by several people who don’t know what you’re making and ask them to explain it back to you and take a survey.

“Thank You for Entering” Video

  1. Thank them for entering
  2. Talk about the vision
  3. Show benefit of the prizes again
  4. Reiterate when you are announcing winners
  5. Reiterate call-to-action
  6. Add another call-to-action
  7. Keep it short and sweet

Features for a higher conversion:

  1. Countdown Timer
  2. Visitor Faces
  3. Instagram Gallery (Hashtag)

Note: Don’t overdo it. Keep their attention on the call-to-action.

BAMF The Journey From Zero To Viral Article Image

Some Tips

  1. The barrier to entry for referring should be close to zero. This means, for one referral, you should give away something of high value. Also, make the delivery of the reward as fast as possible.
  2. Once they become referrers, it’s easy for them to get into the mindset of referring more people. Moreover, you now have a good reason to contact them via Twitter and say “Thank you for the referral [referrer’s name]! Hope you like your [prize name]. Keep up the good work :)”
  3. Include the best prizes in one of the referral tiers.
  4. Make the small-barrier-to-entry-referral prize only available for a limited time to increase action.

It’s Not Perfect

Professional sweepers

  • They enter sweepstakes with fake email addresses to increase their chances of winning.
  • It’s almost impossible to avoid professional sweepers.
  • Your email marketing software should automatically remove these people. However, because they exist, you can always re-select a random winner if you don’t think the person who won is trustworthy.

Create an Open Loop

Some ideas:

  • When you announce your final winner, let people know about an upcoming event or another giveaway.
  • Say you’ll give out one HUGE secret prize during the final weeks, but you won’t announce exactly when.
  • Mention a guest appearance of an influencer in a live Hangout a week after the giveaway.
  • The worst thing you can do after the giveaway ends is to stop contacting them. It’s not time to sit back and relax. Keep in touch with them through social media, email, and Hangouts.
  • Basically: Find a way to keep their engagement. If you wouldn’t cut off contact with your friends, then why would you do it with them?




About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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