How To Craft A Viral Marketing Campaign For Your Restaurant

Viral marketing is one of the most effective but difficult forms of marketing in the world. If successful, a viral marketing campaign can attract attention like no other. Literally, a small restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska can be launched into the international spot light. Viral marketing works by getting people to spread messages through social and professional networks at an extremely high rate and speed.

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When done right a viral marketing campaign can be cheap and highly effective. In order to ensure that your viral campaign takes off and attracts a lot of views, we will outline the essential components of a viral marketing campaign!

The Components of an Effective Effort

-The Hook-
You need to grab viewers’ attention. One easy way to do that is to offer a really, really good incentive. For example, if you run a pizza parlor you could offer a pizza for $1. The trick is that the offer must be really enticing, a small discount, like a dollar off of a burger, won’t work.

Another way to go viral is to make a really funny, unique, or crazy advertisement. This can include really unique videos that grab people’s attention and encourage them to spread the video or message through their networks.

-Easy To Distribute-
In order to make sure that the message spreads quickly, you need to make sure that it is very easy to share. Uploading a video to Youtube, for example, will allow Facebook users to quickly spread the video through their network.

-A Launch Pad-
You will need a “launch pad” of people to start spreading the message. These people should be close to your business and will need to spread the message or advertisement through their own social networks. Examples include:
-Loyal Customers
-Business Partners

-The Two Channels-
Viral marketing relies on two primary channels, word-of-mouth and the Internet. Generally, it is best to pursue both channels at once. The important point is that you must work to actively encourage the viral growth of your marketing message.

-Using Word-of-mouth Advertising-
Word-of-mouth advertising operates on the same principle as viral marketing. Even if your campaign doesn’t go “viral,” it could still be the beginning of a great word-of-mouth marketing campaign. For this reason you should always focus on making sure that customers are very happy your business and service.

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The Rise of the Internet
Your message will have to be spread through a medium. And while word-of-mouth is the oldest and most effective mediums, there now digital mediums that can spread your message even faster. Using the Internet you can spread your message far and wide in a short amount of time!

– Social networks-
Perhaps no other type of media has changed the world in the last ten years as much as social media sites have. Nearly a billion people are on Facebook, millions more own a Twitter account, and Linked In is becoming ubiquitous among working professionals. Each one of these networks offer ways to launch viral campaigns because it is very easy for people to share stuff with their friends, associates, and followers on such social media marketing networks.

– Using Email-
With email, people can easily forward messages to other people on their contact list! If you send really interesting photos, a great message, or an awesome discount there is a good chance that people will mail the message to their friends, thereby making your restaurant’s email marketing campaign go viral.

-Publicity Through Blogs-
Tons of people now own blogs, which often act as mini-news sites where bloggers provide information on specific topics. Some sites, such as and, host thousands upon thousands of blogs! You can create your own blog and start posting information, or you can reach out to bloggers and tell them about your awesome deal, hilarious ad, or upcoming event.

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Techniques That Can Go “Viral”
Looking for some actual ideas on how to launch a Viral marketing campaign? Read on!

– Sponsor a Publicity Stunt-
One of the oldest forms of viral marketing, sponsoring a “publicity stunt” is a great way to attract attention. For example, if you serve early morning breakfast, you could hold a special “early bird” day and have all of your employees dress up as roosters. Or, if you own a sports bar, you could pay a stunt driver to do some tricks, like jumping over cars in your parking lot with a motorbike.

-“Refer a friend”-
Through refer a friend advertising you offer your existing customers incentives to bring in or refer friends to your business. One easy way to do this is to offer your customers buy-one-get-one-free coupons, so that they can bring in friends. Another is to offer online coupons to customers for providing email addresses from their friends.

– Hilarious Ads-
One of the cheapest, but also most difficult types of viral marketing, if you can create a really hilarious ad there is a great chance that it will spread via Youtube, Facebook, and other social media sites.

-Hold an Event or Contest-
If you can hold a really unique and awesome event or great contest, you will drum up a lot of publicity through social networks and word-of-mouth. Big companies regularly give away millions of dollars for this reason.

– Create a One-of-a-kind selling point-
One of the most effective and long lasting ways to generate word of mouth advertising is to create a really unique selling point. Maybe you have a crazy menu item, like Chili Pepper Cake. Or perhaps you create a unique atmosphere, like a wild African safari theme.


A Few Ideas For Your Campaign
So how do you actually go about setting up a viral marketing campaign? Let’s go over a few examples!

If you already have a database of email addresses you could send out an email to your customers with a  really awesome deal. In the email you should also tell customers to forward on the awesome deal to all of their friends. Not only that, but you should blast this promotion through your Facebook page!

Another way to launch a viral campaign is to turn all of your employees into marketers for your restaurant. You can create special discount cards, for example, that offer a discount and have the employee’s name printed on it. You can then ask your employees to distribute these cards. Each time a customer uses the coupon you can then give your employee a small reward.

The Downsides of Viral Marketing

While viral marketing is a great form of advertising, it’s not without its own risks. Consider the following points:
– Once a message goes viral, it goes out of your control. If the message should somehow turn negative, there’s nothing you can do to slow or stop the spread of the message.
– There are few ways to target specific audiences or demographics.
– Many people will quickly see it as a marketing tactic.
– You can spend a lot time and resources and the campaign might fizzle out anyways.
– Often, you need a bit of “luck” for something to go truly viral.

At the end of the day you will have to carefully plan and craft your viral marketing campaign! Make sure that nothing comes off as gimmicky and nothing can be construed as offensive! Also, run any ideas by friends and family first before you launch your campaign.





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