Just like real viruses, videos that have gone viral are a big marketing hit and their success could tempt you try them for lead generation. On the other hand, just the term ‘viral’ alone should give you pause. As a business that offers support to healthcare practices, you should know how anything that emulates a contagious bug is usually a bad thing.
It still pays to be a little more objective though, so exactly what falls under the definition of viral in terms of lead generation?
Well viral, as demonstrated by many hit videos on YouTube and online personalities, is simply word-of-mouth at its most rampant and widespread. Its generating buzz at an erratic pace and, at least ideally, runs solely on the will of the masses. You could probably consider it as a more organic form of advertising. However, you should know that not all marketing and lead generation services are jumping on the bandwagon.
B2B marketers, in particular, should be forewarned that viral attention doesn’t always translate into best results. Look at how a typical viral piece of marketing actually works:
- Step 1: Create a gimmicky video that attracts a lot of attention on YouTube (or even perhaps Facebook and Twitter)
- Step 2: Watch it spread like wildfire across the internet, letting the raw attention do all the marketing for you.
- Step 3: Wait, what’s step 3?
Simply put, you can’t just make a viral video for marketing and then expect it to end there. And don’t forget, viral attention works best if a lot people spread your influence around. Do you really want to ‘qualify’ that many people for your B2B leads?
Stop and just think for a moment, what is your target market? Your target market consists of medical facilitators, professionals, managers, hospital owners etc. Do you really need a spread-shot technique like viral in order to reach them? You might even be better off with niche social marketing (and even then, that too can still be an incomplete strategy).
As a matter of fact, even viral itself is not as authentic at it seems. Some owners of viral videos actually pay extra to the hosting site for more exposure. There are times too when the video content itself is 100% fabricated. And if you’re still not convinced, here is an article from Worldcrunch that reports about a French PR agency that actually experimented using fake viral influence. Below is a quote from the agency’s director:
“Arthur Kannas, the brilliant inventor of Mars Kebab and director of the Heaven agency, says that ‘purely viral’ is a myth. ‘Advertisers naively believe that if they publish amusing or interesting content on an advertising page, visitors will flock to it as if by magic. That isn’t true. To make people come, first you have to prime the pump artificially, one way or another.’”
Aside from Kannas’ suggestion, you can also simply generate health leads just by getting your marketing back under your control. Use tools like targeted email or even telemarketing to reach prospects. And don’t forget, try to complete your social marketing strategy. Who knows, maybe with those tools, you can give viral a try. But like any virus, you should try to keep it contained and controlled.