This is the story about how we built a viral doomsday marketing campaign in 7 fast-paced hours to market our newly launched sweepstakes management tool, ViralSweep.
How the hell do you get your product in front of people as relatively unknown founders? I’ve had a handful of well-received articles, and my partner Giancarlo created AnyLuckyDay and has been on Mixergy, but I’ll bet no reporters know our names. Our warm press introductions had run dry with several, “this isn’t a good story right now” replies, and approaching writers cold turns into a numbers game—a lottery that requires you describe why you want to win, without sounding too desperate. Eventually someone will write about you, but at what cost to all other future relationships?
The beginning of the end (of the world)
The day after our last quality lead politefully declined to write about ViralSweep, I met a friend for dinner and was discussing how our private testing was promising but we didn’t have any earth-shattering technology or amazing figures to share; and how every writer systematically said, “sorry, but not at this time.” Almost on cue, he replied with a reference to the end-of-time conspiracy:
“Why not do something fun for the 12-21-12 “apocalypse”? You can give away a survival kit.”
My mind was immediately abuzz with ideas as I wrapped up our conversation and set a record time for the return trip home. It was already 9 :00pm and Giancarlo is an hour ahead on the East Coast. Before even turning on the lights, I opened my laptop and called Giancarlo on Skype. “Get this… a sweepstake poking fun at the end-of-the-world Mayan calendar conspiracies, giving away a survival kit or something funny to one lucky survivor.” Before he finished replying with an emphatic, “YES” we were both pulling up Instant Domain Search to bounce name ideas around, almost immediately finding doomsdaygiveaway.com and buying it.
10:00pm – 12:00am EST
The positioning of our campaign was massively important to us. We wanted to run the campaign just like a ViralSweep customer might, so brands viewing the giveaway could see how it would fit into their marketing strategy, and to produce relatable data for our own future case study. Before starting, we decided it had to:
- Demonstrate ViralSweep from a consumer perspective
- Generate some B2B leads
- Be fun for us and for visitors
After deciding on a budget of $500, we got to work. To plan the survival kit, we searched through previous AnyLuckyDay partners and through the ‘outdoor’ section of Uncrate. We wanted to select 12 products from fresh, high-quality brands with high leverage—brands with heavy social media activity, great audience engagement, and an aptitude for fun ideas. Since we were confident several brands would donate products, we raised the initial budget, anticipating the end cost to land at about $500—giving us room to buy some nicer products. Two hours down.