Have you ever wondered why some products, services, or company stories go viral on the web and yours has not? Do you realize that a large portion of these “viral” stories are not really viral at all and are simply just really well-placed marketing campaigns that only appear on the surface to have gotten started on their own?

With a few featured articles and a sprinkle of PPC ads, you too can build a mechanism to go “viral” by limiting who your targeted marketing audience actually is and increasing the frequency at which you are marketing to them — and all on a small company budget. This article covers exactly that.

If you would like for me to set you up with a free campaign that gets your brand to be the trusted option at zero-point decision time, then you can request that from me here

There are three things needed to seed your business idea and start the virality loop in just about any competitive niche or business type:

  • Knowing who your customers are  For the purposes of this article, assume we are selling a dieting product. Do we know who is likely to buy dieting products? What types of problems they have specifically? Where they’re primarily located? What stuff they typically read? What these people usually buy other than dieting products? How often they buy dieting products? What they are willing to spend when they do buy dieting products? If you are targeting people who do not have a very high propensity to buy from the very start, you will fail.
  • Authority Why would your target market actually buy from you? There are plenty of people claiming to have a product that can make someone lose weight, so why should they believe you? People operate from herd mentality and will do something if they think everyone else is doing it, and this is why the authority factor is important.
  • Repetition Okay, your target market has heard your message, and it was an effective one, but they will not usually take action unless it’s heard more than once. Who else has mentioned this claim, and how many different ways/times will the customers have to see the message for them to believe it’s legit and to be taken as gospel? Is the message delivering something they’re going to keep telling themselves before they actually buy it, putting it ahead of the rest of the diet products out there?

While these things may seem somewhat obvious to you and hard to overcome starting out, there are proper shortcuts you can take with the right strategy and a decent enough pitch.


Step #1 – Become the Authority

How do you seem like the authority when you are clearly not?

To be an authority, you must be referenced by another authority; there is really is no traditional shortcut or substitute for this. We can, however, make up for this fact by only needing to be reviewed once or twice, which is covered later in this article.

With most media outlets bleeding money in an extremely saturated marketplace selling traditional ad space, it is easy to get an actual authority to review your product favorably. A $5000 donation will get you listed in just about any major trade magazine or high traffic blog you can think of. If you don’t wish to go this route, a $5000 infographic covering product trends will work just as well.

Get Featured In The Best Publication You Can Afford Like Canada Press

Get Featured in the Best Publication You Can Afford


Step #2 – Build a List of Customer Prospects

Meet Experian data brokering. Find customer interests by income class, ailment, spending habits, hobbies, and more!

Building A List Of People Who Are Interested Of What You Sell

And Build a List of People Who Are Interested in the Types of Things You Sell


What we need is a list of people who we know will buy what we offer, including their name, address, and either a phone number or email, in a spreadsheet database for use later.

If Experian does not have the targeting categories you want, such as “weight conscious” individuals (which Experian actually does have), you can always rely on a decent marketer like myself to build you a list in any flavor you would like, or create a lead magnet of your own and PPC that.

I like to advise my clients to build their own lists if they can stand it vs. renting lists from a broker, as what you start with is going to be a much more relevant list.

If I build my own list, I try to come up with things wrong with the product market in general to avoid, or do an independent test of a few products in that market — to put an email opt-in gate in front of that — to build a highly refined prospect list.

Use A Non-branded Offer To Capture And Confirm Interest In What You Sell

Use a Non-branded Offer to Capture and Confirm Interest in What You Sell


Another option you have when building a list is to go through a company like ExactData if you are reaching for more opportunities.

Data Enrichment

Just knowing your opt-ins are interested in weight loss or buying a motorcycle is enough; we want to see what else we can figure out about these prospects. This is where data enrichment comes in from Experian’s data enrichment program.

Enhancing Prospect List With Data Enrichment From Experian

Further Enhance Your Prospect List With Data Enrichment From Experian


All Experian needs is a name and an email, and you can compile all kinds of other information on your prospect to further customize your offer and weed out unqualified buyers, such as income data, brands the prospect likes, and more.

If you can imagine, having a list of not only what someone is interested in buying but also what they likely purchased previously gives you just about all the information you need to craft a unique offer that almost certainly gets some attention.


If you are targeting B2B prospects by title, you can also use B2B specific data brokers to reverse engineer the individual’s names, or LinkedIn. Once you have a list of individuals, you move to pitch these people in the same way as any other B2C campaign.


Step #3 – Become the Authority for Our Accumulated List of Prospects

To do this, we simply upload the list of email addresses or phone numbers of our prospects to Facebook directly.

Uploading The List Of Email Addresses Or Phone Numbers Of Prospects In Facebook.

Upload Leads to Facebook


And hit them with an ad that makes reference to the feature we got from Step #1.

Promoting Own Features to Targeted Prospects Lists

Promoting Your Own Features to Your Targeted Prospects Lists Gives You Huge Potential

It is important to passively execute your authority setting — or as I call it, “pre-marketing” campaign — as if it were a real news feature. This is to establish your “authority” to your desired target audience, and you want people to think it’s their own idea to buy what you offer when you do finally try to sell it to them.


Step #4 – Follow-up Campaign Execution

With everyone having seen your featured article “ad” on Facebook at least seven different times, you are now ready to let loose with a direct mail marketing campaign to these same people.

Checking Prospect Frequency in Facebook

Check prospect frequency in Facebook reporting to ensure people have had a chance to absorb your article.


Know that because of your pre-marketing authority work, your direct mail campaign should work as much as 10x better than before, especially if you subtly hint to the featured ad on Facebook via the direct mail piece.

 Direct Mail Postcard Offer to Send to Your List

Example Direct Mail Postcard Offer to Send to Your List After They Have Opted-In & Seen Your Feature


Finally, any visitor who lands on your website property after getting a direct mail piece will need to be further remarketed to on Facebook with other similar messages and across the web via the Google Display network, for repetition’s sake.

People who click through to a website or personalized lander from a direct mail piece are thoroughly pre-vetted and will be extremely qualified and squeezed for every penny they are worth. This is the leg of your campaign that ensures that every prospect finishes the purchase when they get paid or when they get time to do so.

For maximum results, make sure your remarketing ads reflect the landing page you sent them to and that the landing page offer mirrors what is on the direct mail piece to a degree. The direct mail piece’s job is to get the user to check out how the product works in detail, and the remarketing ad is just a reminder of that experience.

Example Landing Page and Remarketing Ad to Use With Your Post Card Campaign to Get a Credit Card Opt-In

Example Landing Page and Remarketing Ad to Use With Your Post Card Campaign to Get a Credit Card Opt-In


I traditionally set very long cookie windows on my remarketing campaigns due to the business I’m in having a very long average customer purchase window, as you will see after leaving my site, so make sure you set a long one as well if your offer is not time specific, since this is what works best.

Setting a Long Cookie Window for Remarketing

Set a Long Cookie Window for Remarketing With This Campaign


Frequency capping is actually recommended on a campaign like this. I would limit the ad to being seen a total amount of three times a week to fit the image we are trying to project here.

Limit Frequency Capping

And Limit Frequency to Not Seem Too Artificial



As devious as this stuff is, this is how big companies and deal makers do things in today’s digital world and with access to big data. PPC advertising plays a big part of this and is key for laser targeting specific groups of people, so you can seem like the big brand without actually being one, allowing you the little guy or gal to compete. Marketing the old way via outbound, where you shotgun-blasted your message, simply isn’t effective anymore, as there simply is too much noise out there.


Corey Zieman

Paid Search Strategist

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