Second, don’t forget about this Friday’s webinar with Salim Omar, CPA, where he is going to share his most powerful practice management and marketing tips for building a 7-figure practice. He’ll be discussing some of the same sorts of concepts we discuss here, but also many new and valuable concepts in the practice management arena that are very valuable. That webinar is on Friday, September 20th, 2012, from noon to 1pm Pacific (3 to 4pm Eastern). This webinar is absolutely free, so click here to register.
Thirdly (is that a word?), let’s talk about creepy girlfriends. Well, somebody’s creepy girlfriend, anyway. If you don’t pay attention to the latest and greatest amusements brought to you by that wacky ol’ Internet, you may not be familiar with this one, so I’ll fill you in.
About three months ago, a college girl named Laina created a creepy parody of a Justin Bieber song to enter into some sort of fan contest. She didn’t win, but she became an overnight YouTube sensation from this video when a user from a popular Internet humor web site took a still shot of the video and overlayed some inappropriate comments regarding her being an “overly attached girlfriend”. Since then, thousands of such joke pictures have been created, her YouTube videos are getting millions of hits, and she has over 100,000 followers on Twitter.
What on Earth does this have to do with marketing your tax practice?
Two things, actually.
The first thing I want to point out was that her video and the image commenting sensation (called a “meme” in Internet circles) went viral and exploded literally within 48 hours. In just two days, this new meme went from zero to tens of millions of Internet users knowing about it. The “Overly Attached Girlfriend” phenomenon is simply the latest in a series of such viral things going back well over a decade, but it’s interesting to me as a case study in how it actually started and ramped up, since the roots of this particular meme are undisputed and actually very well documented, unlike many Internet viral items.
Understanding how something goes viral on the Internet, and understanding the potential exponential growth in exposure that is possible when something does go viral, gives an interesting picture of how social media actually works in a functional example. In other words, being able to trace the origin of an Internet meme from it’s root source, then through the person or group of people that initially “launched” it into virality, provides a roadmap for intentionally generating eyeballs on your web content. Maybe not 40 million eyeballs in two days, but viewers are viewers.
The second point I want to make is that this meme exists NOW, today. It didn’t exist 6 months ago. And guess what? It won’t exist 6 months from now. Sure, thousands of pictures of Laina’s face, most with crude college humor scrawled across them, will forever linger on the Internet, but like everything else that goes viral, the world will ultimately forget about her. Overly Attached Girlfriend will fade into Internet obscurity, and be replaced by the next viral meme of the moment.
The same thing happens to all Internet content. Everything has a shelf life — including all forms of marketing. Your ad in the daily newspaper has a shelf life of, at most, two days. The banner ad you bought on a popular local web site for a month has a shelf life of exactly that — a month. The direct mail letter you sent might have a shelf life of between 3 seconds and a week. The blog post you wrote yesterday about a foolproof method for getting a penalty abatement has a shelf life of maybe a couple months.
The take away here is that you must always be creating new content, and must always be doing new marketing, even to your existing clients. By following the viral spread of an Internet meme, we can intentionally incorporate similar sharing and linking strategies into our Internet marketing, which gets our message into as many hands across the web as possible. But because that message dilutes with time, we have to keep putting new messages out into the ether, otherwise our tax practice rapidly becomes a distant memory in the minds of our clients and prospects.