[Case Study] How FlixWatcher Launched with a Bang Using a Viral Contest

I am going to tell you how Flixwatcher used an iPad, popcorn and Maître to build their mailing list from 0 to just under 5,000 in 6 weeks (including the prep)

Kobi and Helen were ready to launch Flixwatcher, a podcast for reviewing films on UK Netflix. Kobi had the idea to run a competition, except he wanted a competition which had a viral mechanism to it (More on this later).

I am also going to show how they managed to this with zero budget and they drove nearly 12,000 visitors to their competition page.

If you want to run viral contest on a low budget, this is the guide for you.

In the post, I will detail exactly how Kobi and his team leveraged free online communities to drive traffic to his page.

How Does a Viral Contest Work First?

It’s quite simple really. Competition entrants are incentivized to refer their friends in the hope of increasing their chance of winning the prize.

Think of it like a raffle on steroids, the more referrals (tickets) you get, the higher the chance of winning.

All this would have amounted for nothing had it not been for 4 weeks of preperation before the contest started.

Here is how it looked

Lets do a quick fire run down of what they did well

  • Clear Call to Action
  • Clear incentive/prize
  • Appealing prize to their audience, remember they are targetting netflix fans
  • Highlighting words for skim readers
  • The competition was centre stage on this landing page

If you follow these steps on your competition landing page you’re starting off on the right foot.

Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of the marketing, arguably the most important part.

Choosing the right prize (Super important)

It’s true Kobi and his team did choose an iPad which is fairly broad in its appeal but to be fair, it was shortly after Netflix released their download for later series, so it was in the interest of super fans to join the contest. And they did also offer a year’s free subscription to Netflix. The key takeaway is…

Make it relevant – avoid the free loaders

The issue with choosing a prize which is not relevant is you will attract free loaders who are only interested in the prize and not your company’s value proposition. Not good when the aim of the game is to pick up potential leads.

Use Audiense to build a Twitter hit-list of influencers

Audiense is a powerful social profile research and automation tool.

Kobi had the idea to build a hit list of Twitter micro influencers who fit his target market.

These were people who contained ‘Podcast’ as a keyword in their bio, had more than 1,000 followers and tweeted in the last 30 days (kills the dead profiles)

We’ll show you how he did this in Audiense.

Sign up for a free 30-day trial first if you don’t have it already.

Head to ‘Search all Twitter’ in the Audiense menu item

Go to the advanced search on the left-hand side of the next page.

Select your search params, in our case we want…

Bio: Podcast
Number of Followers: 1,000 +
Time since the last tweet: 30 days or less (So their still active)
Entity type: Person (So we don’t target companies)

Bingo. This returned for Kobi a hit list of 7,960 Twitter users who were likely to be active, influential and interested in podcasts. You can download this into a CSV, and then the fun starts.


OK – now what?

Good question. It leads us onto our next task which Flixwatcher nailed.

Before the contest started, Kobi and his team made sure they followed the influencers – of which there were a few hundred.

Over the course of 4 weeks, they personally engaged with many of their posts, liking, retweeting, replying those they liked. This meant, because of the genuine engagement, over the course of the pre-launch of the contest they began to accrue influential followers (those with +1,000 followers).

It’s a fairly laborious process but makes sense if you think about it.

Remember: On Twitter, only ‘followers’ will see posts on their newsfeed, not ‘followings’. 

This by definition means you should spend the most time on those with the most followers.

Thanks to the personalised engagement. At launch, they had just over 400 followers.

Quick one – the principles of automating tasks

For every 1,000 people, you follow you can get between 1 – 10% to follow you depending on how targetted these people are, how good your profile looks and how many followers you have already.

Some of the tools we have used ourselves at Maître are MassPlanner, Tweetfavy, FollowLiker, Tweepie.

Be careful as Twitter doesn’t like it and monitors for aggressive following and unfollowing, especially on new profiles.

When starting, keep the stats low, 100 – 150 follows & unfollows / day. Slowly build it up over time.

During the preparation phase leave this automation running.

Yes but it doesn’t scale

Without forgetting Paul Graham’s famous quote on running a Startup in its early days.

This does actually scale…How?

On the day of launching they set up a Direct Messaging campaign with Audiense – another great feature of the tool.

It’s an automated direct messaging tool – I know it sounds a little spammy, and most people abuse tools like these.

But you have to think, prior to this campaign Kobi and his team had been carrying out genuine and personalised engagement with a real Twitter account.

This meant, on the day of launching he had a great response and conversion rate.

Here is an example of a twitter user with 6,000 followers who tweeted about their competition.

A tweet from this Twitter user has the potential reach of nearly 6,180 followers. Much higher than a regular twitter user. So it’s worth treating these guys with special attention.

Engagement drives referrals

Flixwatcher ran textbook engagement game. Within Maître, we have a set of automated emails which are triggered when someone signs up. This is the opportune moment to drive further referrals and remind people why, and how they should refer people. Let’s check out their email…

What they did right & the 3 things to remind people of…

  1. What the prize is
  2. How they win the prize
  3. Tell people how best they can get referrals (**Big bonus points for this**)

Publicly Engage

If you search on Twitter for your contest you will find a host of people sharing. Reply to these people. Thank them, tag other followers in the post. This all helps build the buzz.

As with all of the social networks, the more engagement a post receives the higher it appears in users timelines, especially within the first half hour. Do anything to drive referrals.

 

Submit to Giveaway Directories

That’s right. One thing Flixwatcher nailed again.
There are directories of live giveaways happening every day.

This is where you will find hungry giveaway junkies ready to share your product across the web.

It’s fairly laborious but you will be surprised at the uplift in traffic. Another way it to use a virtual assistant to do this for around $5 / hour. You can find VA’s on websites like…

Finishing stats

Is this achievable? Viral contests aren’t for every product, but one thing for sure is that the Flixwatcher’s tactics netted them 12,000 visits to their landing page with a 37% sign up rate. This is a great achievement and goes someway to helping validate their product and they now have an audience from which to promote any further product news.


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Kieran

Head of Growth @ Maître | Skibum @ heart | Growth-obsessed by Nature.

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