Every now and then you get a client who catches the remodeling bug and spreads it to their friends. Meet viral marketing: an old technique whereby a service is so catchy that anyone exposed to it will feel the urge to share it with others (just like a virus). Viral marketing is multiplied online because technology helps it spread. But remodelers should start by reviewing the potential for contagion in their tangible services.

First, you need a catchy idea — but this can be tricky, since you never know exactly what will catch on and, in fact, most attempts at viral marketing fail. Start by choosing something that reflects your unique business. For example, you might outfit employees in striking uniforms; use a dust control system that your clients have never seen; or equip employees with iPads to process change orders on the spot.

If you have a hard time coming up with an idea, hold a staff contest with a fun prize and a promise to implement the winning idea. The more this is integrated into your service, the more powerfully the campaign will execute.

The best viral marketing is tied to your actual service. Have something so unique (e.g., completing a bath in a day) that once people see it, they want it. If you can’t create a unique product, try something unrelated such as viral bumper stickers. Just make sure you spread the right message, i.e., how good it is doing business with you.

And remember: a catchy idea needs an easy delivery system to spread from your clients to their friends and beyond.

—Daniel Glickman is a branding consultant and business coach at FirmFlair. daniel@glickman.com

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