The roads to virality of the great internet startups that consume our everyday lives, like Facebook, Twitter and Groupon to name a few, have been less conventional than the roads to a similar result experienced by traditional startup businesses.
These great internet startups have proven that ‘quirkiness’ can replace the billions of marketing dollars spent by traditional businesses to build a brand and cult following.
Quirkiness comes in many forms.
Quirky could be the idea of virtualizing the everyday lives of Ivy League students like Facebook did to attract the majority of Harvard, then other College students before ending up with profiles of 1 in 14 humans living on planet Earth.
Quirky could be enforcing a 140-character limit on status updates like Twitter did before attracting a gigantic user base that includes world leaders, business tycoons and celebrities to its application.
Quirky could be coming up with ‘win-win’ deals with local businesses and spreading them as cleverly-worded coupons to a bargain-hungry audience, like Groupon has done to become a company that rakes in billions of dollars in revenue per year after less than three years in operation.
None of these businesses spent millions of dollars on television ads, bus stop advertising or a Times Square billboard. Planned or not, quirkiness was one of their key means to go viral and attract a critical following of their business. They have built online empires that are today valued at between $10 billion and $100 billion, depending on who you ask.
When starting your online business, plan quirkiness. It is an affordable way to take your business viral and save critical marketing dollars.