Making Viral Marketing and Videos Work for Local Small Businesses


Unclog my drain video for contestViral marketing campaigns and YouTube videos are much-touted marketing strategies today. But for who?

A common complaint from small businesses is how difficult it is to make such strategies work for them. How do you build a viral marketing campaign or create videos that people want to watch when you’re in a necessary yet not-so-glamorous industry such as plumbing or HVAC or some other household service?

I get asked this question often. That’s why I like to point out examples of local small businesses — “regular” businesses — taking creative approaches with videos and viral marketing.

One business doing just that is a New York City firm, named A$49.95 Any Sewer or Drain. They advertise that they will unclog any sewer or drain for just $49.95.

They are running a series of contests involving videos.

One contest calls for a member of the public to come up with a jingle for their television commercials.  The 4995 spokesperson, in announcing the contest (via video, what else?) , says:  “You know how you always get that song in your head when you see one of our vans or maybe our commercial on TV?  No?  You mean you don’t know our jingle? THAT’S because we don’t have one. Hard to believe, I know.”  He’s got some humor, too, going on to say, “your song could be the next annoying jingle that people can’t get out of their heads all over  the country.”

Here is one of the finalist entries:

Rick Maselli submitted the above jingle and video.  Rick was a construction company exec for 40 years who founded  Showroom 411, an online resource for homeowners planning remodeling or building projects.  His is one of 2 finalist entries in the 4995.com jingle contest. I know Rick and I’m quite sure he’s spent many hours underneath sinks working on drains (although the musical skills were a surprise!).

You can vote on both finalist submissions here.  Other contests can be found on the Contest Homepage.

I have not yet talked with anyone from A $49.95 Any Sewer or Drain to understand their goal with the contests or whether the contests are meeting expectations.  My guess is that the company is in a highly competitive environment, and management felt they needed ways to stand out from the crowd.  Perhaps someone from the company will share their results in a comment.

Meanwhile, your thoughts?  Is this the kind of contest you could try in your business?



Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.