Viral Social Marketing

Create FOMO, Grow Your Event

What is Viral Social Marketing?

Viral social marketing is a comprehensive strategy of using digital and physical marketing - whether free or paid - with the goal of getting people talking about your race and creating FOMO in those who may miss out. People trust their friends and family more than they trust a photograph in a digital ad - and they want to share their race experiences with that community.

Viral social marketing embraces community.

Get Started: Build a Marketing Plan to get people talking

Build a marketing plan around what makes your event special and unique, with a calendar incorporating both digital and physical marketing channels. Monitor your results and adjust your plan throughout.


Your plan should include Digital marketing like Google Search, email marketing, Facebook Ads with Custome Audiences, race calendars, a mobile responsive website, and video content.


Don't neglect physical marketing, either, though - no one is doing it and you can stand out in that arena. This includes ads or earned local media, flyers at relevant businesses like running stores and gyms, and connecting with the community through discounts for running clubs or schools.

Build Your Marketing Plan

Viral Strategy 1: Teams

30% of participants join teams when they are available. Teams can be social or competitive, but are always a great way to grow an event by encouraging community participation.


Offer discounts or automated refunds based on team size to encourage friends and family to join, and award teams for large sizes, significant fundraising, or creative costumes to maximize the impact of your teams.

Team Best Practices

Viral Strategy 2: Referrals

Your participants are the most efective advocates for your race. Incentivize them to refer their friends and family by rewarding them with refunds, swag, and recognition.


11.6% of registrations come from referrals when refund rewards and swag are offered. In 2017, RaceDay Events had 2,365 referrals, leading to 851 registrations with only 43 refunds!

Referrals Best Practices

Viral Strategy 3: Drip Campaigns

Use automated emails to set up drip campaigns in minutes and let them run on autopilot. These campaigns should be concise and consistent with your marketing strategy - use them to reinforce your team, referral, and fundraising options.


If you have multiple events, use drip campaigns to cross promote your events, encouraging participants who already trust you to join you more often.

Drip Campaign Best Practices

Viral Strategy 4: Swag

The vast majority of races offer swag. Rather than blending in, set yourself apart with unique swag that people truly want to wear - swag that gets worn turns into an advertisement for your event. Keep your branding consisntent from year to year, but make the swag unique to reward repeat participants.


Include swag in your overall marketing strategy by providing premium swag to your best teams, referrers, or fundraisers.

Swag Best Practices

Viral Strategy 5: A Cause

Participants, particularly younger generations, want to know how your race is helping others - and most races are either nonprofits or provide support to a charity partner.

Your cause is an asset! Whether it's your main mission or a partnership, use the relationship to create a new channel to find participants, and engage them in fundraising to make the event about more than just a run.

Cause Best Practices

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