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February 18, 2014 – It started innocently on a Tuesday afternoon. Fat Boy Natural BBQ had a free sample link on their web site for about 6 months, but never had they received entries like they started receiving on January 28, 2014. “I was working from home and received a call from my husband and our operations assistant. They wanted to know what I posted online. My response … nothing,” said Erin Malzer, co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer of Fat Boy Natural BBQ. “We got 15 sample requests 5 minutes, something was going on. I thought we’d been hacked.” said Kirk Malzer, co-owner and CEO.
Having worked in in web development for 10 years, Erin quickly reviewed the statistics from the submissions. “After logging into the site and checking the IP addresses, I determined that these were in fact valid requests. The question was, why were we getting so many submissions? Between 2:30pm and 10:30pm that day we received nearly 1,500 requests, with another 400 in days following,” said Malzer.
Kirk quickly started e-mailing some that had commented on their submissions to find out where they heard about it. It was discovered that someone had put a simple link that said “Free Sample of BBQ Rub” on reddit.com/freebies.
Over the next three weeks over 150 “freebie” sites had posted the link directing people to Fat Boy Natural BBQ’s sample request page, resulting in over 25,000 sample requests from across the country. Erin said “I have worked in marketing for twelve years and taught other businesses about the affects of viral marketing, but had never experienced it myself. It was certainly an eye opener to see how quickly information can spread across the Internet. The site was so overloaded we started directing people to our Facebook page to message us their address to get a free sample.” It was later discovered that the page had been hit a staggering 25,000 times on January 28 alone. “That’s bigger than the town I grew up in,” said Erin.
“We saw this as a valuable opportunity and decided to ride it as long as we could,” said Kirk. “In one day our Facebook followers went from 720 to over 1,500. We are currently over 3,200 and it just keeps growing. We also gained over 400 Twitter followers and our e-mail list grew overwhelmingly fast. What a great opportunity to reach out directly to people who would potentially buy our product.”
“Now we just have to fill them,” said Ela Grantski, Fat Boy BBQ Operations Assistant. Over the next month the team will work on filling the samples and mailing them off. “We will have another round of this because as it was unexpected, we will have to order more samples. We had several people sign up to be on a waiting list for our next offer. We’ll worry about that after we get this first round taken care of. At least this time we’ll know what to expect.”
Fat Boy Natural BBQ is a family-owned business based in Lincoln, NE. Their rubs and sauces can be found nationally at chains including Kroger, Dillon’s, Baker’s, Hy-Vee, Super Saver, Russ’s and more. They are currently carried by over 2,000 retailers in 26 states. You can learn more about their products or order online at BestNaturalBBQ.com.
For additional information please contact Erin Malzer at (402)480-7167 or [email protected].