Friends of Friends: How I leveraged my way to massive growth and coverage

Joe Avella is a long time comedy film maker from Chicago. He asked me if he could write a post on his marketing strategy and I agreed YES right away! I’m a huge fan of Joe and LOL’ed a ton when I saw his new 20 minute webisode of Delivery Dudes. This is a guest blog post by Joe Avella – the writer, director, and creator of Delivery Dudes.

Deliver Dudes Pilot

Leverage My Existing Network

My strategy was to market my new comedy show ‘Delivery Dudes’ only to people connected to the pilot and the show’s existing fans. The production includes 50+ people and had an existing email list of 100 fans. So, I targeted their existing social networks, making the marketing much more focused. Once I’d get those connections, I’d then target the new fan’s networks, and so on and so on.

Playing on friendly connections was a key way to cut through the noise, get a lot of people to connect with the pilot, triple my email list, and get written up on!

What do I want?

I needed a goal before implementing the strategy. I had to decide on one thing I wanted my marketing to do. I’ve found that having multiple goals results in far less impressive results. For me, I wanted email addresses! I feel this is the most important aspect to building a long term fan base.

Building a fanbase on a Facebook page is risky because Facebook can change how pages operate. Twitter is short and fast, so you risk a large percentage of your audience missing your message. With email you can send a message whenever you want and get it the most attention.

First things first

I set up a landing page. My site is hosted by Squarespace, so making a page with the video and an email sign up was super easy. First it had the trailer; later the pilot when it was available. I always included an email sign up form embedded under the video, the form was powered by MailChimp. The goal is to get people to this page with as few clicks as possible and make it easy to give me their email address.

Strategy 1: Facebook Ads

People involved in the production of Delivery Dudes were going to share it, at least I hope they would. Which is great, but to really get the word out I made Facebook Ads, and a few promoted posts. Delivery Dudes starred several actors known among the Chicago improv/comedy scene. A majority of them perform regularly at places like i.O. and Second City. So I targeted the ads to Facebook users who associate with those places.

 Example ads:

I created a few different ads featuring various performers only marketed to people who at least knew of the performer, and in some instances, were already friends.

Ad targeting:

note: picking just the 4 theaters still gave me a target of 340,000 people!

These institutions have several students and performers, and are very tight knit. Users associated with these theaters would recognize the performer in the ad, which greatly increased the click-through rates. The clicks would take them to the landing page which featured the pilot and a chance to join the email list.

Strategy 2: Email Promo Contests

I already had a list going into the release from years of other projects. If you don’t, that’s fine, you can try this once you build yours. I run exclusive content on the email list only and occasionally have giveaways. Leading up to the release I had two separate social media-related giveaways to help get the word out.

#1: Twitter

For one week any member who retweeted this tweet was entered in, with the chance to win a prize from Revolution Brewery.

#2: Instagram

For another week, I asked to share any one of these images on Instagram with the hashtag #DeliveryDudes and you could win a prize from (The giveaways gave fans a higher incentive to share Delivery Dudes with their fan base. A lot of those tweets got retweeted, and several images were liked and ‘regrammed’. (Note: I made the contest as easy as possible. Only one thing to do, and it was easy to do.)

Joe Avella marketing quote-v4

Why do any of this?

In short, it was up to me to get the ball rolling and the word out about the pilot. Sure, some would share it, but after all the work, and the fact that I really believe in this pilot, I wasn’t going to let it get sucked into the eternal nothingness that is the internet.

Running the strategies above forced me to think about how to get people’s attention, target an audience, and obtain something more than a passing glance: the permission for future connection. coverage

But the biggest impact came from a Mashable writer who saw the pilot on a mutual friend’s FB page. From hustling to get friends of friends to share, one did who was connected to the writer.

Delivery Dudes on Mashable

If I had no game plan, and just threw it out there and ‘hoped for the best’, the incentive to share among those connected, and their potential connections, would be low. It’s safe to assume the pilot would not have gotten very far.

The details of these two strategies can be changed around depending on the project or your goal, but I highly recommend trying something like it. It’s cheap and you never know who’s 1-2 degrees away. Also, please check out my web series delivery dudes and sign up for my mailing list 🙂


  1. wow this is a sweet step by step plan. Did you get a lot of email signups from the Mashable coverage?

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