Top 10 Viral Marketing Mistakes

Top 10 Viral Marketing Mistakes



1. Failing to​ understand how to​ make a​ marketing piece “viral”

Often people create what they call a​ viral marketing piece when it​ is​ nothing more than a​ brochure and an​ advertisement. it​ is​ way too self serving. it​ has no possibility of​ creating buzz. While there is​ no guaranteed formula for creating a​ viral marketing piece,​ there are many things you​ can do to​ increase its effectiveness and its viral nature.

2. Failing to​ make it​ interesting enough to​ pass along

Whether or​ not there are external incentives to​ encourage the​ viral spread,​ if​ you​ failed to​ make the​ article or​ e-book interesting enough with high quality content that is​ useful or​ entertaining,​ you​ couldn’t pay them enough to​ pass it​ along. if​ on​ the​ other hand it​ is​ very useful,​ high quality or​ entertaining,​ it​ will get passed along with or​ without any other incentives.

3. Failing to​ provide incentives to​ encourage people to​ pass your message along

While there are many successes where the​ sender was not rewarded for passing on​ viral information,​ it​ works better if​ you​ can provide an​ incentive. Provide an​ incentive that you​ don’t have to​ pay up front. Instead provide a​ success incentive. if​ the​ desired outcome is​ met then you​ give them money,​ commissions,​ discounts,​ extended memberships,​ additional MP3 recordings,​ more articles,​ more eBooks,​ etc. Whatever incentive you​ decide to​ use,​ make sure it​ is​ easy to​ sign up for and easy to​ collect.

4. Failing to​ provide an​ incentive for people to​ respond to​ your call to​ action

The way to​ sell with a​ viral marketing piece is​ to​ do so at​ the​ very end,​ in​ the​ conclusion,​ in​ the​ summary or​ in​ the​ resource box. it​ doesn’t need to​ be a​ hard pitch,​ just an​ offer for an​ ethical bribe that will move them to​ visit your website,​ call your 800 number or​ send an​ email to​ get whatever you​ are offering.

Experience has shown that the​ incentive should be related to​ your product or​ service. if​ you​ are a​ law firm,​ don’t offer a​ chance to​ win a​ Corvette or​ an​ iPod. Too many unqualified people will sign up and waste your time following up with them. Instead if​ you​ are a​ law firm specializing in​ Intellectual Property,​ offer a​ free e-book on​ “How you​ can increase the​ value of​ your company with patents and trademarks.”

5. Failing to​ effectively promote their viral campaigns

Because we’ve heard of​ some success stories where no promotion was needed,​ it​ is​ easy to​ fall into the​ trap that yours too will be one of​ those. I’m not sure what the​ statistics are but the​ vast majority of​ viral marketing requires promotion to​ make them successful.

6. Failing to​ encourage others to​ pass it​ along

There is​ a​ wonderful piece of​ wisdom you​ should apply to​ viral marketing – “you have not because you​ ask not.” Does your viral marketing ask the​ reader to​ pass this along to​ others? This can be done in​ the​ resource box with something very simple like,​ “If you​ found this useful,​ please pass it​ onto others that might be helped by it​ too.”

If it​ is​ a​ viral article and you​ have also it​ published on​ your website,​ have a​ button or​ link on​ the​ page that says “Send to​ your friends.” While it​ is​ true the​ “Send to​ your friends” button won’t make it​ viral all by itself you​ never know which “friend” that gets it​ might decide to​ promote it​ to​ their list of​ 100,​000.

7. Failing to​ send out anything less than a​ blockbuster success

While it​ would be nice to​ repeat viral marketing successes like Blair Witch,​ Hotmail,​ Purple Cow or​ ICQ those are rare occurrences. Just because your idea falls a​ bit short of​ phenomenal doesn’t mean it​ isn’t worth doing. Let’s say you​ shoot for exponential viral results and only obtain a​ moderate success,​ it​ is​ still a​ success. the​ fact you​ got free visitors to​ come to​ your site is​ great.

I love Michael Jordan’s quote when he attempted to​ go into baseball after his wildly successful basketball career. “I can accept failure,​ but I can’t accept not trying.” Even if​ you​ think it​ won’t blow away Blair Witch’s success,​ try it​ anyway.

8. Focusing on​ a​ single viral piece rather than a​ viral process

One thing I’ve noticed in​ my business career is​ that we tend to​ adopt the​ John Wayne syndrome,​ go big or​ go home. We give it​ ONE try and if​ it​ fails we go home. I don’t know of​ successful business people or​ successful marketing campaigns that take that approach. Instead of​ giving it​ this one shot and then not doing anything after that,​ create a​ process for creating,​ promoting,​ testing and measuring continual viral marketing efforts.

9. Failing to​ test and track the​ results

To be successful you​ need to​ experiment with different titles for the​ article or​ e-book; test different ethical bribes; try different promotional methods; approach different list owners. Find all of​ the​ elements that can be tested in​ your project,​ test various combinations and measure the​ results.

10. Not recognizing it​ is​ different from word-of-mouth marketing

I fell in​ love with word-of-mouth marketing early in​ my consulting career. After 10 years of​ consulting I analyzed every project I’d worked on,​ every client I’d worked for and wrote down the​ source. to​ my shock,​ 95% of​ all of​ them came from word-of-mouth. the​ good news was it​ was cheap (free). the​ bad news it​ was unpredictable and couldn’t be controlled on-demand like I needed.

Viral marketing is​ like word-of-mouth in​ that one person passes it​ on​ to​ another but typical word-of-mouth comes from one person asking the​ other if​ they know how to​ solve a​ problem. it​ is​ much more reactive than proactive. Viral marketing is​ proactive. a​ person who reads a​ viral article or​ e-book immediately thinks of​ 5,​ 10,​ 500 or​ even 1,​000 people that should know about this and they send it​ via email or​ put it​ up on​ their website or​ post in​ on​ their blog. Viral isn’t one person coughing in​ another person’s face,​ it​ is​ one person coughing in​ a​ crowded room causing it​ to​ spread like wildfire.




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