Top ten viral marketing mistakes to avoid

One of the most interesting viral marketing campaigns that I was able to work on was a ‘Canary‘ program for Investec Asset Management, a UK based Fund Manager. This was a program where I used an enterprise email tool to identify advisers who were key communication nodes in social networks, (in this case groups of financial advisers), and who actively forwarded relevant messages to their peers. By identifying these information ‘mavens’ I was able to ensure that communications pushed out into the marketplace by Investec reached a far wider audience than originally intended.

Viral marketing is now well and truly part of the media mainstream and a key component of big brand campaign spend. Notable sucesses include:

Brands investing in this area can not only benefit from their original ad receiving considerable play and engagement time in their own right, but further campaign impetus can be generated through user generated spoofs being created in an often ‘tongue in cheek’ kind of way:

One of the obvious advantages of viral ads is that they are not subject to normal broadcast restrictions common today in many markets. In fact, and rather unsurprisingly, the Agent Provocateur ad above was actually banned from transmission in the UK. Despite this it is estmated it has now received in excess of 50 million plays and is believed to be responsible for resurrecting Kylie Minogues career.

Viral marketing from a financial services perspective

Viral marketing from a financial services perspective can potentially be difficult. There are sensitive issues that need to be considered, particularly from a brand perspective. Poor execution can often do more damage than good so considerable care needs to be taken. E-Consultancy produced the following top ten list of viral mistakes to avoid:

1. Failing to promote and seed the communication
Utilise all possible digital distribution channels including mailing lists, press releases, forums, display advertising and PPC.

2. Forgetting to ask the user to take action
Although one of the key takeaways from successful viral campaigns can we considerable audience reach and brand awareness, encourage recipients to request product information so there are clear deliverables once the campaign is over – key in this difficult environment.

3. Failing to create an incentive for people to forward the message on
Make the content itself good or funny. Hot topic, (the current UK Red Nose Day advertising campaign), or certain ‘button’ issues can also be effective at going viral – but be careful what you do; it is likely you want to campaign to be successful for being entertaining, not notorious.

4. Failing to understand the SEO value of viral marketing
Ensure your key viral pieces incorporate your important keywords and include links to key areas of your site.

5. Failing to capitalise on a campaign that proves successful
If your campaign works and goes viral, look at any other ways that you can capitalise on its success, either by collecting further leads or even offering incentives around purchases.

6. Trying to use someone elses campaign idea when it doesn’t really work for you.
If a campaign doesn’t tie in well with your brand values, you could end up with egg on your face.

7. Making it difficult to share or forward to friends, family and acquaintances.
Incorporate as many social network sharing capabilities as possible.

8. Failing to learn from your success by not coordinating with other marketing efforts
Implement the concept of viral marketing in other campaign processes and test out different types of viral campaigns.

9. Failing to use finesse
Even simple ideas such as email signatures can produce good results.

10. Being too ‘self promotional’.
To be successful there has to be something in it for the audience otherwise the campaign will have failed before it has even started.

No related posts.