Five Surprising Reasons Why Your Viral Campaigns Are Bombing

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Learn how to avoid these 5 most common mistakes that bomb a viral campaign – and how to avoid them.

If you've heard that viral marketing is really profitable, you've heard right. If you have heard...“Viral marketing is worthless!” It was from the marketers who have no idea what they’re doing.

Those marketers are doing it wrong...They get a trickle of traffic here. A tiny stream there. Nothing like the traffic floods and avalanches that other marketers boast about.

Are those other marketers lying about their results?

Nope. They’ve just discovered the secrets for creating successful viral campaigns. They’ve learned how to avoid the most common mistakes that tend to bomb their campaigns. And now you’re about to learn five of these mistakes too – and how to avoid them.

Which of these mistakes are you making?

viral marketing - goal setting

Mistake #1: Not Setting Goals

Before you even think about setting up a viral campaign, you need to decide what the point of the campaign is. In other words, what is your primary goal?

Hint…I want my campaign to go viral” is not a good goal.

A good goal is one that’s measurable and specific. For example, “I want to increase my traffic by X%” or “I want to add X subscribers to my mailing list” or “I want to generate X number of sales.

Be Measurable. Be Specific.

Sure, you may want “more traffic,” but that’s not a goal because it’s not specific. After all, getting just ONE extra visitor to your site with a viral campaign could technically be considered “more traffic” … but that’s definitely not what you had in mind, right?

So, be specific. Exactly how much traffic? Sales? Subscribers?

Secondly, you need to choose something that’s measurable, and the you need to be prepared to measure it.

For instance, some people do viral campaigns to raise their brand awareness. That’s absolutely fine… as long as you’re actually measuring if the campaign is doing its job. This means doing market surveys before and after your campaign to see if you’ve raised awareness in your niche.

And finally, you need to choose just ONE primary goal. If you’re trying to achieve a bunch of goals (subscribers, sales, branding, social media followers, etc.), then your campaign is going to bomb.

Choose one goal, design your campaign around that one goal, and anything else you achieve is gravy.

Here’s the next mistake…

Alienating Audience PLR

MISTAKE #2: You’re Alienating Your Audience

Sometimes marketers are so desperate to get their campaigns noticed that they push the envelope too far. They create an offensive campaign that gets noticed all right… but it also alienates their audience.

Look, polarizing people isn’t necessarily a bad thing – IF it’s done right.

For example, there is a certain group of folks who have very strong opinions about Chevy trucks versus Ford trucks. Let’s imagine you have a marketer who’s targeting those who love Chevy trucks. This marketer might start posting anti-Ford content and memes. For example, they might post a meme of a flatbed carrying a Ford with the caption, “There goes the garbage truck!

This type of content is going to polarize the broader audience of truck owners. Chevy owners are going to love it (and be drawn to the marketer), while Ford owners are going to be seething mad (and vow to never do business with that marketer again).

Same thing would happen in reverse if the marketer posted a meme of a flatbed carrying a Chevy with that same caption. Now Chevy owners would be spitting mad, while Ford lovers would be sharing it up and down Facebook.

Same goes for any sort of major divide you can think of, from “cats vs. dogs” to “Yankees vs. Mets” to “Coke vs. Pepsi”… and all the other topics where people have strong opinions.

Now, just because polarization works doesn’t mean you should immediately go for an offensive or otherwise shocking campaign just to get attention in a crowded niche.

Truth is, many of the top viral campaign successes have tugged at POSITIVE emotions rather than shock, offense, anger or other negative emotions.

Go ahead, think about some of the big viral campaigns you remember. Even take a look at all the viral videos and memes crossing your Facebook feed (like those funny cat videos). The vast majority of them tug at your heartstrings, make you laugh, and otherwise make you feel good.

If you want your content to go viral, then think about how you can make your audience feel good.


MISTAKE #3: You Did a Copycat Campaign

It’s a good idea to do some research to find out what types of content your audience seems to respond to the best.

For example, do they like:

  • Humor?

  • Inspirational content?

  • Videos?

  • Infographics?

  • Useful tips?

And so on.

The point is to look for patterns to see what gets your audience sharing and interacting with content, and then modeling your content around this same basic structure.

But heads up…This is where a lot of marketers make a mistake. What they end up doing is a 'copycat campaign' – they find something that’s working, and then create a near clone.

Big mistake.

That’s because part of what makes a campaign go viral is that it’s something unique. When people see something new, they literally get a flood of “feel good” chemicals in their brain. You get that happy dopamine rush going in your audience, and you’ve just increased your chances of getting more people sharing your content.

Putting out the same old rehashed content as everyone else isn’t going to produce that feel good effect, nor is it going to get the shares you’re looking for. That’s why you need to create something fresh.

So, go ahead and do your research to learn the basics of what your audience likes, such as infographics or humorous memes. But then create something new – something that’s going to light up your audience’s brains and get them hitting the share button.

Here’s the next mistake…

MISTAKE #4: You Didn’t Promote Your Campaign

Sometimes marketers think all they have to do is drop their content on social media and it will become an overnight sensation.

Nope, it doesn’t quite work that way.

If you want to create a truly successful campaign, then you need to plan it and promote it. That includes taking these steps:

  • Plan the right time of the day to drop the content. Check your traffic logs to determine when your audience is most active. Not just when they’re online, but when they’re actively engaging in activities such as joining your list, buying your products, commenting on social media and so on. Then plan to launch your content at a time of the day when you know your audience is likely to be online and in a position to share it.

  • Promote the content. You should be promoting your viral campaign in the same way you promote products. This includes telling your list, blogging about it, distributing it on social media, using paid ads, guest blogging, asking your marketing partners to spread the word, and similar.


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