Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. With 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, ecommerce, SEO, web development, and selling online courses, he is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships, content, and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about building your online influence by scaling your content and affiliate marketing strategies on his blog.
As a store gets larger and more popular, running an informal referral program becomes increasingly impossible, and the cost of painstakingly keeping track of referral figures (who referred who, how much did we reward them) increases. This can distract from a business’s core value proposition. You don’t want to be spending time micromanaging your customer referral program, you want to be spending your time building great products.
I'm going to add in something that has yet to be said. You CANNOT plan to create a viral piece of content or viral marketing effort. The virality of information and messaging is subject DIRECTLY to the audience and how it sees, understands, shares and promotes this content. The major failing of any and all marketing departments and C-suite executives is that they request a viral video or viral image or viral tweet to help build the brand or promote an event. It. DOESN'T. WORK. YOU. CAN'T. DO. IT. If there were a true formula for creating viral content, it would be worth BILLIONS and only the most successful companies would own the patent on the strategy and methodology. Viral just happens and you thank your stars if it happens for your content or message. Now move along. Real marketing takes hard work and thoughtfulness.
Perhaps nothing is as effective and efficient in spreading your message as a viral. The idea behind viral is to inspire people to spread your message for you. It’s been estimated that a successful viral can have 500-1000 times more impact than a non-viral campaign. Crafting a successful viral marketing campaign is hard. But here’s some ABCs that may help…
Old Spice’s viral video marketing campaign first aired during 2010’s Superbowl weekend. It went on to increase the company’s revenue by 107%. The campaign had 40 million views. It increased Old Spice’s Twitter followers by 2,700%. It lifted Facebook interaction by 800%. All these viewers turned the Old Spice YouTube channel into the all-time most viewed channel.003
One of the best known online customer referral programs is the Dropbox customer referral program. Dropbox rewarded both their existing customers and new customers with additional storage space when a new customer signed up for the service. This referral program had a very low barrier to success, friends just had to signup for a free account, but it was very effective at propagating the company’s freemium product.
If you can afford to partner with a major influencer, go for it. You can ask the influencer either to promote your product via a slight nod or a more overt push. However, if budget is limited, don’t neglect the reach of micro-influencers. An influencer with 6,000 followers can be more beneficial (and much more affordable) than one with 100,000 if she’s a better fit with your target market.
To make your videos as memorable as possible, ensure that you’re keeping them in line with your brand strategy. This means keeping colors, fonts, logos and voice the same in your video marketing as they are in your blogs and articles. While videos do things text content doesn’t, users should still be able to recognize the style and format of your brand’s videos online.
A successful referral program isn’t just about using your existing customers to gain new leads. With 74% of consumers identifying word-of-mouth as a key influencer in purchasing decisions and 92% of people ages 18 to 34 saying that they seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase, referral marketing is an integral component of today’s marketplace - and one that can yield impressive results if the right tactics are employed.
Similarly, when new affiliates join a network, their business information enters the marketplace. This includes how long they’ve been in the network, a star rating based on historical performance, country of origin, promotional methods, and contact information. As an ecommerce site, you search for affiliates by vertical and filter down to find the best matches for your online business. Once you find potential affiliate partners, you send them your public commission offer, or create an entirely new offer just for them. Sometimes an affiliate will answer your offer right away, others take longer to respond, and some may not respond at all. It can be a challenge. While this form of recruiting affiliates is quick and easy, it’s difficult to bring in larger players, which is why you should perform email outreach to find the best partners.
The campaign became viral because it could connect to the audience emotionally. People could relate to the concept of the video. The idea was original, and the content was enticing without pushing the products. The ad encouraged social conversation and sensitivity around the beauty of a woman. It empowered women, evoking feelings of warmth, joy, and confidence. Empowerment is a powerful tool, which can enhance the brand image of your company. So build an uplifting relationship with your audience.
Viral marketing is often used in conjunction with other methods of marketing, such as in the case of the Blair Witch Project. The viral aspect of the campaign generated buzz about the story long before the release of commercials, trailers, posters, and other forms of traditional marketing. This caused many people to already talk about the movie before it was officially announced to the public.
Many voucher code web sites use a click-to-reveal format, which requires the web site user to click to reveal the voucher code. The action of clicking places the cookie on the website visitor's computer. In the United Kingdom, the IAB Affiliate Council under chair Matt Bailey announced regulations that stated that "Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be."
Among the first to write about viral marketing on the Internet was the media critic Doug Rushkoff. The assumption is that if such an advertisement reaches a "susceptible" user, that user becomes "infected" (i.e., accepts the idea) and shares the idea with others "infecting them", in the viral analogy's terms. As long as each infected user shares the idea with more than one susceptible user on average (i.e., the basic reproductive rate is greater than one—the standard in epidemiology for qualifying something as an epidemic), the number of infected users grows according to an exponential curve. Of course, the marketing campaign may be successful even if the message spreads more slowly, if this user-to-user sharing is sustained by other forms of marketing communications, such as public relations or advertising.
DisabledGO, an information provider for people with disabilities in the UK and Ireland, hired Agency51 to implement an SEO migration strategy to move DisabledGO from an old platform to a new one. By applying 301 redirects to old URLS, transferring metadata, setting up Google webmaster tools, and creating a new sitemap, Agency 51 was able to successfully transfer DisabledGO to a new platform while keeping their previous SEO power alive. Additionally, they were able to boost visitor numbers by 21% year over year, and the site restructuring allowed DisabledGO to rank higher than competitors. Their case study is available on SingleGrain.com.
You may use both cash or non-cash incentives for referral marketing example, but a Chicago University study found that non-monetary incentives were more effective than cash benefits by 24%. It is also better to not confine referral to customers or employees alone, referral marketing websites can also be used to new customers and lure them into referral marketing programs.