Why should you bother with referral marketing? You wouldn’t even think to ask that question if you were running a small brick-and-mortar store on your own: You’d just do it, or lose out to others that did. Nobody had to explain to Balthazar the Blacksmith why he should reward his customers for bringing friends in- the value is self-evident. You make your customers happy, you make their friends happy, you get more business. Win-Win-Win.

Courses in consumer psychology help professionals understand how their target market thinks, and what makes them most likely to buy. This helps marketers choose the best rewards and incentives for referral programs. When it comes to getting the word out about referral marketing, the skills learned in media strategy and market research courses can strengthen the ability to reach customers effectively.


But you have to admire the virus. It has a way of living in secrecy until it is so numerous that it wins by sheer weight of numbers. It piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase its tribe. And in the right environment, it grows exponentially. A virus doesn’t even have to mate. It just replicates again and again, doubling with each iteration.

Maintaining the warmth of human interaction at industrial and post-industrial scales is incredibly challenging. It comes naturally only for very-small operations.  Balthazar likely kept track of his customer referrals informally in his heads, or through simple bookkeeping if business was good. He would have had to recognize customers’ faces. If he were running a large organization or a popular ecommerce store today, though, he’d have to worry about fraud. How do you tell if someone is real? How do you keep track of everything?
For instance, you might use Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to get your message in front of an audience similar to your core demographic. Or, you could pay a social media influencer to share images of your products to her already well-established community. Paid social media can attract new customers to your brand or product, but you’ll want to conduct market research and A/B testing before investing too much in one social media channel.
Digital marketing's development since the 1990s and 2000s has changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing.[2] As digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life,[3] and as people use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops,[4][5] digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent and efficient.

In 2014, A.L.S. Ice Bucket Challenge was among the best viral marketing challenges examples in the social network. Millions of people on the social media started filming themselves, pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads and sharing the video with their friends. The challenge was created to give support for fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease. People finished the challenge and then nominated the next person they knew on the social media to take the same challenge. By following this trend, Ice Bucket Challenge became a 'fab' on social media with many online celebrities such as Tyler Oakley, Zoe Sugg and huge celebrities and entrepreneurs like Justin Bieber, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates participating.[76] Until September 2014, over 2.4 million ice bucket-related videos had been posted on Facebook, and 28 million people had uploaded, commented on or liked ice bucket-related posts. And about 3.7 million videos had been uploaded on Instagram with the hashtags #ALSicebucketchallenge and #icebucketchallenge.[77] The ALS association didn't invent the ice bucket challenge, but they sure received a huge amount of donation from this activity. It raised a reported $220 million worldwide for A.L.S. organisations, and this amount is thirteen times as much donation as what it had in the whole preceding year in just eight weeks.[78]


Your first opportunity to delight comes directly after the purchase. Consider sending a thank you video to welcome them into the community or an onboarding video to get them rolling with their new purchase. Then, build out a library of educational courses or product training videos to cater to consumers who prefer self-service or simply want to expand their expertise.

The first step is finding out what would be considered valuable to your clients. This can vary based on your clientele and the nature of what you’re offering. If your clients are part of an interactive online community you might consider something that differentiates them from their peers. For example, if you’re in the video game industry you could offer a character armor set as a referral incentive. If you feel like your clientele/fanbase is ravenous, you can offer referrers early access to your new products. Dropbox offered additional free storage to clients who convinced friends to sign up for the service.

For years, I used to blog a lot about SEO and link building, and I won some cool awards for my writing. Though I may no longer write much for the public, I’m still reading all of the news and theories of others in this industry on a daily basis. I still live, sleep, and breathe SEO. Plus, we have Ann Smarty on our team, who blogs and writes enough across the Web to compensate for my not writing. These days, I tend to focus my time on my business and my clients, not on writing or speaking my thoughts to the world.

Viral marketing is any marketing technique that induces websites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message's visibility and effect. A popular example of successful viral marketing is Hotmail, a company now owned by Microsoft, that promoted its services and its own advertisers' messages in every user's email notes.
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