As referral marketing continues to be a key driver for acquiring new customers, brands are looking for more ways to incentivize existing customers to invite their friends. While traditional online referral marketing programs continue to be fruitful, brands are starting to think outside the box to develop new ways to prompt their customers to refer friends.
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.
Your affiliate partners will either receive a flat fee or percentage of each sale. Take a look at what your competition is doing and make sure your commission rates are competitive. The average affiliate percentage is somewhere between 5 and 30 percent, and it varies widely by vertical. Use your affiliate network to understand what is most competitive in your niche and what you can afford after you factor in your gross sales and cost of good sold (COGS). If you’re just starting an online business, you may want to offer a higher commission so that your brand is more attractive to potential affiliates. And you don’t have to stick to one commission rate. You can have multiple commission rates with different partners depending on how well they promote you and your current relationship.
Getting a client to personally recommend a product to their friends based on their first-hand experience is the ideal referral. But another new avenue for referrals has been opened thanks to social media. When someone retweets your brand or likes it’s Facebook post, that person is signaling to their hundreds of friends that they endorse your brand. A few of these friends might view that content and potentially endorse it to thousands more. This is how good content has the potential to become viral.
A good amount of marketing on the internet can be done for free, but sometimes it's worth spending some money on effective and professional looking options. For example, although you can get free web hosting, it's not recommended. Ideally, you should pay for web hosting to make sure that your website doesn't experience downtime, as well as a professional domain name. Fortunately, you can buy both for less than $100 a year.
Here’s an example of an affiliate page from Yeti that provides every detail affiliates need to know before signing up for their program. Within your ecommerce platform, you can create a page like this and even link to it in the footer of your site for more visibility. This quickly increases the number of inbound affiliate applications and allows affiliates to find you naturally.
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumers spent $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16.0% increase compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. That’s the highest growth rate since 2011, when online sales grew 17.5% over 2010. Forrester predicts that online sales will account for 17% of all US retail sales by 2022. And digital advertising is also growing strongly; According to Strategy Analytics, in 2017 digital advertising was up 12%, accounting for approximately 38% of overall spending on advertising, or $207.44 billion.