Most marketing professionals and e-commerce merchants know about word-of-mouth, i.e. when customers tell their friends about products and services. It is famous for being one of the most powerful forms of marketing, the only problem is that it doesn't happen often enough! Referral marketing is, to put it simply, making a conscious and structured effort to make word-of-mouth happen much more often.
The inbound methodology is the marketing and sales approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful. Each video you create should acknowledge your audience’s challenges and provide a solution. Looking at the big picture, this content guides consumers through the journey of becoming aware of, evaluating, and purchasing your product or service.
Marketers must also plan the procedures for crediting referrals, the number of referrals needed to claim the reward, and any other tools for proving that the referrals actually happened. For example, phone service company Vonage offers two months of free service for each successful referral, and one month free for the new signup. To track which customers should receive referral credits, the company provides a separate signup link for the Refer-A-Friend program, and new customers enter the phone number of the person who referred them during the signup process.
Viral marketing can be less expensive than traditional marketing campaigns, yet grow faster — especially with the help of social networks as a "force multiplier." Since it can receive so much traffic in a short time, it can also lead to mainstream media attention. Social media can also cause viral marketing efforts to misfire, as messages are altered, misconstrued, considered spam or called out for missing the mark. Viral marketing success can also be hard to measure.
Disney initially stated they wouldn’t exceed one million in donations, but ended up donating two million after the campaign blew up. #ShareYourEars campaign garnered 420 million social media impressions, and increased Make-A-Wish’s social media reach by 330%. The campaign is a powerful example of using an internet marketing strategy for a good cause. #ShareYourEars raised brand awareness, cultivated a connected online community, and positively affected Disney’s brand image.
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.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations.
Alright, you’re ready to publish your video. You shot the footage, edited it together, added music and a voice over, and exported it for the web. The next step is to get your video online so your audience can start viewing and sharing it. You have several options for hosting videos online, and in this section, we’ll talk about some of the best ones.
A frequently used example of early viral marketing is Hotmail, the free web-based email service launched in 1996 that included in its users' outgoing messages an embedded advertisement and direct link inviting recipients to sign up for an account. This practice led to the fastest growth among user-based media companies at the time. Another example that illustrates how varied viral marketing can be is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The ice bucket challenge existed before The ALS Association utilized it to raise awareness and generate donations, but the massive dissemination on social media of ALS Ice Bucket videos created a worldwide sensation that not only increased ALS awareness tremendously, but also raised $115 million in donations to the Association in the summer of 2014 alone.
You brought some awesome examples. One of the best ways to get your campaign off the ground is by starting with the ideal audience. I find that I can use data to find my top customers and then make those into ambassadors, nurture those relationships, to create an epic viral campaign. Gilles de Clerck, founder of the Growth Revolution, talks about it here - https://sharesomefriends.com/blog/referral-marketing/
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For a campaign to become viral, you need to strike the right emotional chord with your audience. Ice Bucket Challenge evoked a positive and high arousal emotion as it was funny. By keeping your campaign lighthearted, you will be able to connect with your audience at a human level, which can result in better engagement. If you target the right kind of emotions, the chances of your campaign to become viral will increase.
Referral marketing is a powerful conversion tactic, as people value “realness” and are more apt to try a product or service that’s recommended by a friend or some other trusted source than something they come across via traditional advertising. Referrals can come from friends, influencers, product reviews, news articles, and testimonials. In order to launch a successful referral campaign, brands must offer compelling incentives so customers want to refer others. They must also make the referral process as easy to use as possible. Additionally, brands must treat their referral program as they would a new product launch and educate both customers and employees on how the program works.