But with referral marketing, all the targeting is magically and perfectly done for you. Many of your clients will recommend you are amazing products and services to those friends and family members (and social media followers) that WANT it and NEED it the most. So you see? Your targeting can’t get any better than this (and without any efforts on your part whatsoever!).

Now, more than ever, consumers are highly cautious about sharing their information – especially online. Make your customer referral program more attractive by being upfront and honest about the entire process. Let program members know how their information will be used, how they can keep track of the process and exactly what they’ll get in return. The more information you share about your program, the more at ease your customers will feel and the more likely they’ll be to sign on. And on the flip-side, collecting and analyzing data from customer referrals is critical for optimizing future rollouts and campaign iterations. You’re planning to enable your customers to share your brand with others, and in return, they’re going to enable you to better understand consumer behavior surrounding your products and services. The more you understand about your customer base and the leads they generate, the more efficiently you can hone marketing strategies, gain customer insight, and grow revenue. Don’t let this data slip away without tapping into its full potential. Before you launch a program, decide how you will collect, store, and examine the intel and data points you retrieve.
Private corporations use Internet marketing techniques to reach new customers by providing easy-to-access information about their products. The most important element is a website that informs the audience about the company and its products, but many corporations also integrate interactive elements like social networking sites and email newsletters.

Four months later, Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel, partners in a law firm, broadly promoted their legal services in a USENET posting titled "Green Card Lottery – Final One?"[15] Canter and Siegel's Green Card USENET spam raised the profile of online advertising, stimulating widespread interest in advertising via both Usenet and traditional email.[12] More recently, spam has evolved into a more industrial operation, where spammers use armies of virus-infected computers (botnets) to send spam remotely.[10]
Online banner advertising began in the early 1990s as page owners sought additional revenue streams to support their content. Commercial online service Prodigy displayed banners at the bottom of the screen to promote Sears products. The first clickable web ad was sold by Global Network Navigator in 1993 to a Silicon Valley law firm.[16] In 1994, web banner advertising became mainstream when HotWired, the online component of Wired Magazine, sold banner ads to AT&T and other companies. The first AT&T ad on HotWired had a 44% click-through rate, and instead of directing clickers to AT&T's website, the ad linked to an online tour of seven of the world's most acclaimed art museums.[17][18]
Monetary or Non-Monetary Incentives – Choosing the reward for your referral program should not be approached simply. You need to understand what your users are motivated by and then offer prizes designed to reward that behavior. For example, they may be more interested in having access to premium features, getting company swag or even funny things like a dancing cat.

The third and final stage requires the firm to set a budget and management systems; these must be measurable touchpoints, such as audience reached across all digital platforms. Furthermore, marketers must ensure the budget and management systems are integrating the paid, owned and earned media of the company.[68] The Action and final stage of planning also requires the company to set in place measurable content creation e.g. oral, visual or written online media.[69]

Dropbox offered free storage to both new subscribers and those who had referred new users. In 15 months, Dropbox grew from 100,000 registered users to 4 million, with 2.8 million referral invites. The company went public in 2018 and today is valued at over $12 billion. Its referral program—which gives 16 GB of free Dropbox space to both referrer and referee—continues to be successful, with 35 percent of new users coming from referrals.

We respectfully disagree. While you can't guarantee a piece of content will go viral, you can certainly build in viral characteristics that dramatically improve your odds. At Viral Shot, we have created numerous pieces of content for clients that have gained significant traction, generated thousands of leads and helped spread brand awareness. We do have a fairly simple formula that works very well.
A marketing degree program provides the foundation and background knowledge about consumer behavior, market strategies, and effective communication in advertising that professionals need to use referral marketing to their advantage. The skills acquired in marketing programs allow candidates to view the big picture, and make sure all the elements of a referral program come together for success.

Not long ago, reach of the average reach of a typical consumer was limited. For the most part it was contained to the number of people they saw in person each day or talked to on the phone. In this day and age though, the average consumers' reach is much larger and for many people with strong social followings, it can be enormous. Some consumers now have the power to make or break a business by what they say about it online.


Scammers can take advantage of consumers' difficulties verifying an online persona's identity,[98]:1 leading to artifices like phishing (where scam emails look identical to those from a well-known brand owner)[99] and confidence schemes like the Nigerian "419" scam.[100][101][102] The Internet Crime Complaint Center received 289,874 complaints in 2012, totaling over half a billion dollars in losses, most of which originated with scam ads.[103][104]
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.

Data-driven advertising: Users generate a lot of data in every step they take on the path of customer journey and Brands can now use that data to activate their known audience with data-driven programmatic media buying. Without exposing customers' privacy, users' Data can be collected from digital channels (e.g.: when customer visits a website, reads an e-mail, or launches and interact with brand's mobile app), brands can also collect data from real world customer interactions, such as brick and mortar stores visits and from CRM and Sales engines datasets. Also known as People-based marketing or addressable media, Data-driven advertising is empowering brands to find their loyal customers in their audience and deliver in real time a much more personal communication, highly relevant to each customers' moment and actions.[37]
Digital marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing,[6] e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games are becoming more common in our advancing technology. In fact, digital marketing now extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones.[7] In essence, this extension to non-Internet channels helps to differentiate digital marketing from online marketing, another catch-all term for the marketing methods mentioned above, which strictly occur online.
Social media platforms are built for communities. From individuals to businesses and government organizations, everyone use Facebook and Twitter to broadcast their messages in real-time. Social media channels are ideal for affiliate marketing efforts because they present your products to a large number of people. This is why it is essential that affiliate marketing professionals should work on expanding their social media footprint so that they could pitch their products to the world!
The participants were asked to challenge minimum three persons to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. This was one of the reasons why campaign became viral. If one person tells three other people about the challenge, and those three tell the other three, a viral loop is created. By setting a call to action, and asking your audience to share about your campaign with others, you too can keep your campaign alive.

When writing this guide, we reached out to the marketer community to collect case studies and learnings about creative marketing strategies. Most of these examples are included throughout the guide, but some didn’t quite fit. So we included those loose ends here, from the perspective of four awesome marketers. What better way to wrap up this guide than with you, our community?


Apple maintains it’s viral appeal, with the iPhone X through their launch of the "Selfies on iPhone X" campaign. The secret to this example of viral marketing (which has clocked up over millions views both online and offline) is very simple: a product so great that it turns people into fans of the brand all on its own. People love themselves. If they have the possibility of spreading this love digitally through selfies, it’s almost a guaranteed win. The iPhone X’s brilliant selfie feature spread virally through various media forms before apple repurposed the viral content into one masterpiece, the iPhone X selfies film. As one of the YouTube comments says, “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”… This viral marketing through video has allowed Apple to spread key features such as their Portrait Lighting effects and their TrueDepth camera.

At IMI, we have the ability to incorporate Affiliate Marketing into any integrated digital marketing campaign in order to push product sales and drive revenue. We believe that this is just one piece of the digital puzzle however. Affiliate campaigns can incorporate many aspects of digital marketing including web design and development, display, paid search, conversion optimization, and SEO.


Regular retailers selling a specific product rarely have the time and/or energy to build their own referral solutions. A customized in-house referral program is likely to be far down the chain of priorities. Before you even think about building your own referral program (which requires technical expertise), you need to figure out how to get your online payments processing in order, your inventory in order, etc. (See: When is Referral Marketing NOT for you?)
Many small and medium businesses can join a business network such as BNI (Business Network International) which has chapters all over the world to help its members promote business through referrals. Each referral is much more valuable than a lead as conversion rate could be near 90-100% while a qualified lead gained from any other forms of marketing have one-fourth chance of being converted to business.
TV used to be the place where businesses would want their ads to play. They could reach thousands upon thousands of people right in their own living rooms. But going into 2019, fewer companies will be putting their money into TV ads and instead turning to Youtube ads. Not only are Youtube ads less expensive than prime time TV ads, but they reach more people.
The campaign became successful and viral with over 17 million people participating in the challenge worldwide. Many celebrities including Bill Gates, George W. Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Mark Zuckerberg, Rihanna, Tim Cook, Rafael Nadal, and Cristiano Ronaldo took part in the challenge. Below video shows the Ice Bucket Challenge taken by Bill Gates:
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.

Influencer marketing: Important nodes are identified within related communities, known as influencers. This is becoming an important concept in digital targeting. It is possible to reach influencers via paid advertising, such as Facebook Advertising or Google Adwords campaigns, or through sophisticated sCRM (social customer relationship management) software, such as SAP C4C, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage CRM and Salesforce CRM. Many universities now focus, at Masters level, on engagement strategies for influencers.
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.

Probably the largest and best known online affiliate program is the Amazon Affiliate program. You can see below that they have changed the name of the program to “amazon associates” because the word affiliate has earned a nasty reputation over time. This is primarily due to the tactics that individuals will deploy in order to earn cash when referring a product they don’t use.


The five forces model of analysis was developed by Michael Porter to analyze the competitive environment in which a product or company works. Description: There are five forces that act on any product/ brand/ company: 1. The threat of entry: competitors can enter from any industry, channel, function, form or marketing activity. How best can the company take care of the threat of new entrants? 2
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