There is debate on the origination and the popularization of the specific term viral marketing, though some of the earliest uses of the current term are attributed to the Harvard Business School graduate Tim Draper and faculty member Jeffrey Rayport. The term was later popularized by Rayport in the 1996 Fast Company article "The Virus of Marketing",[12] and Tim Draper and Steve Jurvetson of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 1997 to describe Hotmail's practice of appending advertising to outgoing mail from their users.[13] An earlier attestation of the term is found in PC User magazine in 1989, but with a somewhat differing meaning.[14][15]
Another disadvantage is that even an individual or small group of people can harm image of an established brand. For instance Dopplegnager is a term that is used to disapprove an image about a certain brand that is spread by anti-brand activists, bloggers, and opinion leaders. The word Doppelganger is a combination of two German words Doppel (double) and Ganger (walker), thus it means double walker or as in English it is said alter ego. Generally brand creates images for itself to emotionally appeal to their customers. However some would disagree with this image and make alterations to this image and present in funny or cynical way, hence distorting the brand image, hence creating a Doppelganger image, blog or content (Rindfleisch, 2016).
The portraits were then placed side-by-side, and notable differences were found between them. The portrait based on the stranger’s description was more attractive than the portrait based on self-description. The message that the campaign aimed to convey was “You are more beautiful than you think.” Below is the video of Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign:
Partner programs typically have a much more rigorous admission process than affiliate programs and come with some legal obligations. The admission processes can included paying fees, going through a certification program and/or attending training sessions. Due to this rigorous process partners are able to state officially that they are associated with your company and may be listed on your company website as a way of vouching for them.

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.
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.
It is important to note that a referral program is a overarching concept and not a specific type of program. This means that things like affiliate programs, customer referral programs and partner programs are all referral programs.  In polite conversation it isn’t worth getting into the details. When growing your customer base is crucial to your company picking the correct variation could be the difference between success and failure.
According to Statistica, 76% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile and by 2020 the number of worldwide users of social media is expected to reach 2.95 billion (650 million of these from China alone). Of the social media platforms, Facebook is by far the most dominant - as of the end of the second quarter of 2018 Facebook had approximately 2.23 billion active users worldwide (Statistica). Mobile devices have become the dominant platform for Facebook usage - 68% of time spent on Facebook originates from mobile devices.

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.


My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
Related to consumers' attitudes toward a brand or even toward the marketing communication, different online and social media statistics, including the number of likes and shares within a social network, can be used. The number of reviews for a certain brand or product and the quality assessed by users are indicators of attitudes. Classical measures of consumer attitude toward the brand can be gathered through surveys of consumers. Behavioral measures are very important because changes in consumers' behavior and buying decisions are what marketers hope to see through viral campaigns. There are numerous indicators that can be used in this context as a function of marketers' objectives. Some of them include the most known online and social media statistics such as number and quality of shares, views, product reviews, and comments. Consumers' brand engagement can be measured through the K-factor, the number of followers, friends, registered users, and time spent on the website. Indicators that are more bottom-line oriented focus on consumers' actions after acknowledging the marketing content, including the number of requests for information, samples, or test-drives. Nevertheless, responses to actual call-to-action messages are important, including the conversion rate. Consumers' behavior is expected to lead to contributions to the bottom line of the company, meaning increase in sales, both in quantity and financial amount. However, when quantifying changes in sales, managers need to consider other factors that could potentially affect sales besides the viral marketing activities. Besides positive effects on sales, the use of viral marketing is expected to bring significant reductions in marketing costs and expenses.[26][27]
RewardStream’s Neil Parker says that one of the most common reasons referral programs fail is because of poorly trained team members. “Your referral marketing programs experience the greatest success when your employees are aware of the program, and can explain it to customers,” Parker says. “Everyone in your organization should understand the referral program, and your customer-facing team members should be able to explain it clearly to customers.”
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steady stream of revenue when building an affiliate website. 
Word-of-mouth marketing, which occurs when others tell each other about a business, is also considered a form of referral marketing. Word-of-mouth is the principle behind things that “go viral,” like the Old Spice commercials featuring Isaiah Mustafa that were originally released on YouTube. This tongue-in-cheek campaign, with the tag line “The man your man could smell like,” became the fastest growing online viral campaign ever, with 23 million views in 36 hours—and generated a sales increase of 107% for Old Spice. (See also Word-of-Mouth Marketing)

After being accepted into an affiliate program, marketers receive a unique URL that includes their affiliate ID. They share that unique URL with their subscribers, site visitors, and social networks via text links or ads. When someone clicks on that link, affiliate software records that click and any resulting product sales in the affiliate’s account. When commissions reach a pre-determined threshold, the affiliate is paid.
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.
Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions. These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual affiliate links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.
Companies may also be able to use a viral video that they did not create for marketing purposes. A notable example is the viral video "The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments" created by Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz of EepyBird. After the initial success of the video, Mentos was quick to offer its support. They shipped EepyBird thousands of mints for their experiments. Coke was slower to get involved.[75]
Utilizes existing communication networks. Most people are social. Nerdy, basement-dwelling computer science graduate students are the exception. Social scientists tell us that each person has 8 to 12 people in her network of friends, family, and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of scores, hundreds, or thousands of people. A waitress, for example, may communicate regularly with hundreds of customers in a given week.
"At Growth Tribe we found that Viral Loops is one of the easiest tools to implement a referral program. We train Growth Teams to setup their campaigns in just 30 minutes. Viral Loops is awesome, especially since it has a super diversified stack of campaign templates. Our course participants are now able to build almost any viral campaign they want!"
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.
Don’t waste time searching for numbers when the data you need to drive more referrals is in Ambassador. Our solution provides you with powerful, yet intuitive, tools to analyze actionable performance data and optimize your entire referral program to increase ROI. From split-testing and conversion rates by channel and program, our intelligent platform empowers you with the tools to:

Old Spice is still the king of viral marketing with its humorous and out-of-the-box ad campaigns. It came out with its brand character, the Old Spice man who appeared in “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign in 2010. The Old Spice man Isaiah Mustafa created a stir with his ad, which was created to appeal to the female audience and give a subtle message to men to buy Old Spice. The ad video got amazing positive reviews and YouTube views, garnering more than 54 million views to date on YouTube.

Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions. These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual affiliate links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.

Between 1996–1997, Hotmail was one of the first internet businesses to become extremely successful utilizing viral marketing techniques by inserting the tagline "Get your free e-mail at Hotmail" at the bottom of every e-mail sent out by its users. Hotmail was able to sign up 12 million users in 18 months.[67] At the time, this was historically the fastest growth of any user based media company.[68] By the time Hotmail reached 66 million users, the company was establishing 270,000 new accounts each day.[68]


If affiliates don’t answer your offers in the affiliate network, it’s time to put your sales hat on and perform some email outreach. There are a lot of different cold email template strategies to use, but the five easy steps to a good cold email are: creating a list of targeted affiliates, finding the right contact information, making the emails personal, providing value, and following-up.
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