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. At the time, this was historically the fastest growth of any user based media company. By the time Hotmail reached 66 million users, the company was establishing 270,000 new accounts each day.
Decision-making process seems to be hard for customers these days. Millers (1956) argued that people suffered from short-term memory. This links to difficulties in customers' decision-making process and Paradox of Choice, as they face various adverts and newspapers daily. Influencers serve as a credible source for customers' decision-making process. Neilsen reported that 80% of consumers appreciated a recommendation of their acquaintances, as they have reasons to trust in their friends delivering the messages without benefits and helping them reduce perceived risks behind choices.
For example, Dropbox started a referral program and offered extra storage space as their incentive. They took a product that people want and need and increased users quickly by offering them a little extra space, for both parties (the referrer and referral). Since customers had nothing to lose, sharing ensued. After their program was implemented they saw a huge jump in membership sign ups with an increase of about 60%.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005. MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
The era of big and eye-catching banners with claims about the features of a product is a thing of the past. After arousing curiosity and the desire to buy the product or service, the best way to guide readers to promotional content is a link in the text. It is one of the types of affiliate marketing that works the best, probably because of its simplicity and because it’s inserted in content that is valuable for the user.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge started in 2014, which was an online effort to raise awareness for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease and to raise funds. The campaign was able to raise $115 million in a span of just eight weeks! The challenge for people was to pour a bucket of ice-cold water over their head and challenge minimum three people to do the same and make a donation to The ALS Association.
No doubt that harnessing influencers would be a lucrative business for both companies and influencers. The concept of 'influencer' is no longer just an 'expert' but also anyone who delivers and influence on the credibility of a message (e.g. blogger) In 2014, BritMums, network sharing family's daily life, had 6,000 bloggers and 11,300 views per month on average and became endorsers for some particular brand such as Coca-Cola, Morrison. Another case, Aimee Song who had over 3.6m followers on the Instagram page and became Laura Mercier's social media influencers, gaining $500,000 monthly.
Viral Marketing is about ‘infecting’ people. If each ‘infected’ individual shares the marketing message to a single other individual, the viral epidemic will gradually grow in a logic curve. As long as each individual passes the message on to one other person, the marketing campaign can continue to grow until each member of the potential audience has been reached. Eventually, the campaign will generate less interest from the target group and the curve will taper off; the campaign is dying out.
Don’t make the mistake to wait for all the good testimonials to magically come to you out of the blue sky. People are busy and they have other things on their minds so even if they were very happy with their purchasing experience from you, they won’t think to send you their testimonial unless you ask. So don’t be afraid of asking. If you did a good job and they are happy clients, they will be willing to help you.
William Davey’s firm Fred’s Best Windows, Doors, Siding and Roofing is one such firm that spends zero money on advertising and grows on referrals got from customers, real estate agents, referral groups, and partners. Davey’s success is due to the training he gives to referral sources regarding how and the kind of people to be referred and ensuring his firm has the qualities that make it preferable. William Davey’s book on referral marketing titled ‘ The Referral Factory” is due to be released in September this year.
The more rewards a business offers for referrals, the more effort their customers will put into finding quality referrals. AT&T Wireless offers a referral program that provides opportunities for customers to earn up to $575 a year through referrals for different services, including high-speed Internet, home phones, wireless phones, and their U-verse packages.
Conversion rate optimization is still possibly one of the most underutilized but critical functions of digital marketing. Every element of digital marketing is useless without considering conversion rates. This goes for SEO, SEM, Social Media, Email, and Display. The power of your SEO rankings are only as good as your click through rates and your traffic is only valuable of your website and landing pages foster some type of “action.” Why spend all the time and energy driving traffic through multiple different channels if you are not willing to spend the time and energy on conversion optimization? Yet many brands and agencies still put less emphasis on this crucial piece of the puzzle.
YouTube SEO is search engine optimization to help people find your videos more easily. With millions of videos on the platform, you need to use video SEO to make your videos stand out. To optimize videos effectively, it’s important to do keyword research and to use those keywords in your video title, description, and tags. If people find and click your video, that will improve its rank. Other aspects of YouTube SEO include viewing time, comments and shares.
Video is Going 1:1: Given the ease of shooting videos with smartphones, marketers are discovering the value of lead nurturing and customer communications by sending personalized video messages instead of calling or sending email. The notion of using a 1:1 video approach can apply to following-up on an inquiry, offering content, delivering support, simply saying thanks, or practically any application.
Online reviews have become one of the most important components in purchasing decisions by consumers in North America. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research which included over 1000 participants, 90% of respondents said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions and 94% will use a business with at least four stars. Interestingly, negative reviews typically came from online review sites whereas Facebook was the main source of positive reviews. Forrester Research predicts that by 2020, 42% of in-store sales will be from customers who are influenced by web product research.
Content marketing: Writing articles or blog posts related to your business and submitting them to be published on other websites is another great way to reach your target market for free. Although mass distribution of a single article across the web doesn't have the same SEO benefits it once had, submitting exclusive articles to a specific site can still reap many rewards including SEO, boosting your credibility, and reaching a market that might not otherwise know about you. Because writing can be time-consuming, you may want to consider how you can repurpose what you write into other forms of content or with new angles for other audiences.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives. Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
Most forms of marketing, viral strategies among them, benefit greatly from research into the trends and habits of consumers. A market researcher reads existing consumer data and conducts original research to determine what consumers want and how to reach them. These tasks demand great attention to detail, computer literacy, and strong communication skills.
The disadvantages to consider with viral marketing include the nuisance factor. Due to the large amount of email people receive daily, viral marketing messages may be viewed as spam. Another consideration is negative marketing buzz. A message may not be construed as intended, and could be discussed in a negative manner. Viral marketing can also be hard to measure.
If you value taking your time to make sure everything is right, you don’t want to partner with a company that cuts corners and focuses on producing quick campaigns. It will make it hard for your business to work with that Internet marketing company. If you want to have the most effective campaign, you need to partner with an Internet marketing company that is on the same page as your business.