A successful customer referral program can become the lifeblood of your business, but it won’t do anything if it’s not backed by the proper resources. The program should be strategically planned out, regularly measured, and managed on an ongoing basis. When you invest in your program, you can see unimaginable growth through this marketing channel (just look at the ROI of referral marketing by different industries). You can’t achieve success if you’re treating your referral program as an afterthought. Successful programs need structure and commitment from within your company. For this reason, many brands choose automated and streamlined platforms to ensure ease and satisfaction from both a consumer and company perspective.
The publisher ad server then communicates with a supply-side platform server. The publisher is offering ad space for sale, so they are considered the supplier. The supply side platform also receives the user's identifying information, which it sends to a data management platform. At the data management platform, the user's identifying information is used to look up demographic information, previous purchases, and other information of interest to advertisers.
For some business owners, they’ll think of a website. Others may think of social media, or blogging. In reality, all of these avenues of advertising fall in the category internet marketing and each is like a puzzle piece in a much bigger marketing picture. Unfortunately, for new business owners trying to establish their web presence, there’s a lot of puzzle pieces to manage.

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]

"Jim and Jen, Thanks for your time and an awesome meeting. Jim,You have done so much in the past few years with your company, Your office space, your employees, their commitment are evidence that you have instilled your positive traits into them and your business. You should be proud. Jen, You are 'on it'!! It is uplifting seeing someone your age being so intense and into their work like you are. I can tell you're the type who wakes up with a smile and positive attitude. Michelle and I enjoyed the dialog and the advice. I really appreciate all you have done for me over the years and continue to do." Marcus L.
Let’s say that you’re running a company that specializes in shoes. Your customer base knows that you’re a shoe expert but also values your input on other high quality products — like handbags. Maybe your customers have asked you about handbags, and you find yourself recommending the same options over and over again. As a shoe vendor, you’re acting as a marketer for the handbag company.
Scales easily from small to very large. To spread like wildfire, the transmission method must be rapidly scalable from small to very large. The weakness of the Hotmail model is that a free email service requires its own mail servers to transmit the message. If the strategy is wildly successful, mail servers must be added very quickly or the rapid growth will bog down and die. If the virus multiplies only to kill the host before spreading, nothing is accomplished. So long as you have planned how you can add mail servers rapidly, you’re okay. You must build in scalability to your viral model.

Many customers may not be willing to take part in referral marketing program simply because they don’t know how the personal details collected will be used by the company. It is better to build rapport with the company by asking them to rate your product or subscribe to newsletters. Before announcing the referral marketing program, privacy clauses and confidentiality clauses should be communicated to them so that they feel confident about referring people to you.


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.
Before launching any marketing campaign, it’s important to determine your primary video goal. This could be to increase brand awareness, engagement, or even conversions for a free trial. It’s crucial to pick out just one or two goals for each video. When you define more than that, your video will seem unfocused, making it difficult for viewers to determine what they should do next.
Companies often use email marketing to re-engage past customers, but a “Where’d You Go? Want To Buy This?” message can come across as aggressive, and you want to be careful with your wording to cultivate a long-term email subscriber. This is why JetBlue’s one year re-engagement email works so well -- it uses humor to convey a sense of friendliness and fun, while simultaneously reminding an old email subscriber they might want to check out some of JetBlue’s new flight deals.
Once you have the correct email address and are ready to reach out, create your email template. Since you’ve probably never worked with this person before, keep the email brief. Provide value by offering a personalized commission rate or a sample of products. Always remember to compliment their website as well. And if they don’t answer you right away, set a reminder to follow-up.
Bob Gerstley was among the first to write about algorithms designed to identify people with high "social networking potential."[17] Gerstley employed SNP algorithms in quantitative marketing research. In 2004, the concept of the alpha user was coined to indicate that it had now become possible to identify the focal members of any viral campaign, the "hubs" who were most influential. Alpha users could be targeted for advertising purposes most accurately in mobile phone networks, due to their personal nature.[citation needed]

Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
On whether customer referral programs are worth the cost, the study says that it records "a positive value differential, both in the short term and long term, between customers acquired through a referral program and other customers. Importantly, this value differential is larger than the referral fee. Hence, referral programs can indeed pay off."[7]
Promotional videos can foster trust as well. Some consumers are still skeptical about buying products and services on the internet because they fear fraud and cheating. But effective marketing videos present your products in a conversational form. That creates a sense of individual approach which is why 57% of consumers say that videos gave them more confidence to purchase online.
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As of October 2018 almost 4.2 billion people were active internet users and 3.4 billion were social media users (Statista). China, India and the United States rank ahead all other countries in terms of internet users. This gives a marketer an unprecedented number of customers to reach with product and service offerings, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The interactive nature of the internet facilitates immediate communication between businesses and consumers, allowing businesses to respond quickly to the needs of consumers and changes in the marketplace.
Look at products such as Hotmail, Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, Snapchat, dating websites, and Craigslist. They all have one thing in common: they are products that went viral. These are the ideal viral marketing opportunities as these products get better when more people use them. I don’t to discuss these properly, but it’s essential to know that they exist for a complete view of viral marketing.
It’s simple: the more positive experiences the buyer reads, the more inclined they are to make a purchase. By adding your products to review and lifestyle affiliate sites, you‘ll be found organically for terms that they rank for, compete better with giants like Amazon, and will get more recommendations and exposure relatively quickly. Social proof is powerful:
In the 1990s, the term Digital Marketing was first coined,.[10] With the debut of server/client architecture and the popularity of personal computers, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications became a significant part of marketing technology.[citation needed] Fierce competition forced vendors to include more service into their software, for example, marketing, sales and service applications. Marketers were also able to own huge online customer data by eCRM software after the Internet was born. Companies could update the data of customer needs and obtain the priorities of their experience. This led to the first clickable banner ad being going live in 1994, which was the "You Will" campaign by AT&T and over the first four months of it going live, 44% of all people who saw it clicked on the ad.[11]
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?
Among the first to write about viral marketing on the Internet was the media critic Doug Rushkoff.[16] The assumption is that if such an advertisement reaches a "susceptible" user, that user becomes "infected" (i.e., accepts the idea) and shares the idea with others "infecting them", in the viral analogy's terms. As long as each infected user shares the idea with more than one susceptible user on average (i.e., the basic reproductive rate is greater than one—the standard in epidemiology for qualifying something as an epidemic), the number of infected users grows according to an exponential curve. Of course, the marketing campaign may be successful even if the message spreads more slowly, if this user-to-user sharing is sustained by other forms of marketing communications, such as public relations or advertising.[citation needed]

In the following sections, we’ll cover the types of videos you should create for each stage in the image above. To start, plan to create at least two videos for each. Don’t forget to include call-to-actions to help lead your audience through their purchase journey and into the role of "promoter." Over time, you can improve based on conversion rates and the content gaps you discover.
Many consumers have reservations about online behavioral targeting. By tracking users' online activities, advertisers are able to understand consumers quite well. Advertisers often use technology, such as web bugs and respawning cookies, to maximizing their abilities to track consumers.[60]:60[95] According to a 2011 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, over half of Internet users had a negative impression of online behavioral advertising, and forty percent feared that their personally-identifiable information had been shared with advertisers without their consent.[96][97] Consumers can be especially troubled by advertisers targeting them based on sensitive information, such as financial or health status.[95] Furthermore, some advertisers attach the MAC address of users' devices to their 'demographic profiles' so they can be retargeted (regardless of the accuracy of the profile) even if the user clears their cookies and browsing history.[citation needed]
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months building domain authority with blogging and guest posts to get more organic traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort. 
The Environment: Timing is everything in advertising, and this is also true of viral marketing. A company can have the right messenger and the right message, but it may not spread if the social environment is not right. A very basic example of this is that people tend to spend less time online in summer compared to other seasons. This means fewer potential carriers to propagate the viral message. This doesn't necessarily mean the campaign will not be successful, but it can be a factor.
Your Brand Persona and Target Audience. When you eventually start creating content, you have to know who you’re talking to and tailor your brand voice to appeal to them uniquely. If you aren’t targeting the right audience (those people who will lean in to hear what you’re saying), you won’t find success. And, if you can’t find a way to stand out, you’ll blend into the hordes of other brands competing for attention in your industry.
He is the owner of jeffbullas.com. Forbes calls him a top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers and the world's top social marketing talent. Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch. Inc.com has him on the list of 20 digital marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Oanalytica named him #1 Global Content Marketing Influencer. BizHUMM ranks him as the world's #1 business blogger. Learn More
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.[19] 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.[20]
A key objective is engaging digital marketing customers and allowing them to interact with the brand through servicing and delivery of digital media. Information is easy to access at a fast rate through the use of digital communications. Users with access to the Internet can use many digital mediums, such as Facebook, YouTube, Forums, and Email etc. Through Digital communications it creates a multi-communication channel where information can be quickly shared around the world by anyone without any regard to who they are.[28] Social segregation plays no part through social mediums due to lack of face to face communication and information being wide spread instead to a selective audience. This interactive nature allows consumers create conversation in which the targeted audience is able to ask questions about the brand and get familiar with it which traditional forms of Marketing may not offer.[29]
There are several ways to increase your social media video subscribers. Use video SEO to make it easier for target audiences to find your videos. Include attractive custom thumbnails to make your videos more enticing. Use end cards and annotations to include calls to action asking viewers to subscribe. You can also promote your videos on your website, landing pages or blog posts. And you can use influencer marketing to spread the word about your video content and gain new subscribers that way.
Referral marketing works because consumers trust the opinions of “real people” more than they trust traditional advertising. In fact, Nielsen says that people are four times more likely to buy a product or service when it’s referred by a friend. While referrals usually come from friends and acquaintances, they don’t have to. In fact, influencer marketing is considered a form of referral marketing, as influencers often share their favorite products with followers via organic sharing and sponsored posts. Referral marketing can come from friends, influencers, celebrities, and even online reviews (TripAdvisor and Yelp are good examples of this); again, people trust “real reviews” more than traditional advertising.

Word-of-mouth marketing comes free and there is no way to quantify it. However, when companies are confident of their product quality and service, they can as well think of incentivizing those who are willing to spread the good word about your brand or product. When word-of-mouth marketing is given a monetary or some other incentive by the company, it is called Referral Marketing.

We are social creatures, so it is only natural that we instinctively share our experiences with the ones closest to us. We advise our friends and family by sharing our positive experiences, but also warning them of negative experiences. Here's the catch! These recommendations affect us much more than other marketing messages. It is quite logical, we rely more on our friends than we trust advertisement, paid expert opinions and similar media!

The first step is creating a list of potential affiliates in a simple Excel file or Google Sheet. The top columns should include the website’s URL, contact email address, date of contact, and any notes you have on the opportunity. Keep your spreadsheet simple. To hunt for the correct contact email address, leverage the information in your affiliate network, use an online tool like Email Hunter, or even find their contact information on LinkedIn.


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.”
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