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.
Online referral marketing is the internet-based, or Software as a Service (SaaS) approach, to traditional referral marketing. By tracking customer behavior online through the use of web browser cookies and similar technology, online referral marketing can potentially increase brand awareness, referrals and, ultimately, revenue. Many platforms allow organizations to see their referral marketing return on investment (ROI), and to optimize their campaigns to improve results. Many of the newest systems provide users with the same experience whether they are on a desktop or mobile device. Offline referral marketers sometimes use trackable business cards. Trackable business cards typically contain QR codes linking them to online content for sale while providing a way to track that sale back to the person whose card was scanned.
Instead, invest in an external hard drive like one of the Lacie Rugged models. External hard drives come in a variety of sizes and port options (Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, etc.). Multimedia creators will use the phrase “working off of an external” to describe storing all of their project files on this hard drive. This method also makes it easier to collaborate with teammates because you can easily share the drive.
For banners, if some affiliates use 728-pixel-by-90-pixel leaderboards but all you offer is 300-pixel-by-250-pixel medium rectangles, you run the risk of missing out on revenue because you didn’t offer enough options. Create banner ads in multiple sizes and designs so the affiliates can choose what best fits their needs. If you’re running a promotion or sale, promo-specific banners with start and end dates give your affiliates a more customized, enticing options to advertise your site.
But beyond video’s unique ability to convert like no other, the medium has become especially valuable to data-driven marketers. This is because you can track and measure audience engagement for video in a really meaningful way. You can tie your videos directly to the deals they’re helping to influence and you can see which assets are actually resonating based on content engagement analytics. This is the reporting that marketing desperately needs to identify their most engaged leads faster and prove the value of game-changing initiatives.
Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. With 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, ecommerce, SEO, web development, and selling online courses, he is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships, content, and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about building your online influence by scaling your content and affiliate marketing strategies on his blog.
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.”
If your referral program isn’t public facing or it’s difficult to use and share with the click of a button, then you’ll severely limit your ability to drive word-of-mouth and referrals. Also, if you’re requiring customers to manually input a potential referral’s information, good luck. For customers, this annoyance creates a barrier that significantly hinders referral activity.
A disadvantage of digital advertising is the large amount of competing goods and services that are also using the same digital marketing strategies. For example, when someone searches for a specific product from a specific company online, if a similar company uses targeted advertising online then they can appear on the customer's home page, allowing the customer to look at alternative options for a cheaper price or better quality of the same product or a quicker way of finding what they want online.
Balancing search and display for digital display ads are important; marketers tend to look at the last search and attribute all of the effectiveness to this. This then disregards other marketing efforts, which establish brand value within the consumers mind. ComScore determined through drawing on data online, produced by over one hundred multichannel retailers that digital display marketing poses strengths when compared with or positioned alongside, paid search (Whiteside, 2016). This is why it is advised that when someone clicks on a display ad the company opens a landing page, not its home page. A landing page typically has something to draw the customer in to search beyond this page. Things such as free offers that the consumer can obtain through giving the company contact information so that they can use retargeting communication strategies (Square2Marketing, 2012). Commonly marketers see increased sales among people exposed to a search ad. But the fact of how many people you can reach with a display campaign compared to a search campaign should be considered. Multichannel retailers have an increased reach if the display is considered in synergy with search campaigns. Overall both search and display aspects are valued as display campaigns build awareness for the brand so that more people are likely to click on these digital ads when running a search campaign (Whiteside, 2016).
So maybe you're not at the point you can afford to pay Hilary Duff to refer your product, however there are plenty of other influencers out there with small, although still huge audiences you can work with. We touched on influencer marketing in this post and this post, but influencer marketing can be as easy as reaching out to a popular blogger, YouTuber, or Instagramer and asking if they do sponsored postings or if they would like your product for a review.
The new digital era has enabled brands to selectively target their customers that may potentially be interested in their brand or based on previous browsing interests. Businesses can now use social media to select the age range, location, gender and interests of whom they would like their targeted post to be seen by. Furthermore, based on a customer's recent search history they can be ‘followed’ on the internet so they see advertisements from similar brands, products and services, This allows businesses to target the specific customers that they know and feel will most benefit from their product or service, something that had limited capabilities up until the digital era.
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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.
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