Word-of-mouth and Referral Marketing are often confused. Whilst word-of-mouth is the result of customers talking about your brand with their friends and convincing them to try it, this is done without marketing effort and is difficult for marketing teams to influence and measure. Refer-a-friend marketing attempts to harness this customer advocacy and put in place the tools to encourage, reward and track customer recommendations.
Internet Marketing helps your business keep up with the updates in technology. Only 20 or 30 years ago people were using thick books such as the Yellow Pages to find a product or a service. With the internet providing a much simpler, and more structured solution it is very easy to understand why the majority of the population now use the internet to find what they are looking for. With the current economy, many small businesses have found that a move to the internet is exactly what they need to take their business to the next level. The move to the internet means having a proficient internet marketing strategy that can help you handle the huge expansion of conducting business over the internet.
I grant permission for every reader to reproduce on your website the article you are now reading — “The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing.” But copy this article only, without any alteration whatsoever. Include the copyright statement, too, please. If you have a marketing or small business website, it’ll provide great content and help your visitors learn important strategies. (Note: I am granting permission to host on your website this article AND NO OTHERS. Reprinting or hosting other Practical Ecommerce articles without express written permission is illegal, immoral, and a violation of our copyright.)
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
Dropbox was at least partially inspired by PayPal, which literally paid people money (through the PayPal system) if they got their friends to sign up. They did this because they benefited from the network effects of having large number of users- so even if half of the signups were people who just wanted the free money, the end result is a large number of people having PayPal accounts- which is a useful position for a payments company to be in.

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.


When writing about a product or service you must be honest and do not hide the fact that sales report a commission. But it’s also not about shouting it from the hills. If you are honest with the reader and they perceive that you are not just looking to ‘score a goal’, they will keep their trust on you even if they know that you are getting that commission.
You brought some awesome examples. One of the best ways to get your campaign off the ground is by starting with the ideal audience. I find that I can use data to find my top customers and then make those into ambassadors, nurture those relationships, to create an epic viral campaign. Gilles de Clerck, founder of the Growth Revolution, talks about it here - https://sharesomefriends.com/blog/referral-marketing/

Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 
Our agency can provide both offensive and defensive ORM strategies as well as preventive ORM that includes developing new pages and social media profiles combined with consulting on continued content development. Our ORM team consists of experts from our SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing, and PR teams. At the end of the day, ORM is about getting involved in the online “conversations” and proactively addressing any potentially damaging content.

If you want to entice people to share your brand with their own networks, you have to provide them with something of value in exchange. Understanding your customers isn’t enough; do you know what they truly value? If your incentive isn’t worthwhile, your customer referral program will never even get off the ground. A good incentive will provide some type of desirable reward for your existing customers while also equipping them to share an incentive with others. Consider what motivates people to buy your brand in the first place, and design a program that speaks to what customers really want. Sometimes recognition, such as being featured on the website or in an ad or blog post, can be equally as attractive as other types of incentives.
For a campaign to become viral, you need to strike the right emotional chord with your audience. Ice Bucket Challenge evoked a positive and high arousal emotion as it was funny. By keeping your campaign lighthearted, you will be able to connect with your audience at a human level, which can result in better engagement. If you target the right kind of emotions, the chances of your campaign to become viral will increase.

Why should anyone try out the laborious route to referral marketing?  It is much cheaper than conventional marketing and gives a better return on investment (ROI).  It has been found that companies who deploy referral marketing definition properly have considerably cut down on traditional advertising on mass media. Customers feel important as they are rewarded and share the rewards with their friends who also benefit from getting a good product.
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.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]
The next step in a referral marketing strategy is to publically market the program. Some businesses place signs in physical stores, typically near the cash registers that invite customers to join the program. A common strategy is to create brochures that customers can take with them, containing information about the referral program, offering consumers a physical reminder of the program.
Most products are bought not because of the impact of ads alone but through word-of-mouth. If someone has bought a mobile phone and is happy with it, he or she is likely to tell it to at least 10-12 people about the merits of the product. This kind of marketing comes free for the company and in a way it is a reflection of the branding effort taken by the company.
If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.
Search engines are a powerful channel for connecting with new audiences. Companies like Google and Bing look to connect their customers with the best user experience possible. Step one of a strong SEO strategy is to make sure that your website content and products are the best that they can be. Step 2 is to communicate that user experience information to search engines so that you rank in the right place. SEO is competitive and has a reputation of being a black art. Here’s how to get started the right way.

The first widely publicized example of online advertising was conducted via electronic mail. On 3 May 1978, a marketer from DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), Gary Thuerk, sent an email to most of the ARPANET's American west coast users, advertising an open house for a new model of a DEC computer.[5][10] Despite the prevailing acceptable use policies, electronic mail marketing rapidly expanded[11] and eventually became known as "spam."
Instead, place a laptop below the eye-line of the camera. Break the script into short paragraphs and record it section by section until you capture a great take of each. If you plan in advance when the final video will show b-roll (supplementary footage or screenshots), you can have your talent read those lines directly off the laptop like a voice over.
Marketing managers need to be conversant in every element of a marketing campaign, and considering the importance of an Internet presence in any marketing plan today, this means having a clear understanding of Internet marketing from start to finish. A marketing manager should have confidence in his or her team and know how to facilitate work efficiency and communication between coworkers. This keeps each project on schedule and helps create a relaxed work environment.

A good amount of marketing on the internet can be done for free, but sometimes it's worth spending some money on effective and professional looking options. For example, although you can get free web hosting, it's not recommended. Ideally, you should pay for web hosting to make sure that your website doesn't experience downtime, as well as a professional domain name. Fortunately, you can buy both for less than $100 a year.
When many global mutual funds and life insurance companies came to India they tied up with banks to promote business. When banks with a tradition of providing good service endorse an investment product it is more likely to be accepted by the customers. Aviva launched their life insurance products through Canara Bank before going out on their own and thus got a good customer base to work on.
Firstly, we covered off a little bit about what viral marketing is – other than one of a long line of buzzphrases that we’re so fond of in this industry of ours. Then we shared a few of my favourite examples of viral content, and finally, we left them with a playbook of sorts that aims to offer some guidance on how to go about creating earth-shattering virals!
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.
Amir runs Apricot, an agency that creates video campaigns stimulating client growth. Prior to launching the business, he worked in film distribution, devising marketing strategies for both cinematic and straight to DVD releases. Away from Apricot, he’s coached on Seth Godin’s altMBA program, reads avidly, and studies persuasion and the related fields in depth. Follow Amir on Twitter at @apricot_amir.
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Your employees are your greatest ambassadors. If they are endorsing your product it shows that the company is taking good care of them and they have good faith in the product too. Many companies provide incentives to employees for promoting their products. In banks, clerical staffs are given monetary incentives to promote some saving schemes or mutual funds. The best performers among them may be periodically recognized by giving a gold coin on a monthly or quarterly basis.

There are many ways to determine which efforts are producing results and which ones aren't. For example, you can study your website's analytics through your web host or by using Google Analytics. Most social media sites provide analytics as well, or you can use tools such as HootSuite to get social media analytics. Your email service should also provide you with information on the open rates and engagement rates for your emails.
A new energy drink company, for example, could create an Internet video featuring a person who consumes the energy drink before performing a seemingly impossible bicycle jump. If the video is made to look real, it may encourage people who see it to share it with others. After the video receives enough views, the company could reveal its true purpose, convincing its viewers to seek out more information about the drink without ever using a traditional advertisement.
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.
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.
Before you can create YouTube video ads as part of your marketing campaign, you must link your AdWords account to your YouTube account. Then you’ll need to import your video into AdWords - or create it if it doesn’t already exist. Once you upload the video, you’ll be able to choose a thumbnail and write some appealing ad text to encourage viewers to watch. The next step is to choose your target audience and budget. Provide some billing information, and you’re ready to run your first video ad.
Dropbox, an online file storage company that offers both free and paid services, implemented a referral program in 2009 asking users to tell their friends about the service. The program offered rewards for both sides of the referral coin—those who signed up for a referral link would get additional free space, and the person who referred them would also get more space.
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.
An essential part of any Internet marketing campaign is the analysis of data gathered from not just the campaign as a whole, but each piece of it as well. An analyst can chart how many people have visited the product website since its launch, how people are interacting with the campaign's social networking pages, and whether sales have been affected by the campaign (See also Marketing Data Analyst). This information will not only indicate whether the marketing campaign is working, but it is also valuable data to determine what to keep and what to avoid in the next campaign.
At this point, the consumer is weighing their options and deciding on the purchase. Therefore, the goal of this kind of video is to make your audience visualize themselves using your product or service — and thriving. There’s a reason 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Videos are able to display functionality and leverage emotions in ways a product description never could.
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.
Do you have zero interest in an expensive mountain bike the company you are an affiliate of sells? Well, you probably don’t want to feature it on your blog, as it is extremely difficult to persuade readers (or anyone for that matter) that they should buy something you wouldn’t be caught spending a single penny on. When you are passionate about a product or–at the very least–interested in learning more about it, this will come through to your readers, engage them and better coax them to buy
If you want to establish trust with your audience quickly, you need to be creating video. If you want to shorten your sales cycle, and work with more motivated and educated prospects, you need to be using video in your sales process. The video marketing strategies and resources below will help you crush it with video, no matter your experience level. You can also learn more about our video training and production services.  

106% increase in conversions. 751% increase in search engine traffic. #1 ranking in Google. These numbers may sound unrealistic, but they're real results from real WebFX clients. Our Internet marketing services don’t just drive traffic: they turn website visitors into paying customers, maximizing your ROI and delivering an experience like no other.

Marketing managers need to be conversant in every element of a marketing campaign, and considering the importance of an Internet presence in any marketing plan today, this means having a clear understanding of Internet marketing from start to finish. A marketing manager should have confidence in his or her team and know how to facilitate work efficiency and communication between coworkers. This keeps each project on schedule and helps create a relaxed work environment.
Even if you work for a large brand and aren’t able to interact with customers one-on-one, you can still build relationships through your digital marketing initiatives. For example, you can send personalized emails that highlight a customer’s individual interests, reminding them that you know them and care about who they are. You can also share be transparent. Showing what goes on behind the scenes helps customers see who you really are.
Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.[41]
GoTo.com (renamed Overture in 2001, and acquired by Yahoo! in 2003) created the first search advertising keyword auction in 1998.[19]:119 Google launched its "AdWords" search advertising program in 2000[20] and introduced quality-based ranking allocation in 2002,[21] which sorts search advertisements by a combination of bid price and searchers' likeliness to click on the ads.[19]:123
You’ve launched an amazing product or service. Now what? Now, you need to get the word out. When done well, good PR can be much more effective and less expensive than advertising. Regardless of whether you want to hire a fancy agency or awesome consultant, make sure that you know what you’re doing and what types of ROI to expect. Relationships are the heart and soul of PR. This chapter will teach you how to ignore the noise and focus on substantive, measurable results.
The reason to make use or virality, the ease in spreading and sharing, is however a double-edged sword. We cannot forget that in this type of campaign, a large part of the control falls into the hands of the users, and we risk the message being misinterpreted or parodied. On the other hand, a successful viral campaign can work miracles for your brand’s results.
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]
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