Not long ago, reach of the average reach of a typical consumer was limited. For the most part it was contained to the number of people they saw in person each day or talked to on the phone. In this day and age though, the average consumers' reach is much larger and for many people with strong social followings, it can be enormous. Some consumers now have the power to make or break a business by what they say about it online.
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.
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
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[22][23] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]
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,[38] 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.
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.
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To start Viral Marketing, companies use ‘seeding’. A seed is planted, it grows, creates new fruit with seeds that subsequently distribute its seeds. That means that a marketing campaign gets a nudge in the right direction; people are actively informed about the new campaign via social media. They’re stimulated to watch the expression. That gives the originator influence over the direction and the result of the viral marketing campaign.
Marketing can be expensive and time-consuming. Referral marketing is anything but this. In fact, referrals are the cheapest and most effective form of marketing and shouldn’t be ignored. In its simplest form, referral marketing doesn’t cost a dime. All you need to do is provide a good customer experience and tell your clients to spread the word. That’s it. But that would be leaving a lot of referral marketing’s potential on the table.

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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