Perhaps nothing is as effective and efficient in spreading your message as a viral. The idea behind viral is to inspire people to spread your message for you. It’s been estimated that a successful viral can have 500-1000 times more impact than a non-viral campaign. Crafting a successful viral marketing campaign is hard. But here’s some ABCs that may help…
Your customers aren’t going to want to refer a friend if it’s the first thing you ask them to do. In fact, if you start an interaction by asking for a referral, you may lose the sale altogether. You have to wait until the right time. This is also where it can be very beneficial to have insight into how your prospects funnel through to become customers and the journey thereafter. Studies have shown that the moments following a shopping transaction - commonly referred to as a "shopper's high" - are a highly effective time to ask for a referral, since the rush of the purchase is still lingering. Or, you might wait until after the customer has received the product or services and are satisfied. And not every incentive has to be directly linked to referrals. For example, are there ways that you can reward customers who make X or more purchases within a given timeframe? Offering free shipping, doubling rewards points, or providing additional discounts for your most loyal and enthusiastic customers is a great way to energize true word-of-mouth referrals.
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. Despite the prevailing acceptable use policies, electronic mail marketing rapidly expanded and eventually became known as "spam."
Scammers can take advantage of consumers' difficulties verifying an online persona's identity,:1 leading to artifices like phishing (where scam emails look identical to those from a well-known brand owner) and confidence schemes like the Nigerian "419" scam. The Internet Crime Complaint Center received 289,874 complaints in 2012, totaling over half a billion dollars in losses, most of which originated with scam ads.
So with these great benefits and more, why isn’t your business using it (or, at least, using it to its full advantage)? Only about one-third of businesses are actively collecting reviews and referrals, while 83% of happy, satisfied customers are willing to refer their friends and family (but only 29% actually do because the rest are never asked or given the opportunity). That’s crazy.
Brand awareness has been proven to work with more effectiveness in countries that are high in uncertainty avoidance, also these countries that have uncertainty avoidance; social media marketing works effectively. Yet brands must be careful not to be excessive on the use of this type of marketing, as well as solely relying on it as it may have implications that could negatively harness their image. Brands that represent themselves in an anthropomorphizing manner are more likely to succeed in situations where a brand is marketing to this demographic. "Since social media use can enhance the knowledge of the brand and thus decrease the uncertainty, it is possible that people with high uncertainty avoidance, such as the French, will particularly appreciate the high social media interaction with an anthropomorphized brand." Moreover, digital platform provides an ease to the brand and its customers to interact directly and exchange their motives virtually.
Find websites and successful bloggers whose audience falls in line with your target market and invite them to become an affiliate. Use platforms like Linkdex or Buzzsumo to get an idea of which influencers are generating the best content in your niche. Another easy way to find influencers may be with a quick Google search. Type in a description of your target audience and scroll through the results to find online businesses or bloggers you can contact.
On the surface, the how of video marketing is pretty simple: Your brand creates videos that, in some way or another, promote your company, drive sales, raise awareness of your products or services, or engage your customers. In practice, it’s a little more complicated. Like many of your marketing efforts, video marketing is data driven, so you’ll want to monitor various metrics and track customer engagement.
Trust is the foundation of conversions and sales. But building trust should be a goal on its own. The whole concept of content marketing is based on trust and creating long-term relationships. Stop selling and let the people come to you by providing them interesting and useful information. I couldn’t have said it better than Mark Schaefer, the Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions:
When you use online video in your digital marketing strategy, you have the perfect opportunity to enhance your brand’s message and drive your company persona home. Through simple features like design and branding, to more advanced features like voice and content, video marketing is the ideal tool to strengthen your brand identity and make sure that your customers know who you are.
But you have to admire the virus. It has a way of living in secrecy until it is so numerous that it wins by sheer weight of numbers. It piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase its tribe. And in the right environment, it grows exponentially. A virus doesn’t even have to mate. It just replicates again and again, doubling with each iteration.
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.
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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.
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.
You’ll want to use email, blogging, and social media tactics to increase brand awareness, cultivate a strong online community, and retain customer loyalty. Consider sending personalized emails to past customers to impress or inspire them -- for instance, you might send discounts based off what they’ve previously purchased, wish them a happy birthday, or remind them of upcoming events.
If you would like to take a more subtle approach, include a product or service from your company that relates into your blog post. For example, let’s say that you are a wine connoisseur and that is what your blog is based around. In any post that is enticing your readers to open up a good bottle of Merlot or what have you, it would be wise to embed an ad for a quality, easy-to-use wine opener, wine glasses or stoppers that keep the wine fresh.
If you can afford to partner with a major influencer, go for it. You can ask the influencer either to promote your product via a slight nod or a more overt push. However, if budget is limited, don’t neglect the reach of micro-influencers. An influencer with 6,000 followers can be more beneficial (and much more affordable) than one with 100,000 if she’s a better fit with your target market.
Disney initially stated they wouldn’t exceed one million in donations, but ended up donating two million after the campaign blew up. #ShareYourEars campaign garnered 420 million social media impressions, and increased Make-A-Wish’s social media reach by 330%. The campaign is a powerful example of using an internet marketing strategy for a good cause. #ShareYourEars raised brand awareness, cultivated a connected online community, and positively affected Disney’s brand image.
Dropbox offered free storage to both new subscribers and those who had referred new users. In 15 months, Dropbox grew from 100,000 registered users to 4 million, with 2.8 million referral invites. The company went public in 2018 and today is valued at over $12 billion. Its referral program—which gives 16 GB of free Dropbox space to both referrer and referee—continues to be successful, with 35 percent of new users coming from referrals.
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 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. Consumers can be especially troubled by advertisers targeting them based on sensitive information, such as financial or health status. 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.
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.
Again, consider the appropriateness of each of these suggestions, based on your program design. If you run a popular ecommerce brand with an engaged base of referrers, or if you’re a company like IBM with a formal partners program, investing in your program’s participants makes sense. If you don’t have a formal referral marketing program, or if you handle referral requests on a personalized basis, it doesn’t.
Monetary or Non-Monetary Incentives – Choosing the reward for your referral program should not be approached simply. You need to understand what your users are motivated by and then offer prizes designed to reward that behavior. For example, they may be more interested in having access to premium features, getting company swag or even funny things like a dancing cat.