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January 24, 2019 - 1 comment.

Hunter McKinley: Messenger bot giveaways, milestones and design.

Hunter McKinley is a multidimensional guy.

From design to marketing, clothing brands, chatbots, agencies, apps; you get it.

Our first contact was through his work with BAMF Media, and then got to know him better from his work with SoFriendly.

I knew from the first moment that I wanted to learn his take on things that torture a lot of people out there.

While 15, Hunter started this whole entrepreneurship thing out of his backpack so he would sell candies and sodas.

Eventually, he moved on to clothing.

There was a local brand, and they were starting to get some recognition in the community and so he started making t-shirts for them.

He bought a shop screening machine and started his own company, called Dopsm Clothing.

That’s when he really started getting into marketing because he realized that while people were getting wristbands from his competitors- from other students, they were willing to take them off (that they got for free) and buy his for 3 or 4 dollars.

Although the talk inevitably went to referral marketing, milestone campaigns & Messenger Bot Giveaways (Hunter was involved in more than 20 viral campaigns), the key takeaway is his views on entrepreneurship, planning, and execution.
Enjoy!

The main factor that people choose something to pay, rather than a free version of it.

Most of the times the only real difference between a paid product and the free version of it, is the way you market it.

The values that you bring to the table, are very important. And your marketing should be revolved around those values. You shouldn’t be in it to make money.

Hunter McKinley: Messenger bot giveaways, milestones and design.

In order to be an entrepreneur, you have to fail many times. You just need to fail really fast and take a value-based approach.

Most of the times we need to remind ourselves:
"Listen, I'm not looking to make a bunch of money, this is me and I stand for this, this and this."

You can tell from a mile someone who is just in it for the money, VS someone like Tom’s who is actually giving back to the community, and when you have that value proposition on top of having a better design, you actually win; because better design equals better quality.

It just seems to make sense, and that’s what was happening.

In the case of the wristbands, there really isn’t much difference between a $0 wristband and a $3 wristband, except the design was little different.

Really it was just the marketing, and the approach was like:
“Hey guys, I’m not here to smoke, I don’t think that’s cool, I think what’s cool is like just doing the right thing, doing well in school.”

It felt real because it was a real thought.

When you’re an entrepreneur and you have your truth/values, you have to surround yourself and partner with people that are associated with it.

The “value-based approach” also comes to branding. So if you want to build a brand with a specific angle, you need to be really authentic if you want to make it really good.

Sometimes people say “OK lets put some values in our product to make our marketing better”, but if these values are not the values that they truly believe in, it won’t work out.

Who Hunter McKinley is at the moment & what he does.

I am working as the Head of Marketing at SoFriendly, a design & development company.

The focus at the moment is on building the enterprise section, as we’ve been working with startups for the last 3 years, but really now we’ve built up the reputation at the point where we are now launching apps for big enterprise.

I can’t list the one that we’re talking about right now, but we’re working on a really major contract with a few major hotels like Hilton and Marriott.

We also work with the guys over at Google, so now we’re actually in the transition period and that’s what I’m focusing on as primary role right this second.

On the side I'm also building something like ProductHunt for digital marketers- I don’t know if you are familiar with Dribbble or ProductHunt.

Right now as a designer, the whole industry shifted, every single place asks for a URL with your portfolio.

A lot of my friends that are digital marketers, and they all asked me to help them make their websites. They are challenged, when it comes to making a website design, development.

They just don't have those skills.

So I’m building the same thing for digital marketers, cause right now there is not a solution for digital marketers to show what they’ve done. Just like what you guys did for Viral Loops by template-izing it and build something pretty straightforward.

So these are the 2 main focuses other than freelancing right now.

Why did you choose Word of Mouth?

I was introduced to the idea about a year ago while working with Josh Fetsher and Houston Golden at BAMF Media.

I've used Gleam in the past so I had a little bit of an idea of how this worked, but what we found that worked really well -and what they introduced me to, was the milestone campaigns.

I dove head first into that.

I did all the research I could, and I saw you guys had a post about Harry's. It always helps a lot when I find blog posts like this.

In addition, I am a huge Product Hunt fan, so when your Milestone Referral Template launched there, I had to try it.

It’s trial and error. We just tested all types of referral campaigns and found that the milestone campaigns is what we wanted/needed.

I really didn’t even know about it up until a year ago when they were starting to test out different ways of going viral.

Josh was consistently posting, you know, viral Linkedin Posts and they were getting featured in all those magazines and they said: “Hey Hunting World, looking for somebody to help us with our viral campaign and these things are new and we are just trying them out”, and we did over 20 of them and it’s really amazing!

Why the milestone concept works better than more traditional referral campaigns, e.g. Dropbox-like?

It provides clear goals for the end user.

It’s not like Dropbox’s referral program; it rewards just you.

What’s so great about the milestone campaign is that it’s kinda like “gas on a fire”. If I get $5 every time someone shares, I’m gonna be sharing more about the product.

Product Hunt had some sort of golden kitty or something- just really exclusive stuff. That’s what works well.

Also, I draw a lot of same similarities between the way that the Viral Loops’ Milestone template works and Kickstarter.

It would be one thing for me to donate $5 to a Kickstarter, but it’s another thing to be able to donate up to certain brackets to get those bigger prizes.

It’s just that the milestone campaign has a different feeling. It’s just totally different from a lot of things that I’ve seen online.

What should people take care of when they run a milestone campaign?

Not long ago, I published a very detailed checklist of what people should take care of when they run a milestone campaign.

Get the checklist directly to your messenger!

When I first started at BAMF Media about a year ago, we had some early successes.

We run a campaign for Bear Squeeze that did absolutely amazing and raised tons of money on Indiegogo. We also did a campaign for Unicorn Snot shortly after.

We had 2 really good campaigns that we knew that worked, and I didn’t build this checklist up until twenty, or so, campaigns in.

When at an agency there’re so many different people involved. From different designers, different developers and obviously we’re not doing just one campaign at a time- we’re doing multiple campaigns, so we just needed a way to take all that we knew that worked and put it into one document.

That one resource that the strategist, or whoever is running the account, can look at it and say: “Here’s what first, here’s what comes next, here’s what comes next”.

No matter who touches the document, it should be the same result every time.

But inside the document, when I give the example, let’s say for the number milestones, that doesn’t mean that you have to stick with it. That’s just insight from all the campaigns that we looked at, that we just aggregate and said “you know what? When we have 4, that’s a good number, that’s just what we know works”.

You can always tweak it however you want, but that document was after months and months of testing everything, from different types of campaigns, from different pricing, and what we know that works or doesn't.

The document also includes some extra things from other campaigns, like building up the hype and, you know, message your friends and family beforehand.

So this just ensures that no matter who you are, you can touch that document and you can have your whole team on board and there’s one central place to look at, because otherwise, things get lost, you know, Skype or Slack.

⚡Note from Savvas:

Quite a few of Viral Loops’ customers struggle to engineer these campaigns and make them successful. Something that I see all the time, is that people think that, “OK, we’re going to build a landing page with a referral marketing campaign, even with a milestone, we’re gonna put it on our website and then we’re waiting for the campaign to take off”.

What they don’t understand a lot of times, is that this is when the real work starts.

What are your tips on how to distribute Referral Campaigns?

There’re 2 ways of distribution; There’s paid and organic.

From a paid perspective, if you’re already paying for advertisements it just makes sense to put a Facebook pixel on your pages, because when you retarget it’s just gonna have much better results than if aren’t doing that.

So obviously, you can go the paid route and expand a bit on it.

I get the feeling that Viral Loops is more for startups. Startups are companies that tend to not have too big of a marketing budget when they’re launching a new product.

Hunter McKinley: Messenger bot giveaways, milestones and design.

The best organic way to do it is messaging your friends and family, letting them know.

If you go on Letgo, they always say the first people to buy something are your friends and family; it’s the same thing for a Viral Loops campaign.

For the most likely they help you share it. They might not be in your target market, but they’re at least gonna spread the word out for free.

So letting them know and giving them an opportunity to help you, even though it doesn’t cost them any money, is always gonna be the way to go. And I actually got that from Harry’s; I think you guys said that they got over 100K subscribers.

Well, we tested that out ourselves and it actually does work. So that’s one way to promote your campaign.

Another way is Facebook groups.

It really hasn’t have to be on Facebook; it just has to be some sort of niche, whether that’s a Facebook group, or you talk to a specific slack group.

I know some people have things on Skype or Discord, or on Reddit if you get the right niche.

But finding that niche of people, messaging them and giving them incentives, that really helps a lot.

In many occasions we had some clients getting a couple thousand just from a few people dropping the link in a Facebook group. You never know where it’s gonna come from, but you just need to find that niche and you be able to provide it to them and really pitch it as like “Here’s the grand prize, you have to bring that many people in order to get it”.

⚡Fact:

Upworthy; the viral news aggregator, and mentioned that when they started they focus totally on Facebook and they got the first 1000 Page Likes by just asking their friends and networks to like their page.

They managed to get 1000 people like their page. So it’s really difficult to get, let’s say the first 100 people to join your campaign, share it with their friends.

A lot of companies miss that and it’s a really simple step to start taking off.

How would you combine paid advertising with a referral marketing campaign?

If you notice on the checklist- I think on page 1 or page 2, we write about the benefits.

What we found early on was that every campaign should focus around at least three benefits.
Other campaigns will have more, but if you have 3 main benefits and you work in tandem.

Basically what you can do is have your friends and family do all the organic posts; post about it on social media, post it to maybe some Facebook groups and Reddit.

Then you can retarget all those people that have visited your site. That’s gonna definitely dry down your cost and you can retarget with either the benefits, you know like features or benefits, logic or emotional based.

So If you don’t have a large budget for Facebook advertising, that’s a good way of getting in front of people and knowing that every dollar you’re spending is people that already have been to your site.

You can let them know by saying “3 days left”, or you can give another benefit and say “here you can get this”. There’s also the option to leverage your milestones, so you could say “Hey you’ve earned this” and “Here’s the grand prize, keep sharing”.

As a designer, what are the lessons learned when building a landing page optimized for getting more referrals?

You have to have your Call To Action above the fold, and you have to remove all navigation.

I believe Shopify put out a study that said that when you remove navigation- you know the top bar navigation from a site, you get 100 percent more conversions.

It’s called the attention ratio; you just wanna make sure to have one Call To Action on your landing page, and that is to Sign Up.

If they don’t sign up above the fold and you have testimonials or some sort of social proof like publications strips, then right below you need to make sure you’re basically "selling it" with the benefits I talk about above.

So, my number one tip is definitely that you have above the fold as much as you can focus on and the Call To Action which is, of course, the Sign-Up.

What are the core metrics you measure constantly and are super important for a referral campaign?

I always focus on the referral share rate.

It’s great to be able to spend the dollar and get, let’s say one person to sign up, or put an effort to get one person to sign up. But what I’m always in favor of, is measuring every minute or dollar; every single ounce of effort that we put in order to be able to scale into 10 or 20 people, not just one at a time.

So I always measure- on Viral Loops, there’s a thing called the referral share rate, based on that.

If it goes above 100% it means that every person that you get to come to the site is actually going to share it with their friends.

So all of our most successful campaigns were always over 100%, and that’s a really healthy sign that the campaign is working.

If it’s not over 100% then it’s just a regular email capture page, which is great, it’s just not “viral”.

What’s your take on chatbots? Have you ever tried building one?

I actually started a chatbot company about a year and a half ago called Bot Sauce.

We’re still doing things here and there, and we’re actually working on a Non Profit right now as we kinda found a niche on Non-Profits.

They don’t usually have a lot of money and they don’t wanna build whole apps so they’re always looking for bots. It’s an easy way to get in.

Chatbots are pretty huge. The only downside about them right this second is that they keep changing. The majority of chatbots are on Facebook, and Facebook keeps changing how much data you can access etc.

But it’s really just a booming industry.

I’ve loved it and honestly, I used Motion.ai at the beginning which was a year and a half ago, and they’ve already been bought out.

Marketing-wise, the best use of a chatbot that I can think of right now, is actually for advertisements.

I was working with a chatbot expert- he put the bot together and I made the creative form.

When we put the two ends together they just outperformed everything else, and I think it’s just because they’re so engaging and there’s this unique ability to speak to the customer the way that they can speak to each other.

That’s something that you really can’t do in any other platform. It’s a really interesting space.

Do you think that referral marketing can be incorporated into chatbots?

We actually tried it!

We tried incorporating a Viral loops campaign with a Manychat integration. It’s a little clunky using Zappier, but you can use a little bit of a JSON.

We tried to make it work but it wasn't clean.

I would absolutely love to see the viral campaign through messenger.
That would just knock it out of the park, cause people are already sharing. I’ve got 4 group chats at any point for messenger and it would be absolutely insane if we could get that.

At this point, I informed Hunter that we’re about to launch Viral Loops for Messenger, so I will give you their dialogue about it.

Savvas:

I have a small surprise for you!

We just launched a prelaunch campaign for Viral Loops for Messenger, and we’re starting with a Giveaway template that is completely integrated with Manychat.

We provide users with a Manychat template that they can install to their accounts, and just tweak the messages.

They can also create their own flows with the Viral Loops API token inside their Manychat account, and it’s done.

There’s no need to use Zappier or any other 3rd party tools.

McKinley:

WOW, good for you man, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear!

Savvas:

The next step is to create the milestone template integrated with Messenger, so after the first launch of the giveaway template, we’re going for that!

McKinley:

Wow, let me ask you; can you automatically message everybody that’s subscribed and say you know “You have 2 days left”, “3 days left”, “1 day left”, “Today is the last day”; anything like that?

Savvas:

We don’t have the expiration date yet.

What we offer at the moment is that you can type let’s say "entries", and the bot responds to you with a number of entries that you have collected for the giveaway.

Or you can type “I want my invitation”, and then the chat bot responds with a card that you can share with your friends.

We’re doing more stuff so this is a very good idea; to automatically send people with how many days are left.

McKinley:

A Chatbot working with Viral Loops!
I think that’s a home run because it takes a lot of things that could go wrong out of the equation. And the best is that as soon as they are in the chatbot, you can retarget them with Facebook ads.

That’s crazy.

Savvas:

Yeah, I can give a link to give it a look and then starting next month I can give you early access.

McKinley:

I’d love that!

Savvas:

Awesome, great, Hunter!
Thank you so much for your time! I think our readers will benefit from your value bombs!

McKinley:

It's been a pleasure!

Want to run viral giveaways directly in Messenger?

Get Messenger Bot Giveaways by Viral Loops!

 

November 30, 2018 - No Comments!

Viral Loops for Shopify is LIVE on Product Hunt!

We made 3 product launches on Product Hunt, the past year alone.

How do we feel about it?

F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!

How do some other people feel about it?
Some of them were diggin' it. Others... not so much.
10x Growth In 2018? Part 2

Comments that speak the truth, don't really hurt me.

Yes, we are very grateful for Product Hunt's sole existence, as it gives us access to thousands of people.

And, HELL YES we are riding the wave over and over again since it works!

Will we ride the wave again? We just did!

Viral Loops for Shopify is live on Product Hunt!

I'm not asking you to upvote, comment on Product Hunt.

I'm asking you to review it. Go try it, and see for yourself 😎
Then, you can upvote it, or leave a comment.

What is Viral Loops for Shopify?

The name gives it away.

Viral Loops for Shopify is the best version of Viral Loops, but for Shopify stores.

By plugging Viral Loops into your Shopify store, you can reward brand/store ambassadors for spreading the word about you.

Ambassadors get rewarded either for every sale they refer or for email subscribers they bring.

You can use both features simultaneously, or whichever you prefer 🙌

If you want to see what are the steps of setting up a campaign, you can watch the tutorial we made about it:

If you don't own a Shopify store, send our Product Hunt link to a friend that might be benefited from it.

That's all from me 🙌 🖖👌

Keep being awesome,

Peace!

November 1, 2018 - No Comments!

Viral Loops Product Update: What’s New For November

Hey there, friends! 🖖

This is our latest product update. 😁

We’ re announcing new features, major upgrades and also minor bug fixes and UI improvements.

So, here's what's new:

Features

1. Reward images for all reward types, in Shopify campaigns

In the Milestone Rewards of a Shopify Campaign, Shopify users were able to upload reward images only for “Free Product” rewards.

It looked like this:

Viral Loops product update nov.2018

 

Now they can upload an image for every type of reward, even if it’s a discount reward.

Viral Loops product update nov.2018

2. A new way of exporting participants

This fixes issues our customers have had in the past where they didn’t receive the export email.

The export CSV now sends an email to the user’s email address with a link to download the CSV file.

The file is no longer getting attached to the email.

Viral Loops product update nov.2018

3. The Referral Page is now embedded in the Shopify Store

For those of you that use the Viral Loops story for Shopify, The Referral Page is now a  dedicated page in a Shopify store.

It is created automatically when the app is installed, so it looks just like any other page in the store.

Viral Loops product update nov.2018

Shopify users can also change the URL of the Referral Page (only the last part, after /pages/):

Viral Loops product update nov.2018

In the Referral Page, the store's customers can join the campaign and see their sharing options, coupons won etc.

Shopify users can edit the Referral Page from the editor in the Campaign Wizard. They have to edit the Joining and the Sharing states of the page by selecting the relevant buttons in the sidebar.

Viral Loops product update nov.2018

 

4. The Shopify widget only accepts valid email addresses

This fix makes the button on the Shopify widget stay disabled until the customer adds a valid email address.

That's all from us. 💪

Good times ahead!
Savvas & the rest of the Viral Loops Team 😎

June 5, 2018 - 4 comments

Virality and the 4 Steps To Design It In Your Product

One of the most promising acquisition channels startups explore - or at least should explore - is virality.

But what does virality mean?

Virality: vʌɪˈralɪti/

noun
the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another; the quality or fact of being viral.

Due to the explosion of digital marketing, marketers around the globe started using a new technique that allowed them to implement virality to products or services. Viral Marketing got born.

Viral marketing is scalable. Even if you’re an early stage company, it can help you get high-quality customers with low acquisition costs.

The difficult part you need to figure out, however, is how you can make your customers become your marketers. How one user brings others in.

A lot of people believe that virality happens either by luck or magic. Others think that all you need is a crazy video.

But this is not the case. PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen) is not what you’re looking for, and won’t get your business too far.

Viral marketing should be the heart of your product.

Virality is a business design problem, not a marketing or engineering effort . — Andrew Chen

Virality Vs. Word Of Mouth

First things first. Virality is not Word Of Mouth. They are closely related and one reinforces the other. But they’re not the same.

Word Of Mouth (WoM) happens when people love so much a product that they can’t stop talking about it. 

There are several ways of making people talk about your business. From offering them a great product and experience to giving them awesome support or asking them to pay $100 for a cheesesteak.

A few weeks ago, Typeform faced a minor issue and two of our forms, including Build Viral Loops in Public did not gather two submissions. We didn’t realize it before they told us so. And they went beyond that. They refunded our subscription for the last month. Wow! ✌️

When they notified us about it (I didn’t even expect that), they also included the exact reason of the issue as stated by their CTO.

Email from Typeform

At that moment, I realized that these guys are truly honest. And their customer support is great.

I immediately forwarded this email to my colleagues mentioning how cool that was and that we should do the same in any similar situation. — online WoM

I keep mentioning this incident in workshops and seminars. — offline WoM

 I also write about it right now, too. — online WoM

Their immediate action of letting us know about the issue without even noticing it, as well as their transparency, made us love Typeform even more. Not just because it is a great product, but also because their team treated us so special.

Typeform, we ❤ you guys! 🤗

Virality, on the other hand, happens when people spread the word about a product or service in the context of using it. 

When I invite someone to talk over Skype, it doesn’t mean I love it. But if I don’t have someone on Skype, I won’t be able to use it at all.

When virality is inherent to a product, the existing users gain value out of taking an action which, in turn, exposes the underlying platform to new users.

So, how can you design your product for viral growth?

Let me show you how we designed and engineered it into our own product.

Understanding what type of viral marketing fits to our product

Viral Loops is an all-in-one viral and referral marketing platform helping startups, professional bloggers and eCommerce stores acquire more customers and increase their revenues through referral programs, giveaways, sweepstakes and prelaunch campaigns.

The first thing we did was to understand the type of virality that could help our product grow while taking into account that we’re a B2B SaaS platform and not Snapchat.

I really like the way Philip La puts it. He categorizes product virality in two main types:

Pull Product Virality (PPV): Product virality where existing users require people in their network to join to gain value out of a feature.

Think of Dropbox, Slack and Facebook. You need to have your friends or colleagues in there, else you just can’t use it.

Distribution Product Virality (DPV): Product virality where existing users spread awareness of a product to their network.

Instagram has leveraged DPV extremely well. The time people post their photos on Instagram, they also share them on Facebook because of social currency.

Josh Elman also explains the different types of virality in one of his latest articles, at Greylock Perspectives.

In our case, we chose to start with DPV, as a marketer or blogger can use our platform without needing to have others in the same network.

How to design your product for viral growth

From the very first time, we knew that virality would be one of our main traction channels. Not only because it is a great channel, but also because if we can’t make it work for our own company, how will our customers?

Our design process was based on the four questions Sangeet Paul Choudarymentions in his book “Platform Scale: How an emerging business model helps startups build large empires with minimum investment.

1. Why will the sender send units out of the platform?

This is about finding the right sender incentives.

Our customers use our product to run their campaigns. So, inevitably they want to spread the word about their campaigns as much as they can. This way, they also spread the word about us.

This behavior is similar to when someone creates a Kickstarter campaign. When (s)he promotes his campaign, (s)he also promotes Kickstarter because this is the platform the campaign runs on.

Developer Economics’ Campaign

2. What is the minimum transferable unit on the platform that can move on an external network?

At this point, we needed to come up with our spreadable unit.

We took advantage of the classic marketing tactic “Powered by.” This is used by a lot of platforms out there, including Intercom, Eventbrite, and many others.

Waiting List of Ellp’s Campaign

Our spreadable units are our widgets and emails. We chose the “with ❤ by Viral Loops.” So, we use this badge everywhere. This brings more eyeballs to Viral Loops.

It also made us change our roadmap and come up with more widgets that will help our customers acquire more participants for their campaigns while increasing the virality of our product.

For example, we built a public embeddable leaderboard so our customers can put it on their main website in order to show off their advocates and engage them more.

3. Where will the unit of the platform meet non-users?

And now our external network.

Our customers share their campaign through several distribution channels they use for their marketing activities. So, by sharing the campaign, they share Viral Loops, too.

Viral Loops’ Referral Dashboard

On top of that, the participants of the campaigns (the customers of our customers) invite their friends through the sharing options we offer, including Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Email, and others.

4. Why will a non-user on an external network convert to a user on the platform?

For the last question, we needed to think of the recipient incentives.

This was a bit tricky for us, as we cannot control who participates in the campaigns of our customers. So, we decided to focus on two things that can affect it:

  • Build features so our customers can acquire more users and run very successful campaigns.
  • Provide a stellar experience for the participants of the campaign through our widgets and the whole campaign setup.

This way if one of our target customers participates in a campaign of our users (e.g. a marketer or startup founder) and the experience is unique, then he will be curious to see how this campaign is built. And then, our tiny “ with ❤ by Viral Loops” will lead him to us!

If you believe viral marketing could work for your business, this is the easiest way to design your viral loops and start experimenting. As with every marketing campaign, there are 5 must-watch metrics for your Viral Marketing Campaign:

  1. The Viral Coefficient (K-Factor).
  2. The Participant Conversion Rate.
  3. The Participant Share Rate.
  4. The Invitation Click Through Rate.
  5. The Invitation Conversion Rate.

Have you followed another process? I’d love to hear about it. 😊

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶

May 24, 2018 - No Comments!

GDPR and Viral Loops

Disclaimer: This article is not by any means legal advice for your company on how to comply with the GDPR. The goal is to provide background information to help you better understand the regulation.

We propose that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on how you should interpret this information or its accuracy.

We are just a breath away from the 25th of May 2018, when the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. The legislation is set to have a huge impact on how digital companies and marketers get access to, store, distribute and process the personal data from EU citizens.

There are 2 things you should definitely keep in mind about GDPR:

  1. Even if your business is based outside of the EU, gathering, managing or distributing any personal data of EU citizens, means the GDPR applies to you as well.
  2. Potential penalties for failing to comply with the GDPR are purely savage. Depending on the type of violation, companies will be inclined to pay fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual revenue (whichever is greater). That means that you can’t afford to ignore the regulation.

The second point is expected to have a huge impact on the digital landscape as, according to Hubspot, just 36% of marketers have heard of GDPR, while 15% of companies have done nothing, and are at risk of non-compliance.

But is GDPR a bad thing?

Perspective is everything, people. While a tiny bit of madness might occur for the infrastructure that digital companies use, at the same time many of the scammers out there will go out of work.

As a result, end-customers will have the opportunity to browse in a safer environment (and customer satisfaction is KING). This also means that marketers (like me) will have to do a better job in order to gain the right to communicate with people on a regular basis.

GDPR for Referral Marketing, and what it means for Viral Loops.

When participants are joining your campaign, you are getting and processing their personal data, such as their name and email.

To be compliant with GDPR you should have the participant's consent for any marketing activities you are going to use this data for.

Viral Loops allows you to add opt-in options in the campaign widgets so that participants can give their consent when they join the campaign.

The marketing-consents block can be added at the bottom of the Form Widget, Viral Loops Popup and In-app Referral widget at the participation state, before the participant joins the campaign.
It consists of a description text, the marketing consent options, and some complementary legal text.

To set up these options go to your Settings from the Profile drop-down at the top right of your screen.

Capturing consent

To start capturing consent go to your Campaign Wizard and edit the relevant widget (Form Widget, Viral Loops Popup and In-app Referral Widget) to enable the GDPR fields.

The widget will display the description, consent options and legal texts you set-up earlier.
When participants are joining the campaign, their choices will be getting logged so that you know what each participant has opted-in to.

Documenting consent

The marketing consent choices of your campaign participants are available in the CSV export of your campaign and you will also be able to see them in your Campaign Dashboard and MailChimp and Mailjet integrations around the beginning of June 2018.

Here’s a condensed version of our GDPR Roadmap and where we are on our journey:

  • Research how the GDPR impacts our product and business, and implement the required changes to our internal processes required to achieve and maintain compliance with the regulation - COMPLETE
  • Rewrite our Data Protection Agreement - COMPLETE
  • Perform the necessary changes/improvements to our product based on the requirements:
    • Giving control to our users over the marketing activities they opt-in - COMPLETE
    • New GDPR fields to capture consent from campaign participants - COMPLETE
    • Consent options provided by campaign participants available in the participant list export - COMPLETE
    • Deletion: A user has the right to request that we delete all of their personal data. Users who wish to inquire about the right to be forgotten will be able to reach out to us at any time.- COMPLETE
    • Access / Portability: A user can request access to a copy of the personal data that we have collected. Users who wish to request portability can reach out to us at any time.- COMPLETE
    • Consent options provided by campaign participants visible in the Campaign Dashboard - IN PROGRESS
  • Add a cookie notice to all marketing pages and blogs in order to comply with the E-Privacy Directive.- COMPLETE
  • Finalize and communicate our full compliance (this is what this blog post is about) - COMPLETE

Note that we are in constant motion in order to improve our existing features, or provide new solutions that will help you to run GDPR compliant campaigns in an easier manner.

What do Viral Loops Customers need to do?

There are two things that you might need to do depending on your situation. Below are the only impactful changes that we can foresee that might affect you as a result of using Viral Loops:

  1. Make sure your Terms of Service or Privacy Policy properly communicate to your users how you are using Viral Loops (and any other similar services) on your website or app. In any different situation, but the GDPR may heavily penalize you.
    We recommend you make sure your policies are up to date and clear to your readers.
  2. If you need to get marketing permissions from your campaign participants, enable and set the marketing consent options you want to ask them when they join your campaign.
    If a participant requests to be removed from your campaign you can delete them from your Campaign Dashboard. Participant data requests can be forwarded to Viral Loops for processing.
  3. If you are in the European Union you might want to sign a Data Processing Agreement with Viral Loops. We’re happy to do so upon request at privacy@viral-loops.comWe will countersign it and provide you with a fully executed downloadable copy via email within a few business days. If you have any questions about its contents simply email us at privacy@viral-loops.com

Keep being awesome 😎

April 26, 2018 - No Comments!

How to get started with Viral Loops

Hey everyone! This is Savvas, CEO of Viral Loops 🙂

This is a starter's guide for Viral Loops. If you don't want to read the entire article, feel free to check the video we created for you: 👇 

Why we created Viral Loops and why you need referral marketing.

Word of mouth is responsible for up to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
According to research, it’s 10x more effective than traditional advertising.

That’s why we created Viral Loops—a referral-marketing platform that helps you capture new customers and grow your businesses.

Here’s the deal: Your success is the basis of our success.

That’s why we decided to focus on the things that can make or break a referral-marketing campaign and show you exactly, step-by-step, how to make it successful.

For starters, Viral Loops is a template-based platform, meaning that you can choose one of our templates inspired by successful referral campaigns, and customize it according to your needs.

After studying data from thousands of campaigns, we saw that one of the most significant key factors in getting the most from your referral campaigns is to choose the right template.

Currently, we offer multiple campaign templates.

From referral campaigns and ambassador programs inspired by companies like Dropbox and Harry’s - to prelaunch campaigns and giveaways inspired by Robinhood and Jet.

If you don’t know what the best template is for you, don’t worry! 🙂 When you’re ready to build your campaign, our app will guide you through all the possibilities - and you can select the right template in no time at all.

It’s easy and effective.

Caution: Before selecting your template, make sure it’s supported by your platform. The following diagram will make your life much easier.

Our Referral Templates

The Milestone Referral

Inspired by Harry’s and the Hustle

You might have heard how Harry’s gathered 100,000 emails in one week pre-launch:

They created a referral pre-launch program where a single referrer could invite up to 50 friends in order to unlock different prizes, as she refers more friends and reaches milestones.

This adds a gamification concept to the referral program that seems to work pretty well with millennials.

With this template the rewards could be anything that you already sell in case of an e-shop or any other kind of swags that have nothing to do with the service you provide like the Hustle did; or even just a title, such as official ambassador or superfan of your product/company.

The e-Commerce Referral

Inspired by Gilt

 

Designed with e-Commerce stores in mind, this template offers easy integration with leading e-commerce platforms, such as WooCommerce and Drupal Commerce.

You can see how it looks live. 

Invitee follows a referral link back to your store so that can get a coupon code for a discount towards their first purchase.

When they purchase, their referrer also gets a coupon for their next purchase. Simple as that!

Refer a Friend template

Inspired by Dropbox

We all know what Dropbox is doing with their referral program: When an invitee signs up, both the referrer and the invitee will get 500MB of free space in Dropbox.

You could now set a referral program that tracks sign ups and just pick a different reward.

Our giveaway templates:

We have created two types of campaigns for competitions:

  1. The Leaderboard Giveaway
  2. The Tempting Giveaway

The biggest difference between the two of them is that in The Leaderboard Giveaway the winners will be the ones who have brought the most successful referrals compared to the rest of the participants (so, this is a ranking), whereas on The Tempting Giveaway that is inspired by Mailchimp the winners will be picked up randomly, since this is a sweepstake.

Of course, the more successful referrals a participant has the more chances she has to be the winner, but in this template, one can be the winner even with just one entry.

Here's a live example of The Leaderboard Giveaway

For one of our biggest customers, Vision Mobile, who actually requested a user dashboard instead of the default pop-up option, we created a web page.

This comes with an extra cost and includes all the data that are part of the participant’s pop up in this template plus the images that a superfan/influencer could add to his page/blog in order to provide his personal URL created via Viral Loops.

Another example of The Tempting Giveaway could be found on our campaign Viral Loops/t-shirt, where the pop-up default option is used: https://viral-loops.com/t-shirt

Viral Loops recognizes if the visitor is also a participant of this campaign and shows the corresponding message.

Our pre-launch campaigns:

With these campaigns, we could help you find early adopters, that will become the first customers right after you launch and could help you a lot with their valuable feedback since day one!

You could either use the simplest concept of our Start-up Pre-launch template inspired by Robinhood, or request access to our Private Beta template, that is inspired by Monzo and provides you with a coupon system that you could use to gradually give access for your new online product to the participants.

The Wizard

Create and run efficient viral & referral campaigns in a few clicks.

As soon as you know what’s the right template for you, it’s time to build your campaign.

Step 1: Info

You will have to put details about the campaign and your platform like the name of your product, name of the campaign, URL and how many users you have (we’ll use this to calculate user growth).

Step 2: Rewards

This is probably the most important step of the wizard. Here you choose the reward that users will get when they refer friends.

The reward can be physical, digital or monetary. If it’s monetary you have to click this trigger. Below the reward section, we have the notifications, you can toggle them on or off and also edit them as you like.

Step 3: Widgets

Your users should have a referral dashboard like Dropbox has or like any product that uses a referral program. So here, we let you choose the widgets you want to show and also we let you customize them to match your brand. The most popular is the Sharing Widget.

Step 4: Installation

This step provides some technical info. If you’re familiar with that, then go ahead, but you could ping us anytime for help.

If you’re not into that, just hit the “Help me” button and we’ll be more than happy to help you install it. Remember the goal is to create the easier way to launch referral programs, we need your help with that.

When you’re finished with setting up your campaign, you can install it on your website using our code snippet (or handy tool or plugins) - or use our API for more complex implementations.

Another powerful feature we have is Viral Loops Pages.

This is something we created for companies which don’t have a website - or don’t have time to a build a new landing page to host their campaign.

Viral Loops Pages allows you to build a landing page directly into your campaign.

Once you’re done, click finish and you’re ready to go.

The Campaigns' Dashboard

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

This is the “My campaigns” section, here you’ll find important information about your active, draft, or expired campaigns. From here, you can go to your campaign’s dashboard or even edit it, if you want to change something.

In the dashboard, you could find analytics for your live campaign, such as successful referrals, shares and see the pending rewards to manually manage winners.

Regarding the installation, we give you the chance to try it even on your local server. This will help you test our widget without being live, ensuring that everything will look exactly how you want them to.

Conclusion

I guess that now, you know everything you need to know in order to start your campaign. As a team, we can only perceive our product being a success when our users get the amount of leads they deserve.

Make sure to pick a template that suits your needs and can work with your platform. I would propose to be super careful with your copywriting (it can have a huge impact on your campaign’s performance) and use creatives that will stick to the eye.

We are here to answer all of your questions ASAP, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶

January 23, 2018 - No Comments!

Viral Loops Product Update: What’s New From January

Hey there, friends! 🖖

This is our first product update in 2018!

Time to know what happened in Viral Loops during the last couple of months. 😁

We’ re announcing new features, major upgrades and also minor bug fixes and UI improvements.

So, here's what's new:

💳 Support for 6-month plans

Referral Marketing is a long game. 🏎️

That’s why we decided to give the opportunity to our customers to run their campaigns for extended periods while paying 20% less than they would have paid if they used one of our monthly plans.

So, let us know what you think of our new prices.

👩‍🎓 Growth Hacking University partnership

Would you like to learn more about referral marketing? Or are you looking for some inspiration?

One chapter from Growth Hacking University is now available for you in your Viral Loops account.

Υou can access the rest of the course FOR FREE if you’re a Plus/Power plan user (or at 40% off, if you’re in trial or on the Startup/Growing plans).

⌨️ Custom CSS

You asked for it and we delivered.

We eavesdropped your public conversations about our widgets, and we now know how important it is for you to completely customize your Viral Loops widgets and get them to match your branding.

From now on, you can add custom CSS on each widget and change its look and feel.

You can find this option when editing each widget inside our wizard:


For now, you can change the widgets for each of the following templates:

- Refer a Friend
- The Milestone Referral
- Online to Offline
- The e-Commerce Referral

📱 Easily share referral link on every device

By the time you’re reading these lines, copying your unique link is easy, regardless the device, or platform, your participants use.

Let the participants flow. 😎

💌 Fixed issue with font weight and style in campaign emails

Some users reported that bold or italic text couldn’t be applied to their campaign emails. We identified & fixed the issue so you can now go ahead and format your email the way you want to.

More customization options coming soon! 😉

🔧 Better CSV export for big campaigns

For campaigns with tens of thousands of participants, the CSV export is optimized in a way that our system can support super viral campaigns! 😱

📤 Test emails “From” address

Last October we allowed you to use your own custom outbound email address for the campaign emails.

Test emails sent from your campaigns, however, were sent from hello@viral-loops.com.

This is fixed it, so now your test emails can also be sent from your own custom outbound email address.

 

Dimitris, our Product Lead, is explaining all the new Product Updates here 👇

That's all from us. 💪

Good times ahead!
Savvas & the rest of the Viral Loops Team 😎

Note: Puggy recently started spreading her knowledge on Referral Marketing, so 👉 Push the "Send to Messenger" button below to grab her exclusive content 🐶

December 1, 2017 - No Comments!

What are the best growth hacks for B2B startups?

Some challenges you may find when you start your business, how to make search engine optimization work for you, how to generate leads, how to develop your brand awareness in a way that will increase awareness and many more challenges.

I put together a list for you, after a lot of experiments and obstacles we ‘ve been through with Viral Loops.

So, here we go:

1. Add your content into newsletters from other editors/companies/influencers

What are the best growth hacks for B2B startups?

A great way to promote your business is via existing newsletters. When you publish a new post, find some editors of newsletters that fit your industry in order to promote your business.

Another way to do this is by getting in touch with companies that have already a user base of emails that matches your industry. (Be away from competitors)

2. You can run a referral program in which the attribution happens when the invitee becomes a paid customer

For Viral Loops - yes, it’s a viral and referral marketing platform - we have 2 referral marketing templates for this.

The Referral Program, inspired by dropbox in which you can reward people when their friends sign up.

What are the best growth hacks for B2B startups?

The other one is the Milestone Referral Program inspired by Harry’s and The Hustle, which is based on the concept of milestones.

What are the best growth hacks for B2B startups?

When you reach a specific milestone, say got 4 or 10 friends, you get something. If you don’t catch that, you don’t get anything.

3. Retargeting

Some of your page/blog visitors, will leave without understanding your product. You should bring them back by using google ads, facebook ads etc.

If you know your post that will make a lot of traffic, your custom ads propably will convert better.

Create a post about a topic you want for your campaign and then, retarget its visitors.

4. Launch some free tools/features from your product in order to get leads from the traffic

What are the best growth hacks for B2B startups?

Search your product for any feature that is probably easy to promote.

Try to find a feature that can stand by itself.

Go for it and promote it!

After some days, you will see that a lot of visitors will continue to explore your main product.

This is a good tactic to reactivate users who have forgotten you. Just send a product update email and you’ll see them come back.

5. User Experience

Your product should be easy on technical and non-technical people to handle.

A good user experience will make people use your product, be happy with your product and finally share your product.

If the users talk/chat about your product in their everyday life, there is a big change that they will convert others into paid customers.

6. Free Trials

What are the best growth hacks for B2B startups?

This tactic is a must-do in B2B businesses because these products are often expensive.

With a free trial, you are showing the user the value she will receive from using it.

It makes it easier to sell your product after a free trial period because it makes you look more trustworthy.

Which of these tips would work best for you? Try them and find it out!

In the end of the day, probably a lot of the tips I gave you will help your business make its existing trial users into paid customers.

Hope it helps! 🙌

November 17, 2017 - No Comments!

Why does some content go viral on the internet?

Hey there,

Spend only one minute on your Facebook feed and you’ll see tons of new posts, images, videos and stories.

Some of these you’ll see them again and again in all over the internet.

Nevertheless, the question remains the same;

“Why does some content go viral and others don’t?”

A year ago, we kicked off Viral Loops and we’ve been through a lot of case studies and came across a lot of people who were marketing masterminds and growth hackers.

You can’t predict what will go viral, but you can measure the performance of every action that you do. See what went right and what went wrong.

Once you find your process on making things go viral then everything is simple.

However, how is it possible to find this process?

Can you remember a blog post or a story that performed better than any of your posts?

Just focus on what you did for this piece of content, try to remember some key actions you were doing back then, that made your piece of content excel.

At the end of every new post you should ask yourself; Will someone find this interesting? Will someone share this? Will this post give value to people? Will this post excite anyone?

Υour content should awaken emotions and attract attention of influencers, that’s how you will get lot of shares.

The truth is, there is not one secret formula that you must follow in your content while writing or editing.

It’s all about the process.

Test, learn, repeat.

You should try out different things every day, try to change your content like you do with a puzzle:

Why does some content go viral on the internet?

  • Add a clever headline.
  • Use short paragraphs.
  • Use short sentences.
  • Skip unnecessary words.
  • Write it like you tell it to someone.
  • Use your experiences to explain things.
  • Address your web visitors directly | use the word “you”
  • Videos up to 5mins max.
  • Having a nice logo and a remarkable branding.
  • Use your own unique background music (created by a friend if you don’t know how).
  • Have an intro and outro less than 10 seconds.
  • Use keywords in your content related to trends and several events.
  • Use some humor into content.
  • Add pictures and videos in your content.

Things like that, possibly will help you create your best content.

Nevertheless, they don’t guarantee you any success if you share your content in wrong channels.

You should start testing the channels you want to target.

The only tip that I have to share with you, is that your post or story should be something that people will share, something that a reader want to send to his/her teammates or friends and this will happen if you find channels where your audience lives.

You should share your content on several channels and groups in order to find your appropriate social networks like:

  • Facebook profile or Facebook groups
  • Instagram
  • Medium
  • Quora
  • Tumblr
  • GrowthHackers
  • Youtube
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit

Why does some content go viral on the internet?

Another important thing is that you should try to create content based on recent trends and events or anniversaries e.g. like Christmas

or the launch of the new Stranger Things season.

Promote your content on the right channels and don’t stop testing if you don’t find a strategy and a flow that works for you.

Be patient by building up your community little by little.

Remember everyone had 1 follower at some point.


November 15, 2017 - No Comments!

Viral Loops Product Update: What’s New From October

Hey everyone, 👋

Yes, this is what you think it is. 😉

It's important to know what's going on with Viral Loops and give us your feedback.

So, like we did in the past, we will announce, once or twice a month, new features, major improvements and also minor bug fixes and UI improvements.

So, here's what's new for this month:

😱 Viral Loops Pages

What’s this?

A ready-made landing page that hosts your Viral Loops campaign that you can use if you cannot edit your website (or if you don’t have one!).

What else can it do?

You can test your campaign and see how it works and how the widgets look, before touching anything on your website.

How do I use it?

Just go to the Installation step of the Campaign Wizard and customise your Viral Loops Page. If, at any moment, you want to install the campaign on your website, just follow the instructions for your platform. The Viral Loops Page works in parallel and won’t affect your installation.

But I want it to be in my domain!

No problem, you can use your own domain for the Viral Loops Page.

⚙️ Branding options & white label settings

You can now select how you want the Viral Loops link (with <3 from Viral Loops) to appear on your campaign widgets and emails.

Furthermore, if the user is on the Power plan they can enable the white label option (no VL attribution).

💌  New email templates

We completely redesigned the email templates that you can use for your campaign.

Our main goal was to make it super lean and good looking. ❤️

Here's how it looks in one of our customers 👇

You Want More? ⭐️

1.You can now change your password.

Go to your settings from the drop-down menu on the top right corner of the screen and click Change” on the Password field under Account Info”. 

2. Add your own outbound email address

The emails sent from your Viral Loops campaigns are normally sent from hello@viral-loops.com. However, you might want to use your own own email domain to send these messages and now you can!

Learn more here 👉 intercom.help/viral-loops/faq/set-up-a-custom-outbound-email-address-for-your-campaign-emails

3. Many more bug fixes and improvements.

That's all from us. 💪

Good times ahead!
Savvas & the rest of the Viral Loops Team 😎