All Posts in Growth

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 Vira 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 🐶

April 30, 2018 - No Comments!

Side Project Marketing Will Change Your Game

When it comes to getting customers’ attention, you’re up against a lot of competition.

Whether scrolling through social media or surfing the web, potential customers are inundated with marketing messages—so much so that many find ads off-putting. 😤

Which begs the question…

As a marketer, how do you stand out?

The answer isn’t yell louder. 🗣️📣

Instead, it’s to do something unexpected. Something so logical that you don’t know how you never considered it before.

Start a side project.

We know, we know. This idea goes against the “focus on one thing and do it well” rule.

But rules were made to be broken.

Okay, well, this rule was made to be broken.

The concept of bringing customers to your main business through the creation of side projects (aka, “side project marketing”) has a proven track record of success. 📈 🙌

Just ask the people over at Crew.co. This start-up was on the brink of shutting its virtual doors and boarding up the digital windows when a side project, unsplash.com, gave them a new lease on life.

By simply putting the professional pictures they had taken but hadn’t used online and licensing them for free use, they managed to attract loads of traffic — 11 million visitors a month. 😲 This amounted to enough to keep the doors open.

The side project game is so useful, in fact, that we’ve jumped on board, too.

To date, we’ve built two deciders tools that help users plan out the implementation of referral programs that will mirror some of the best we’ve seen, from Dropbox and Harry’s.

 

 

 

 

We made both of them to kinda explode by getting hunted on Product Hunt, with 1636 & 910 upvotes respectively.

If you're interested in riding the Product Hunt wave for your side project, we have a comprehensive guide on how to do so.

And how do you make side project marketing work for your business?”

Here are our quick tips.

Don’t: Be Overly Complex

When it comes to your side project, you want something that solves a problem. Your goal is to catch the attention and provide a benefit to potential customers.

But don’t create something so different and so complex that managing your side project becomes your full-time job.

Hubspot showed us how side project marketing is done when they did what they do best — assessing the quality of marketing — via a website grader. 💯

Their tool allows users to determine the current efficiency of their websites. The site also explains to users how their marketing could be improved — another service that Hubspot provides. 🤝

Not only did this free website grader earn Hubspot some goodwill with potential clients, it also landed the company some accolades. Most specifically, the side project was a finalist for an ad:tech award and took home a Webby from The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS).

Do: Use Inexpensive Tools

Not only is side project marketing effective, it’s also can be pretty easy to implement...with the right tools.

There are tons of tools 🔨 you can use to transform the task of building your side project from exhausting to effortless.

Not only can brand new start-ups build websites to house their side projects quickly with options like Yola, Wix, and Squarespace, they can also use low- or no-cost buzz-building options like Reddit, Tumblr, Facebook and other free tools to launch their side projects.

Not only does using these tools make the process of setting up your side project easier, it also makes it less expensive — which means you’re not losing much if it ends up being a flop.

Crew.co exemplified this lesson, using Tumblr to initially launch their Unsplash project.

Tumblr was free.

It was easy.

And it was accessible.

Everything Crew.co needed to taste sweet, sweet side marketing project success. And it was success they saw, quickly at that, with a huge spike in traffic at crew.co thanks to this Unsplash launch.  

Do: Partner Up

One mistake we see companies make when launching their side projects (and why those side projects crash and burn) is because they tried to do it alone.

When Veed.me wanted to launch their side project, coverra site offering free videos for use as cover images—they secured a partner.

In Veed.me’s case, they turned to codersclan to help make the side project of their dream a digital reality.

Together, these two birthed the legitimately beautiful 🌇 — and useful. ⚙️.

And this side project wasn’t just aesthetically stunning — it was also profitable. Coverr quickly reached 100,000 unique visitors and, even more beneficial, resulted in 1,700 new email sign-ups.

Don’t: Forget to Have Fun

If you want customers to like you… really like you… you need to have some fun.

Customers will form initial impressions of your company with how you treat your side projects.

You want those impressions to be positive. So perhaps consider content that’s engaging, adventuresome and quirky.

Think your business is so serious there’s no room for fun? 👯

Well, try this on for size: How serious is cybersecurity? 🔐

Pretty darn serious, if you ask me.

But that didn’t stop cybersecurity firm Checkmarx from having some fun and launching a useful-as-it-is-engaging program called Game of Hacks.

Side note: What a clever little play on words you have there, Checkmarx.

Game of Hacks is a gamified hacking experience, allowing programmers to put their weakness identification skills to the test.

Did it work?

Yep.

Launched like a bullet, accruing 35,000 players in the first 24 hours.

And as you would expect, gaining Checkmarx some serious attention.

Side Project Today, Growth Tomorrow

With so many businesses implementing a side project marketing plan — and it works oh so well for them — there really is confounding evidence that this type of marketing is worth your time and effort.

If you’re ready to move forward with side project marketing, remember to:

  • Keep it simple
  • Use the free and low-cost tools at your disposal
  • Explore partnership opportunities
  • Have fun

By doing these four simple things, you can make side project marketing easy and effective.

Because, really, a the end of the day, we question should be less “why are you doing side project marketing” and more, “why aren’t you doing side project marketing.”

We’ve boarded the train. 🚃

Why don’t you?

Side project marketing is your ticket. 🎫

 

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

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

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 🐶

April 11, 2018 - No Comments!

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

You may have developed the most enticing program in referral marketing history.

You could literally plan to fly customers to the moon and back 🚀👩‍🚀🌑 for referring friends.

Yet no out-of-this-world incentive makes any difference if your customers don’t understand how your program works.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

As an eCommerce retailer, you don’t have the luxury of sitting down with customers over a cup of tea ☕ and offering a verbal explanation.

Instead, the only meaningful way to communicate the important deets of your program is through...drum roll, please...

Effective copywriting.

And producing effective copy is a three-fold endeavor. Your copy must clearly explain your program, effectively sell your program to customers and ultimately endear your customers to your brand.

Admittedly, that’s a lot to keep track of.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

That’s why we’re here to help.

We want to share our top 3 copywriting quick tips.

1. Speak Their Language

There’s a time and place for high-brow content. But in most businesses, that place is not in the referral marketing campaign copy.

If you’re trying to connect with your customers (whether through the copy on your site or in your e-newsletters), stuffy, complicated language is not likely to be an effective tool.

Often, speaking too formally can leave customers feeling disconnected (at best) or alienated (at worst).

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

When introducing a referral program, customers must see you as a business that both values their patronage and wants to become partners. Appearing to be a lofty company that looks down upon their customers while swimming in a pool of money isn’t an approach that will get you too far.

The easiest way to avoid this perception is to speak simply, directly and colloquially in your copywriting.

Brand #Goals: Some companies — particularly those selling products that have traditionally been considered high-brow — argue that it’s difficult to maintain a professional appearance while writing copy that’s accessible.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

New York Based grooming products company Harry’s boasts a traditionally formal clientele, but they have taken to speaking directly to their customer in simple, easy-to-understand speech. In fact, they are running within direction.

And we’re talking Usain-Bolt-level running.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

All of the content on Harry’s website, as well as the content in their magazine, 5 o’clock (as in 5 o’clock shadow—get it? 🤣🤣🤣), speaks directly to their customers.

Their recently published five-year wrap-up, for example, begins “Phew, five years just flew by. Here, a look at our ups, downs, and side to sides...”

Now if that’s not customer-friendly speak, we are not sure what is.

2. Develop a Distinctive Voice

Do you remember the nap-inducing 😴😴, monotonous voice of the teacher from Peanuts?

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

Consider her an example of how not to speak to your customers.

Sending out copy that sounds like “wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah” is not a good way to win friends and influence people.

Brand #Goals: When it comes to adopting a voice, MailChimp is making it happen.

Like, seriously. We’ve got a bit of a #BrandCrush going on.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

Every bit of copy MailChimp puts out there into the universe sounds definitively MailChimp-y. 📫🐵

It’s spunky.

It’s playful.

It’s thoughtful.

MailChimp’s voice is distinctive enough that when given three pieces of text, a regular MailChimp reader could likely pick the piece that belongs to MailChimp

Which sounds like a really weird party 🎉 game 🎲, but we’re down!

Producing work that sounds definitively you should always be your goal.

Quick Tip - Don’t know what your brand should sound like? Start by listening. Listen to what’s going on in your office and to your customers. Then decide how to use what you picked up to differentiate your brand from your competitors. Pick single words or even more complex phrases to adopt as branded lingo and use them in your copy. Now you sound like your brand!  

3. Avoid Passivity

How do you want customers to see your business?

Do you want them to perceive you as weak, passive, ineffectual?

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

Or do you want them to see you as active, vibrant and thriving?

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

If you’re going for the latter, you want to avoid passive voice.

Quick refresher: If the person doing the action isn’t the subject of the sentence, the sentence is passive.

"The taco was eaten by the dog." - Passive 🌮🐶

"The dog ate the taco." - Active 🐶🌮

For the sake of your referral marketing copywriting success, it’s time to dust off those cobwebby lower school English skills and finally put them to work for you.

When content is written (did you catch that that was passive? 💯) in passive voice, it sounds stilted and is generally more difficult to for people to read.

Your content should be engaging.

Your content should be accessible.

Your content should be active.

Brand #Goals: Airbnb is a brand that’s synonymous with the word active.

Going places.

Doing things.

Experiencing life.

There’s not a passive bone in Airbnb’s body of copy.

The Airbnb blog is full of posts about people visiting new places, eating new foods and getting some serious breaks on accommodation rates.

By keeping it active, Airbnb not only makes their content more readable, they also encourage their readers to follow the leader and get out there and experience the world.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

Take this sentence, for example:

“Get out on the water with an experienced captain and you’ll get a fresh vantage point on the sights—like Mt. Tibidabo and Montjuïc—and you might even spot a dolphin or a finback whale.”

Not only is this active “get a fresh vantage point”😊 instead of “a fresh vantage point was gotten,”☹️ — it also even further amps up the active feel by making the subject of the sentence you.

And, IDK about you guys, but I want to go see a finback whale. Like, right now.

Copywriting + Referral Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven

Like peanut butter and jelly.

Tea and crumpets.

Beer and peanuts.

Copywriting and referral marketing are an inseparable duo.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

By:

  1. Speaking customers’ language ✅
  2. Developing a distinctive voice ✅
  3. Avoiding passivity ✅

You can improve the effectiveness of your referral marketing efforts and grow your brand—easy as 1, 2, 3.

Until the next time,
Keep being awesome 😎

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

April 3, 2018 - No Comments!

10x Growth in 2018? Part 2

I’ll start by saying that if you haven’t already read the first installment of these series, stop reading those lines and go read this, instead.

Seriously.

I’ve been introduced to Harry Potter’s universe by reading the 3rd book -don’t know why I skipped the first two books, and it’s something that I deeply regret.

You know what?

Read the 1st part of the series even if you already did.

I’ll wait for you.

Now that you are back, I don’t have to explain to you again what the article is about and we can cut to the chase.

Let’s see a few other things that will help you achieve 10x Growth in 2018.

Work on Funnel steps individually.

Do I have your attention?

Good.

This is pure gold people. You and I both know how it is to try to grow a business.

It gets sloppy, stressful, frustrating and confusing.

And when your team is small and your resources limited, things may turn dark. Viral Loops wasn’t always a team of 15 people.

We started small. I mean, really small.

What we did, in the beginning, was to concentrate all of our actions on the step of the funnel that mattered the most at the given time. Although now we have the opportunity to have sub-team working on several funnel steps, in the beginning, we had to focus on one.

Let’s see how the typical AARRR funnel looks like:
10x Growth In 2018? Part 2

As you can see, on the top of the funnel you have the Acquisition, followed by the Activation, the Retention, the Revenue and finally, the Referral.

During the first year, our sole focus was on Acquiring our first set of users (btw, we still have a team constantly working on Acquisition called TOFU team- aka Top Of Funnel team).

Getting initial traction is a huge bet for every business but we had to move a step further during our 2nd year.

We invested in making the product better, thus made our engineering team bigger, and also tried to optimize our customer support by hiring talent that not only could help customers use our product, but also manage challenging situations.

Having a better product and customer support, helped us improve our Activation, Retention and (the super valuable to the life of the company), Revenue.

Last Q, we decided to make an opening to our Referral step and that’s why we created our own Ambassador program.

Start from the funnel step that’s the most valuable to your business, optimize it, and then move further.

Retention.

I bet you’ve read a lot about to acquire a ton of users/customers. Actually, we are so much force-fed of this concept to the point that a lot of us thought that acquiring customers is a synonym for growing.

Well, it’s not.

Over the past 4 years, I had the opportunity to talk with numerous people of companies that take their growth game seriously. Their answer as to where growth really comes is retention.

The Pareto principle (aka the 80/20 rule) comes again into play as, according to Gartner Group, 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

“But, how do I know if my I have a good retention rate?”

You have to build a retention curve. If the retention curve is parallel to your time axis, you’re good to go.

However, in case your curve crosses the axis, you should start reconsidering your approach or even the product itself.

Here are a few principals that will help you to improve your customer retention rate:

  • Utilize user feedback.
  • Get personal and stay in touch with your customers.
  • Have stellar support (we’ll elaborate on that further into the article).
  • Offer more to customers than you promised.

You need to understand that once you lose a customer, there’s a 90% chance of them never coming back. Be proactive.

 Pro tip:
Build different retention curves for different sets of users. While your overall retention rate might suck, there’s a chance that a certain set of users is performing really good.

You can use that information to change your retention strategy accordingly.

Customer Support.

Allow me to ask you a question;

You’re on a call with a company’s customer support line. You’re sitting on your desk, you have some friends or colleagues around and you are tired and hungry.

While the person on the other side of the line is trying to help you, you turn to your friends and let them know that you’re starving.

A few moments later, the person on the other side of the line informs you that there’s a pizza on its way to you.

“But, how?”, you asked.
“It’s on us”, the customer support says.

Now the question is, is there any chance that you are going to use another similar service ever again?

I guess not.

This is a true story; During a marathon troubleshooting session, a support engineer of Rackspace heard the customer was hungry, so she ordered them a pizza!

The story inspired Rackspace to brand their support as Fanatical, created a ton of buzz online, and surely made a customer very happy.

10x Growth In 2018? Part 2

Be like Rackspace.

Launch, Launch, Launch!

Do you know what’s the biggest compliment I’ve ever received about my work?

When we launched one of our latest features on Product Hunt, someone left the following review:

“ViralLoops is a good product with infuriating marketing. Trying to ride the ProductHunt wave over and over again by releasing these little pages and then submitting to ProductHunt”

10x Growth In 2018? Part 2

That was my moment of glory; the moment I knew I’ve done my job in the desired way.

“Infuriating Marketing”.

It’s true; we are riding the Product Hunt wave again, and again, and again. And we will do it one (or ten) more time if needed.

It’s easy to get caught up in modern digital marketing tactics, but good old-fashioned marketing is unbeatable.

Take Forever21 (or any other mainstream brand name), for example. Last week they launched their new collection in collaboration with Kylie and Kendal Jenner.

They created a huge prelaunch hype.

Based on the same principle, we decided to handle each of our new features as an individual launch, and we choose Product Hunt as the main platform to do it.

Here are some of our best launches so far:

10x Growth In 2018? Part 2 10x Growth In 2018? Part 2 10x Growth In 2018? Part 2
 Pro Tip:
If you’re interested, we created a full hands-on guide on how we got 900+ new users and 20,000 uniques in 2 days in Viral Loops.

Each opportunity for launching a new feature or product gives you the ability to establish your company’s brand on your users, plus acquire new ones on the road.

Before you go

That’s the end of 10x Growth series.

If you made it this far without reading part 1, you can find it right below:

10x Growth in 2018? Part 1

We’re dying to know your thoughts about the guide, so feel free to add them to the comment section below.

Until the next time,
Keep being awesome 😎

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

March 27, 2018 - No Comments!

10x Growth in 2018? Part 1

You clicked! Did you just become a clickbait victim?

Relax; you didn’t.

Although you stumble upon articles with a similar title more often than Dennis Rodman rebounded throughout his career, I swear that this piece is based on facts.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t claim that I offer a magic recipe. 🎩

But, in this- 2 part series, I’ll try to cover as much as possible, about the things that helped us achieve that amount of growth in 1 year.

In this (and the next) article, you’ll find things you can apply to both your mindset and marketing strategy.

Note: If you feel too lazy to read, we've also wrapped the whole article into a video 👇👇👇

And don't forget to subscribe to our channel 😎

Branding

Why do you prefer Adidas over Nike, and vice versa?

Branding. 💪

Why people form lines in Supreme stores in order to grab whatever they can, regardless if it fits them or not?

Branding.

As The Balanced explains, The objectives that a good brand will achieve include:

  • Clearly, delivers the message.
  • Confirms your credibility.
  • Emotionally connects your target prospects with your product and or service.
  • Motivates the buyer to buy.
  • Creates user loyalty.

Talking is good, but what happens when it comes to acting? Building a brand identity is a long game.

It will probably take years.

The truth is that you have to start from the basics:

👉 Fix your copywriting.

The line between a comedian and a fascist is often drawn by the way they put words into play. You should lock in a certain way you speak about things.

Imagine a rapper from the hood speaking like a 5-star hotel receptionist; everybody would instantly assume that the rapper is lame (even people that never lived in the hood).

👉 Get your design together.

Whether we like it or not, our products serve a certain aesthetic. Your design should communicate that.

Images are powerful and first impressions are everlasting. It doesn’t have to be beautiful; it doesn’t have to look expensive.

It has to be what it has to be.

The importance of design in branding and marketing, in general, is huge:

  • Design communicates the brand.
  • Good design raises visibility.
  • Design drives conversions.
  • Design reinforces messaging.

So, (if you don’t have one) hire a designer already.

Experimentation

Chances are that you want to grow your business (duh!), and in order to do so you need 2 things:

  1. Iron will,
  2. and a growth plan.

I’m not going to teach you how to build your growth plan here (I’ve already created a course about that), but I will show you how iron will can get you closer to your goals.

Planning experiments and testing in high tempo is not an easy job.

BUT,

The community of GrowthHackers.com is an excellent example of how high tempo testing can skyrocket your results.

As it’s a community, GrowthHackers’ main key metric in the number of monthly active users.

As you can see in the following graph, they managed to nearly double their monthly active users in 11 weeks from the moment the starting testing in high tempo.

Sean Ellis points, it’s important to run as many experiments as possible in a given timeframe, as you will get more insights, in a quicker manner, about what drives growth for your product.

In order to discover the right experiment you first have to explore, which translates into running more and more experiments.

Consistency

How many times did you start something only to stop after a few weeks (or days)?

Most of the platforms you leverage in order to spread awareness for your business, use some sort of algorithm to serve content to their users.

Engagement is always a strong aspect of these algorithms, but how do you attain engagement when no one knows you?

The answer is repetition. People must see you again and again in order to connect the dots.

Being new in a niche desperates a lot of folks. It’s the number one reason for giving up.

The bright side is that you have the luxury of making mistakes.

Be consistent in language, design and in the rhythm you put your work out there. Pick a tempo and stick to it.

If the Kardashians made it with no talent at all, considering your skills and work ethic, you can do it too.

Networking

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re doing, or what brought you here. What matters is who you know.

Funny story, a few months ago I started my fresh Instagram account and I decided my whole focus would be on video.

I try to work as much as possible for it, but growing an account organically is not so easy nowadays.

Then one day while attaining a photoshoot, I was approached by a lady who asked me:

“Do you want to become an influencer?” (Whatever “influencer” means in 2018).

I explained what my plan is and showed her my Instagram account. She took a picture of it, told me that we will be in touch, and left the set.

Obviously, her question triggered my curiosity, so I asked what her deal is. It seems that this lady is the middleman between brands and celebrities in my area.

It’s surprising how one acquaintance is capable of transforming a career.

In Viral Loops, we utilize networking as much as possible. Every connection, brings a new one, and every new one might (and had) land you an opportunity to be a speaker at a niche event- where you’ll make even more connections.

More specific Savvas (our CEO), had the opportunity to speak at some groundbreaking conferences:

  • Growth Summit
  • Growth Marketing Conference (US)
  • Growth Marketing Conference (SK)
  • Growth Revolution (A)

All due to networking.

Content Marketing

I don’t know why I still have to point out the importance of incorporating content into your marketing strategy.

But I will do it. Again.

Instead of bringing statistics (which bore me to death), I will present a recent story (I love a good story) that happened to watch as it unfolded in real time.

I’m into video and photography, and since I never had a teacher, Youtube was (and still is) the main source of knowledge on these subjects.

During another “educational” session on the beloved platform, I stumbled upon Peter McKinnon. He gained my subscription almost instantly.

3 Reasons:

  1. Great video quality.
  2. Excellent presentation.
  3. Outstanding content.

But how my story connects with growing a company?

Peter was a wedding photographer until he started his Youtube Channel. He left his job to focus on creating content for his channel.

When I discovered him, he was at 20K subscribers (or maybe a bit more than that). A few months later he got his 1st MILLION subscribers.

Overall, it took 9 months.

Obviously, a lot of luck came into play, but it was just the cherry on top. There was also top performance, presentation, and talent.
Whatever it was his content draw the attention of influential figures like Casey Neistat & Gary Vaynerchuk, and I don’t think that Peter is going to shoot weddings again anytime soon.

Referral Marketing

Why referral marketing?

I would say because it’s a marketing channel based entirely on your product and it doesn’t rely specifically on any other channel.

Then, I would provide extra support to my argument by saying that word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions and that word of mouth is 10x more effective than traditional advertising, as people are really sick and tired of being pushed to buy things.

In past few mounts I’ve written more than enough articles about referral marketing, so whether you want to grow your e-Commerce store or create an Ambassador program for your business using referral marketing, I’ve got your back.

Btw, Viral Loops has its own Ambassador program and we offer the best swag that your beautiful eyes have ever seen.

Before you go.

That’s the end of the 1st part.

I know that I didn’t include as much technical stuff as you may want, but we have to learn how to walk before we are able to run.

I promise that you’ll find what you need in the next article.

Until the next time,

Keep being awesome 😎

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

March 2, 2018 - No Comments!

How Referral Marketing will increase your e-Commerce sales

When buying a new car, what’s the first thing you do? 🚗

If you’re like the vast majority of consumers, you talk to friends and family. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Even if those close to you aren’t car experts, you’ll likely ask them which brands to buy and avoid.

Why?

Because you trust their opinions.

How do we know?

A recent study found that 82% of surveyed individuals said they consult friends and family before making a purchase.

82%!

That means more people seek out a referral than drink water daily. 🚰

As an e-Commerce retailer, this research should stop you in your tracks 🛑 and prompt you to evaluate your referral marketing strategy.

After all, missed referrals mean missed $$$. 💸💸💸

Don’t have a referral marketing strategy?

Grab a cup of coffee (or better yet, a glass of H2O). You’re in for a great read packed with tips to get your customers talking and, more importantly, referring new customers.

Reduce Bounce, Increase Cha-Ching

An effective e-commerce referral marketing strategy gets people to your site and turns those browsers into buyers.

When your customers’ nearest and dearest receive an email singing your company’s praises (and then those loved ones click through your site), web traffic increases.

And that referred traffic…

Research suggests that referred individuals are substantially more likely to make a purchase than those who happen upon your site. In fact, consumers are four times more likely to 💰 buy something 💰 when a friend recommends it.

If you’re not already using e-commerce referral marketing, ask yourself, “Why am I not doing something I know would increase the likelihood of customer purchases by a whopping four times?”

Dangle that Carrot

With numerous independent studies supporting the positive impact referral communications have on buying behavior, can we agree on the importance of encouraging your customers to refer your products and/or services?

Good. Then let’s discuss the “how” of your referral marketing plan.

One word—incentivise.

Some might argue that you simply create a wonderful product and customer experience and the word will get out naturally.

Frankly...that only gets you part of the way.

Even when they’ve had positive online experiences, only 58% of consumers are likely to talk about them online.

That’s where referral marketing comes in—a means to incentivize customers to blab about their amazing interactions with your business.

Just like a horse will do almost anything to get the carrot, customers are motivated by discounts, bonus gifts, VIP access or any number of perks that can come from simply delivering a complimentary tweet or referral email.

Powerful and well-planned referral marketing provides the carrot 🥕, or incentive, for happy-as-a-clam customers to shout their satisfaction from the mountain tops (or, at least, tweet it—’cause we all know mountain climbing is tough).

The key🗝️ is to implement an on-brand (dare I say, brilliant) referral marketing campaign. You can’t simply say, “Hey, tell your former college roommate about us, and we’ll give you $1 off your next purchase.”

Why not?

Consumers will make judgments about the quality of your referral marketing programme based heavily on what you’re offering as an incentive. And if the incentive is too meager, they’ll likely forego participating altogether.

Find Proof in the Payout

Along with Gilt, Airbnb, and Robinhood, the roster of businesses using referral marketing is overflowing with success stories.

Thanks to the inherent flexibility of referral marketing as a means of advertising, each company was able to prepare and implement a programme tailored to their products, their needs, and their customer base. Here are a few examples:

Paypal

Though now a household name, Elon Musk’s Paypal was once unknown. One secret to their growth? A strong referral marketing program that grew customer base from zero to 100,000 in just one month. 📅

And what more appropriate way for a company named PAYpal to incentivize than with cold, hard cash?

Paypal’s programme of choice was simple. Sign up for Paypal, and you get $20. 💵  Refer a friend who signs up; get another $20. 💵  

All told, the programme cost the company $60 million.

The company today, however, is valued by experts at $49.6 billion dollars.🤑 🤑

I guess Paypal’s risk has paid off.

Erin Condren

The drug of choice for consumers who’ve craved organization, ErinCondren.com, grew from obscurity to a $40 million valuation in 10 years.

Capitalising off the close-knit community of stationery lovers ✉️ and organic word-of-mouth has always been part of the Erin Condren growth model.

So adding a referral marketing program designed to amplify their social growth was a perfect and profitable fit.

ErinCondren.com customers take advantage of an ongoing referral program offering rewards to both the referrer and the referred. When a customer refers a friend, the friend receives a $10 discount offer.

If the friend makes a purchase, the referrer also receives a $10 voucher. Because users can refer as many friends as they want, devotees to the customized planners offered on the site can email their way to discounted and free products.

Amazon Prime

Everyone loves free, two-day shipping. 📦

But not everyone loved the $79 price tag when the service launched in 2005.

Despite the fact that Amazon.com boasted approximately 200 million users in 2012 — 7 years after the launch of Prime — the company had secured only 25 million paid Prime users.

To get customers over the sticker shock of this annual membership cost and induce more people to give Prime a go, Amazon turned to referral marketing.

Following the fall 2014 launch of Prime’s referral program in which referrers earn credits to spend on Amazon.com, the Prime membership count lept.

It continued to climb, more than tripling to 90 million subscribers by September of 2017.

Reap Returns on Investments in Referral Marketing

Money invested in referral marketing provides a more significant return than investing the same amount of money in traditional advertising, suggests research.

According to a Boston Consulting Group study, consumers trusted word of mouth anywhere from two to 10 times as much as traditional advertising. 🤝

Make your customers' top-notch experiences work for you. Define your company's referral carrot, then dangle it proudly for your consumers to covet.

Next, you can try our e-Commerce template (inspired by Gilt), and if you're a Shopify user you can run a Milestone Referral campaign, similar to the one we run for our ambassador program.

Finally, sit back and watch as the referrals (and dollars) roll in.

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

February 16, 2018 - No Comments!

5 Must watch metrics for your Referral Campaign

I’m not going to boast about how much you need to run a referral campaign for your business.

I know that you know about that. You don’t need me😎

I’m writing these lines because I want to help you make sure that your Viral Loops referral campaign, is going to perform the way it deserves.

We keep a close eye on all of our users’ campaigns, and we’ve identified what are the things that make or break a campaign, and in what metrics they translate into.

I have a spoiler for you; whatever you do (even outside your referral campaign), keep your copywriting in top priority👀

People don’t buy products; they buy experiences. Write your copy in a way that communicates that.

Now, to our main subject:

Here are the 5 Must watch metrics for your Referral Campaign.

The Viral Coefficient (K-Factor)

The k-factor is the total number of registrations per unique inviting user.

If 1 in 5 of your users will successfully recruit a new user in their first month, your viral factor is 1/5 = 0.2, and our initial 5,000 users will recruit another 5,000 * 0.2 = 1,000 users in month 1.

I will get you out of the trouble to look for industry benchmarks on that by saying that for a consumer internet product,

A sustainable viral factor of 0.15 to 0.25 is good, 0.4 is great,  and around 0.7 is outstanding.  

🤩

Participant Conversion Rate

How many of the unique visits to your campaign’s page, turn into participants?

This metric is a critical indicator of whether your campaign is doing good, great or completely bad.

If your participant conversion rate is bad, here are some reasons why:

  • You don’t make it clear and easy for users to participate.
  • Your copy doesn’t showcase the benefits for the end users.
  • The rewards you offer are not a good fit.
  • The whole campaign doesn’t align with your brand.

Participant Share Rate

Your Participant share rate is the average number of unique shares per campaign participant. The bigger this rate is, the bigger is your campaign’s organic reach, which translates into lower CPA for you.

If your participant share rate is low, there are a few tweaks that might save the day:

  • Make sharing as easy as possible. You should add the ability for your participants to share on as many touch points as possible.
  • Offer rewards of very high value for the super campaign advocates (you can use our Milestone template for that).
  • In addition, you can point out to your participant how close they are to attaining a certain milestone.

Invitation Click Through Rate

Invitation Click Through Rate is the percentage of people who click your participant’s invitation to your campaign.

This number tends to be high, due to the fact that most people will see an invitation from a person that they might have a personal relationship with. 🤝

There are some tricks that ensure that you’ll attain a higher invitation CTR:

  • You should allow users to customize their invitation message.
  • Personalize your invitation emails by adding your original participant’s info in it.

Invitation Conversion Rate

When your participant’s friend has clicked through on the invitation they received, they land on your referral campaign’s page.

The invitation Conversion Rate is the percentage of the people coming from invitations, that actually become participants of your campaign.

In this stage consistency between the invitation and what the new user sees on your campaign’s page, is crucial. That’s the reason you should prompt your participants to invite their friends by communicating the true value of your campaign.

TL;DR

In order to recap, there are 5 must-watch metrics you should keep your eyes on while running your referral campaign:

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

You should always keep in mind that copywriting is your biggest ally when you try to improve the aforementioned metrics of your referral campaign. From there, there are micro-optimizations that can be easily made inside Viral Loops, when you set up your campaign.

In case you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer everything so shoot it in the comment section

Ask us ANYTHING (except about our personal affairs, of course)!

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

 

January 4, 2018 - No Comments!

How Gilt Bounced Back from Dropping Sales and Positioned for $250M Acquisition

Everyone is buzzing about you...

Sales are rolling in…

Until…

BAM! 💥

Your company hits a wall. The PR shine you once had has worn off. Sales are slowing drastically. And everything you try barely moves the needle.

What do you do? Throw in the towel?

Ecommerce retailer Gilt faced this very problem. And (spoiler alert!) managed to stop the slide and keep the company alive, resulting in a $250 million acquisition in 2015.

We’ll talk about how they did just that (and what your company can do if facing a similar situation).

But first...I want you to understand the Gilt story. We need context.

In 2007, Gilt launched with a bang. Specialising in flash-sales, 💥 💰 🛍️, this cutting-edge online retailer’s first offer was 50%-off Christian Louboutin shoes 👠 👠. The offer excited masses of fashionistas, nearly crashing the popular new site.

And it looked like Gilt’s initial success was no fluke. The company saw continued success, with sales growing from $25 million in 2008 to an impressive $425 million in 2010. 💵 🤑 💵

Like many businesses, though, Gilt was not able to maintain the same trajectory of growth they achieved when they first launched.

Fortunately, they found a solution.

A referral programme.

But not any old referral programme. They built a brand new model, merging refer-a-friend and loyalty incentives under one umbrella.☂️

The Gilt Insider is a dual-purposed loyalty programme that would both grow word of mouth sales and increase basket value (or the cost of items in a typical customer purchase).

If those milestones sound like something your business could use, here’s a step-by-step guide to making a Gilt-style programme work for you.

Start the Problem

Before they could solve the dipping-sales issues, Gilt-ers needed to understand what was actually happening.

There were two primary culprits:

  1. Overextension of the brand
  2. Poor customer retention

Let’s talk about both.

Starting in 2010, Gilt ventured into full-price items in retail, travel and foods, creating new sub-brands for each. They soon discovered that spreading their wings wasn’t such a great idea.

When overall sales started to drop off, Gilt leaders knew something had to change.

First order of business?

Drop the extra dragging them down.

So long, full-price brands.

But waving goodbye to high-dollar extras alone wasn’t enough. Gilt still needed to capture and retain customers.👱🙋👨

Turns out, keeping customers is particularly difficult for retailers using the flash-sale model.

Customers do love 😍 a discount. I mean, really love a discount. In fact, coupons and vouchers, for example, can even cause the increase of oxytocin levels in the brain.

But here’s the rub.

Retention Science reports that while sites may be able to induce a sale with deep discounts, they will struggle more to retain customers, finding that 93.8% of customers who make a flash-sale purchase fail to make another purchase 😟  from the same site within a six month period. 📅

93.8%? That’s pretty much everybody. And no business can survive on the 6.2%.

Enter the loyalty programme.

Your key takeaway: Before starting your referral program, clearly define your problem; know what you’re trying to solve. Even though a referral programme helped Gilt, gaining new customers wouldn’t have gotten them over the sales slump.

If they didn’t also handle how their brand was brought over-extended, they would likely have not been able to stay afloat.

Critically consider the issue (or issues) that may be standing in the way of your success before you proceed with planning your program. A programme is only as successful as its foundation.

Don’t Forget Customer Loyalty

Participants in this dual-purpose programme, called the “Gilt Insider” programme, can earn points by spending money on Gilt or referring fashion-loving friends. 👗

They can also decide how they use their points, making rewards less one-size-fits-all and more tailored—just like the fashion brands they are offering for sale on the site.

gilt referral marketing viral loops

With an ongoing rewards-for-referrals model, Gilt can constantly capture referrals, even from the customers who have recently become aware of the brand. More importantly, Gilt retains their formerly one-and-done customers as they keep coming back to spend their points exclusively at Gilt.

To help customers see how they could use their points, Gilt built a beautiful explainer page.

gilt referral marketing viral loops

This page shows customers how they can spend their points and earn more. Want to save $20? Start referring your friends, and you’ll get there.

Your key takeaway: Getting new referrals is important, but keeping your existing customers is as wise as it is cost effective. With average customer acquisition costs ranging from $7 to $315, depending on the industry, working to maintain your existing bank of customers is costly. By giving your most dedicated customers a programme that rewards...and rewards...and rewards…you can get your customers to stick around (and buy more). 👊

Encourage Customers to Act Now and Again

Gilt’s success depends not only on recruiting new customers but also on doing something that flash-sale retailers are notoriously bad at—getting customers to come back often.

To dissuade customers from going months and months between purchases, Gilt set a relatively short expiration date on their points—six months.

To maintain their points balances, Gilt Insiders must make a purchase from Gilt at least once every six months. 🗓️

If a customer doesn’t make a purchase, his or her entire points balance will expire. The prospect of losing not just some, but all, points is enough to encourage many participants to make a purchase.

And, of course, Gilt doesn’t expire these points without warning. They send several, spaced reminder emails to give customers a heads up and encourage them to make that points-saving purchase.

Though some would consider selecting a relatively short six-month window risky, with clear reminders, Gilt continues to find success with this model.  

Your key takeaway: While most loyalty programme experts agree that having a point expiration is an important motivator to making a purchase, the debate remains regarding the ideal term. Your programme’s mission is to give customers and potential customers a reason to act now.

Whether you use expiring points or limited time referral offers, you can benefit from forcing customers to stop pondering the purchase and just buy already. 

Consider Making it Exclusive

As Gilt Insider customers gather points, they also climb levels within this program.

Developing a tiered program, with enticing benefits on each level, adds an element of exclusivity.

Depending on the number of points they earn, Gilt Insider programme participants can climb to Select 🥉, Premiere 🥈 or Noir 🥇 tiers. Each tier offers its own exclusive benefits, with the most sought-after reserved for Noir members.  

gilt referral marketing viral loops

Noir members enjoy waitlist preference and get a 1-hour preview of new items added to the site—a substantial lead on other competitive flash sale shoppers chomping at the bit.

Because tier status is re-evaluated annually, customers have yet another reason to keep on referring and spending, fuelling the continued success of the programme and, by connection, the continued success of Gilt.

Your key takeaway: By providing exclusive access, Gilt taps into customers fear of missing out (FOMOand creates a sense of urgency. Offering something to an elite group of buyers makes other customers aspire to be one of these high rollers. And, if they have enough aspiration, they may just make the purchases necessary to get there.

So, do you want to create a referral program similar to Gilt? We've got you covered.

This template is inspired by Gilt and it's the best way to let your store visitors refer their friends.

It's that simple!

In case you’re interested to launch a referral program like Gilt, we have your back! Save yourself some time.

Cheers 😉

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

December 15, 2017 - No Comments!

Why word of mouth, not paid ads, is the future of marketing

The first question that emerges when discussing any possible solution to a problem is ‘why?’

Why virality and word of mouth?

I would say because it’s a marketing channel based entirely on your product and it doesn’t rely specifically on any other channel.

Then I would provide extra support to my argument by saying that word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions and also it’s 10x more effective than traditional advertising, as people are really sick and tired of being pushed to buy things.

Paid advertising is almost dead.

Relying on ‘rented’ space to acquire loyal customers, is a risky practice.

Plus, by increasing virality,  you decrease your CPA as more people get to use your product by keeping your marketing budget at the same level.

I bet that you hear a lot about the power of word of mouth. But what is it really?

Word of what?

Word of mouth is a phenomenon where people love something so much, they just cannot stop boasting about it, until everyone gets to try it. And if anybody has something bad to say about it, then these passionate fans are able to go full berserk in order to protect it.

Why word of mouth, not paid ads, is the future of marketing

It sounds stupid, but it happens.

Let’s see 4 simple things- at least in theory, you can do to generate word of mouth for your product:

  1. Have a great product, meaning that your product should solve a problem even for a small niche and actually work the way it’s supposed to.
  2. Keep your customer support in high priority. Humans love being treated well!
  3. Build communities! The big bang of the internet happened not because of products but because it offered the ability to people to finally belong somewhere. Building a community is vital, and if you ask me, it’s better to start building one for your niche even before having a product to sell.
  4. Love your customers. Help them in any way that you are able to! If you have a saas product, you can write a case study about them, or just support them by buying something they sell.

Actually, about customer support, I have a funny story.

During a marathon troubleshooting session, a  support engineer of Rackspace heard the customer was hungry, so she ordered them a pizza! How can the customer resist to not talk about this?

Another funny case is Shazam. Its users didn’t even have to talk about it!

When scanning for a song using the app, they would hold their phone near to a speaker. That, of course, raised the obvious question around them:

‘Dude what are you doing?’

The power to create curiosity is more powerful than words as curiosity is integrated into our DNA.

Virality Vs. Word of mouth

So, what’s the difference between virality and word of mouth?

Virality is a phenomenon where people spread the word about an offering, in the context of using it, rather than loving it, which is what happens with word of mouth.

In other words, virality has always to do with some sort of reward. Love, on the other hand, is unconditional.

Why word of mouth, not paid ads, is the future of marketing

I have 2 examples for you:

Kickstarter leverages user campaign for virality, as when a campaign creator spreads the word about his project, he helps Kickstarter reach higher user adoption.

The same mindset applies to product hunt. When a hunter submits a  product, both the hunter and maker spread the word about it,  bringing in more people in the platform.

Now, we know that both virality and network effects lead to growth but they are not the same by any means.

Eventbrite, for example, uses virality but not network effect, as in order for the organizer to get more registrants for their event, they have to spread the word in other platforms and external networks.

On the other hand, a platform like LinkedIn is designed to use network effects as you have to be a LinkedIn member in order to connect with other people through it.

As you can understand, virality is a business design problem and not just a marketing strategy. You have to make it part of your business model in order for it to work.

Now, there are 2 types of virality which I will explain and I’ll also give you some examples to get inspired by how you can get them to work for you.

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

You can see that type of virality on an app like Splitwise where you need friends on the product to input money owing and money lent. Or, with Whatsapp where you should have your friends and family in to communicate.

Snapchat also works the same way because need friends in Snapchat to see snaps and be seen.

Then, we have Distribution Product Virality (DPV), product virality where existing users spread awareness of a product to their network.

Instagram’s cross-posting was a game changer for them; You can share your photos on Facebook and Twitter and even non-users will get in.

The same thing happened in Facebook’s early days.

If a tagged friend wasn’t on Facebook, she would receive an email prompting her to create an account.

Why word of mouth, not paid ads, is the future of marketing

How to measure Virality

The way that someone can measure virality is through the calculation of viral coefficient or the k-factor.

The k-factor is the total number of registrations per unique inviting user.

So, if 1 in 5 of your users will successfully recruit a new user in their first month, your viral factor is 1/5 = 0.2, and our initial 5,000 users will recruit another 5,000 * 0.2 = 1,000 users in month #1.

I will get you out of the trouble to look for industry benchmarks on that by saying that for a consumer internet product, a sustainable viral factor of 0.15 to 0.25 is good, 0.4 is great,  and around 0.7 is outstanding.

But here’s the problem:

When our viral factor is less than 1, we acquire users at a decreasing rate until we grow no more.

That isn't an outcome that anybody wants, so is there something we’re missing?

Yes! We are missing all of the other channels with which you can acquire users like the Press, direct traffic, inbound marketing, paid advertising, SEM, SEO etc.

You see it’s truly rare to attain a viral factor of more than 1.

As I told you, you can measure virality by using the k-factor, but this is just an indicator of how your referral marketing works.

In order to see how virality affects your overall growth, you have to take into consideration your amplification factor.

Why word of mouth, not paid ads, is the future of marketing

The number of users acquired through non-viral channels by our amplification factor will reveal the real growth of your user base.

You can calculate the amplification factor by dividing 1 by the result of subtracting of your viral factor from 1.

In case I messed you up, you can see the equation in the image above.

Apart from your main marketing funnel, you can have multiple sub funnel, and your viral loop is no exception.

You should treat your viral loop as a funnel with several stages that can be optimized, so as to maximize your viral factor.

Here’s a basic anatomy of a viral funnel:

  1. The top of the funnel is the step where the user becomes aware that she can invite someone.
  2. Then the second step is where the users submit the invite form.
  3. The third step includes them sending the actual invitation.
  4. Then the fourth step is where the invitee gets the invitation
  5. The fifth and last step is when the invitee accepts the invitation and registers.

Why word of mouth, not paid ads, is the future of marketing

 

TL;DR

  • Paid advertising is rented space.
  • Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
  • Virality and Word of mouth are not the same thing.
  • In order to see how virality affects your overall growth, you have to take into consideration your amplification factor.

I think this article gave you enough arguments, as for why Virality & Word of mouth wins over paid advertising. I'm curious to hear your arguments about the subject, so hit me us up in the comment section

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