All Posts in Growth

February 13, 2019 - No Comments!

A referral booster worth 30% growth

In April 2018, TransferGo, an innovative and well-known digital remittance solution for migrant workers was already hosting a referral program as one of their main acquisition channels, for almost 6 years already.

Regardless of the small changes to their referral through the years, for the last year, the campaign’s k-factor was 24% on average without seeming to improve.

This is how TranferGo’s campaign looked like:

The K-factor is a viral marketing formula calculated by dividing the average number of conversions from invitations received by the average number of invitations sent.

It was then when they contacted Viral Loops so as to find a new way to make their referral program more powerful.

Given that they wanted an in-house solution, Viral Loops would have the role of coaching them and making any changes around the campaign, apart from the engineering.

Booster Referral Campaign.

After almost a month of detailed research, alterations on which metrics indeed matter for the current campaign, and multiple calls to create the right funnel- we also had to migrate to MixPanel and to make some impactful changes on the copywriting, we’ve come up with a pretty fresh solution.

We decided to run a new Referral Booster Campaign. The logic behind a booster campaign (aka flash campaign) is to do something unexpected, yet keep it simple and fun. For this reason, the campaign should have:

  • A specific time frame 
  • Special rewards that were different and/or better than the ones offered on the Refer a Friend program—this way we introduce the element of “surprise.”

The collaboration.

Executing the plan required both Viral Loops and TransferGo to get involved.

After thoroughly planning a new referral campaign, we had regular calls with the other team’s CEO, Product Owner, Referral Program Manager, Designer and engineers to ensure that both teams were aligned.

On our end, Savvas (CEO), Helena (Chief Customer Success Manager), Anastasia (Growth Marketing Specialist) and the Dimitris (Product owner), initially created the new referral campaign structure and optimized the existing based on feedback.

In addition, they suggested the new rewards that should be given, and created the new funnel, analytics, and KPIs for the campaign, along with the overall communication plan.

In Viral Loops we value design and copywriting a lot, so reviewing all the copies of the campaign’s page, emails, and design, we ensured that the UX was seamless.

One of the reasons that TransferGo contacted us in the first place, is our expertise in referral marketing/engineering. This gave them the opportunity to incorporate our suggestions into their in-house system, playing a major role in the success of their new campaign.

Tracking the performance was crucial, as it allowed to make iterations where needed and expand our perception about the ‘shape’ that the main Refer a Friend campaign should have. In other words, the insight that we gained from the booster campaign improved/empowered the existing program.

Campaign structure.

The booster campaign was a combination of an Ambassador/Milestone campaign with a Leaderboard giveaway and an Altruistic messaging.

Even though it might seem a very complicated concept, the company had well-trained traffic on what referral campaigns are, and with the right copies and design, this campaign was warmly welcomed by their audience.

Metrics & Results

Virality metrics were of great importance to the team whilst running a referral marketing campaign.

The most important metric in viral marketing is the ‘K-factor.’ K-factor (or Viral Coefficient)- as mentioned in the first section of this article, is measured by dividing the average number of conversions from invitations received by the average number of invitations sent.

The equation is simple: K = c / i 

By calculating the K-factor, TransferoGo’s team got a sense of the overall progress of their campaign, which helped them adjust campaign settings from time to time and ultimately achieve better results.

Alongside K-Factor, a few other important viral metrics include:

  • Participant Conversion
  • Participant Share
  • Invitation Conversion

K-Factor of their first main Refer a Friend campaign was 0.24 on average, which puts it into the good league.’ That means that 1 out 4 people who received a referral link, actually accepted the invite and became members.

With the new campaign, we turned this into 0.31 which is 29% growth.

Participant conversion was pretty good with 28,692 users, but a total of 88,920 campaign page visits. That puts us at a participant conversion of 32%.

Participant share was also solid with 33.5% of people who shared the referral link with their friends, out of the total of 31,295 registrants. 

And finally, an impressive result from Invitation Conversion viral metric, as 64.05% of people who received a referral link decided to use it and become members of the booster campaign.

Before you go.

TransferGo may have had their referral program build in-house, but you don't have to do the same; it will cost a lot in time and money.

Instead, you can use any of our available templates and build your referral campaign in minutes.

If I were you, I would go either with the Milestone Referral Template or the Messenger Bot Giveaway Template. You can thank me later!

February 5, 2019 - No Comments!

Arri Bagah: Personalized experiences via Messenger Bots is the future of eCommerce brands

Lately we’ve become obsessed with Messenger Bots.

Actually, our obsession got us so far that we decided to design and create Viral Loops for Messenger, so you can run a giveaway entirely on Facebook Messenger.

As a result, we went “hunting” in order to learn as much as possible for the Messenger Marketing industry from its experts. In other words, we started interviewing people.

We’ve already given you our interview with Hunter McKinley, were we explored design, milestone campaigns, and Messenger bots.

This time, we spoke with the Botman himself; Arri Bagah.

Arri consulted giants like Google, HubSpot, and Facebook to build harder/better/faster/stronger chatbot solutions.

He is the Founder & CEO at ROAS Agency where he helps brands on Shopify leverage data-driven personalized marketing to 4X their conversion rates and recover 10x more abandoned carts.

ROAS Agency works with The Beard Club, Poo~Pourri, Transparent Labs, and many other notable brands.

He recently founded The Chatbot Channel Facebook group for e-commerce marketers that want to learn or share, things about chatbot, voice and AR. 

Here’s Arri’s take on things. Enjoy

Who Arri Bagah is at the moment & what he does.

I started like two and a half years ago.

I had a Facebook Ad Agency with one of my friends and we're running Facebook ads for small businesses. We tried to get them more leads and more clients, and after doing that for about six months we realized that small businesses don't have much money.

It was really hard to be able to work on a tight budget.

That’s why we decided to give a try to real estate for a bit, but it was kind of like the same issue with like small businesses.

That’s the reason we moved to eCommerce. Once we got into it, it was kind of hard because everything was new to us e.g. running Facebook ads.

I spent quite some money on ads with little to no ROI. I created my own e-commerce brand at that time just to test things out. It was a print on demand shop on Shopify, and I was using Facebook pages to drive traffic to it.

I wanted to buy a Facebook page, so I reached out to one and said:

“Hey. I would like to buy your page so I can use it to drive traffic”

Around that time, there was a killing of a gorilla inside a zoo; Harambe, and it was going really viral. I asked one of the relevant pages and they declined to sell it, but two weeks later we agreed.

The page had 40K likes- which was worth at least $10K at the time, and I got it for 300 bucks.

It was kind of like sketchy to because the guy was from he was in India. I didn't have PayPal or anything, and he required a transfer via Western Union before giving me access.

I just took the risk and made the transfer, and he really gave me the page. So, I started driving traffic to my e-commerce store, and after like a week or so the store was making around like 2-3 hundred dollars per day for a couple weeks.

It was pretty good. Two to three hundred dollars per day in profit, for like two to three weeks and then it happened.

At that time I didn't know about Facebook Business Manager.

I was trying to sell the Facebook page and somebody reached out to me to buy it.  They asked for admin access, which I thought it was a stupid move to make.

They insisted a lot and said they're going to buy the page for $8,000.

“I could use $8K right now”, I thought.

At that time (or even like so today), if you made somebody else admin of your page, they couldn’t remove you within the first six days.  It's like a robot phase. 

6 days were more than enough time to be able to like realize if they were going to pay me or not, and I could remove them at any time if they didn’t.

I gave access to the guy, but at that time I didn't realize that there was something called the Facebook Business Manager which, in case you're an admin of the page, you can claim its ownership.

Which he did. He just kicked me off, resulting in me losing all the traffic.

I had to figure out a way to just start driving traffic again, and that's when I started learning more about Facebook ads, and then I had my first success story.

It was crazy how it happened.

I started to get into Facebook ads because my website was dying, and I had to figure out a way to drive traffic. So I spent all the money that I made on Facebook ads, ended up working with one of my friends who is an influencer in the e-commerce now- he was like an influencer on the Instagram platform.

I met him on the panel that I was speaking at about Facebook marketing.

Not so many people knew much about Facebook marketing at that point, so if you knew just a little bit, it was enough to like teach other people.

So I met him there and he had an eCommerce brand somewhere.

We agreed to try something for his brand,  and we took it from $0 like a $100K per month.

It was our first success story, and it happened by optimizing the website and by doing some email marketing.

But even after this initial success, it was kind of like hard for me to find clients.

So I decided to get a job.

But before I got a job, I found out about Bots- during the summer of 2017.

I didn't like them enough to dive deep to it, but thought it was a cool thing- mostly because I checked Domino’s bot. I started getting more serious about them around September of 2017.

I built the first bot and went to a conference here in LA and started showing it to people. They interacted with my bot and thought it was the coolest thing ever.

They actually loved using it and started asking if I can build one for them as well. The moment I came back from the conference I immediately built a bot for my agency at the time.

We used it for lead generation and it worked really well. 

We're getting super high engagement rates: 

90-95% open rate and click-through rates of 20-50%.

That’s when I realized that this could be a really powerful marketing channel. 

Using a Messenger bot for lead generation can give you 90-95% Open Rate & 20-25% Click Through Rate.

The agency was going still very slow, so I decided to look more actively for a job. That's when I met Josh who was speaking at one of the events In Milwaukee.

I was in Chicago at that time and Milwaukee was like an hour and a half away. 

So I was like: 

“Ok, like I'm just gonna go there, meet them, and see if he has things that we could possibly work together on.“

I got to hang out with him all day, and he was telling me about how he wanted to hire somebody to run more ads. 

So around November, I decided to work for Josh and we did something like a test period. After that, I moved from Chicago to LA and start working at BAMF.

It wasn't a position to build bots- I didn't even know that I had the skills to be able to go to bots yet because I didn't tell them about it. 

 So, this is how it happened:

 I was building Manychat flows, which were kind of complex, and I posted it in my Facebook story. Nobody was really using the Facebook stories at that point

I did.

So when I built a really cool Manychat flow, I liked to take a picture and post it in there. I thought it was cool. 

And then that's how Josh noticed. He watched my stories, and one of their clients actually needed a bot built and then Josh was like: oh, I think I saw like a flow on Arri’s story, he may be able to build it for us

And then I build the first couple bots for their clients, and the clients just really liked it. Everything worked well, and then I ended up like just doing bots for the clients. 

And at one point I was managing 13 bots alone. All for e-commerce.

I just did like e-commerce bots for quite some time. And that's just how I gained a lot of experience and got a lot deeper into how you can leverage the messenger platform for e-commerce businesses. 

And while I was doing all that, I was like speaking at events about messenger marketing because it's fairly new, and not a lot of people knew about it. Many are still trying to figure it out what messenger marketing is, especially in the e-commerce space. 

So I was talking to conferences about messenger marketing, and my plan was to eventually just transition to my own agency. I wanted to find the thing that I could focus on.

I didn't know it was going to be bots yet, but working at BAMF enabled me to narrow down what's most valuable to e-commerce business; which helped me realize what I wanted to do next. 

I decided to transition, after working there for half a year, to my own agency and then we started out with working with e-commerce brands and us kind of got bigger clients a lot faster, just because of my personal brand that I built was like speaking and things like that. 

So it wasn't too hard.

Why they call Arri “The Botman”.

I’ve been building bots for all these clients, and those were all organic. 

At the time the agency was just me, and then I had to find partners to help me do a lot of the work. We did some great work for those clients, and I continued building my personal brand. 

I got to speak at the biggest messenger marketing conference in the world, here in the US, called Conversations Conference. It was over 1500 people and got to connect with the people at  Manychat, and a bunch of other smart markers. 

That helped me get more credibility and also like get bigger clients, and then we had a chance to like work with like Poo Pourri,  The Beard Club, Guess

Being omnipresent to conferences about your niche and connecting with people, might give you the credibility you need to get bigger clients.

We did the exact same thing with these bigger clients; help them leverage data-driven personalized messenger marketing to quadruple their conversion rates and recover ten times more abandoned carts.

I started out building Bots for the sake of building Bots, and I feel like that's what most people are doing right now; building Bots without a valid reason for building one

When I first started out, I thought about offering nine different services around Bots. But right now, I only have two because I kind of cut down every single thing that doesn't really work. 

I don't want to build a bot just for the sake of building it. I only want to do things that I know drive significant business outcomes. 

That's the reason we want to focus on personalized marketing; we know that that's what's going to work in 2019. It's all about personalized marketing and also recovering abandoned carts. 

Focus on personalized marketing; it’s what will work in 2019.

A lot of e-commerce friends do get a lot of abandoned carts

So and that's where we are today; niche-ing down to even more to Shopify brands because it's much easier for us to be able to systemize. Working with just one platform makes everything for the agency much easier because otherwise, we had to create a new deck for every new client.

If you have one platform- and we know the platform really well, then we only have one or two decks for all the clients. That way we can just act in a Plug and Play manner

Getting big clients.

I used to make videos about chatbots on like a couple months ago.

Videos about how to leverage bots for e-commerce, and it felt like nobody was watching them because they would barely get any views. But the Head of Marketing of Guess reached out to me. 

It was just like random out heaven. 

I guess he saw himself one of the videos, and we started chatting on Instagram. We're talking about messenger marketing, and how you can leverage it for abandoned carts. 

He was actually moving out to LA, and when he moved here we became really good friends. That’s when we started to think about how we can leverage messenger marketing for Guess, and pretty much put together like a deck of how they can leverage messenger marketing. 

That really helped them see the value in it. 

So I started doing these presentations for brands to teach them exactly why they should be looking at Facebook Messenger as a platform to communicate with their customers, what the benefits are, and exactly how they can leverage the platform. 

I tried to make everything fit into their brand because they have a lot of retail stores. 

I projected why it’s important to leverage Messenger marketing not only for online but also for empowering their retail stores. by pretty making everything fit into their brand and make it in a way that makes sense in a way that they can see the ROI. 

It’s a new platform, and for a lot of big brands, it’s difficult to try something new.

My attitude was: “I know it's hard, but here’s the value and that’s what you’re missing out. 

Although, for bigger clients, it does take time to get approval to start doing things- I'm still waiting on to get approved on some, it’s important to go to the meetings and show them WHAT & WHY they should do the things you propose.

You have to be patient with bigger clients. Sometimes it takes more time to get your approval.

Tips for an omnichannel experience via Messenger.

A lot of people use Messenger scan codes

I’m not really into it, because you need a Messenger app to scan it, which is pretty stupid. 

I prefer regular scan codes

You can just open your camera, scan the code, and open it in whatever app and it needs to open. 

With the messenger code, you have to open the messenger camera; there's like too much friction, and I don’t see any scalable way of using it. 

You can integrate all the store locations in the Messenger platform; All your retail store directory.

So if somebody is looking for a nearby location, you can just send it directly to them via Facebook Messenger and then could offer them the ability to book a showing booth or a fitting room for that specific location. They just have to put in their email, and then that information is sent to that specific store. 

That's a nice way of providing an experience. Everything is all about an experience, right? 

Everything is about the experience you provide.

So, how can we like enhance the experience of for the customer that wants to go in stores?

The first thing is helping them find the nearest store, and then the second thing is to help them even more, with scheduling something for them; there's a trend around this in the retail space right now. 

If you look at Apple and all these different companies, what they're doing is providing an experience, but they’re expecting you experience something where and when you schedule. So Apple makes your schedule so you can just walk into the Apple Store. 

You have to schedule an appointment and this helps the agents know more information about who you are. 

Things like who you are, what problems you face, why you face them; all these different things, which allows the company to provide a great experience and also schedule their own day.

One of the things that the CEO of Stitch Fix said is that the brands that will Survive in 2019 need to provide relevant personalized and emotional experiences to their customers.

Which is something that really resonated with me. 

The brands that will survive in 2019 are the ones that provide relevant, personalized, and emotional experiences to their customers.

Just look around and see how people shop now. It's all about personalization, and as a brand, you need to definitely personalize all your marketing and you can do that without data and some of the data points that you’ll get just by using the Messenger platform. 

 When somebody gets to subscribe to your Messenger account,  you immediately get their First and Last name, their profile picture, their gender, their time zone other, and their location

 Those are all data points that you get right away, and you can use them to personalize what you’re broadcasting to these people. Over time, as you keep communicating with them, you can collect more data points about them and then personalize their experience even more. 

 These are things that you cannot do with email marketing because with an email address you don’t get all the info you need right away.

Data points that Messenger provides you right away:

Messenger marketing & paid ad strategies.

There are 2 ways to leverage messenger with ads. 

The first one by is leveraging clicked Messenger ads, and with clicked Messenger ads when you go to your objective you’re optimizing for messages. 

With clicked Messenger ads, what I've seen is that you have to start with your budget a little bit higher because the more people that you get to message you, the lower the cost gets.

So usually when I start the budget at 50 or 100 dollars, and I get like less than a dollar- probably like around 80 to 70 cents cost per subscriber, which is really good too because we acquire new a subscriber and put them like through a customized flow. 

What I recommend doing is giving those subscribers a small quiz- four to five questions, just to welcome them by asking certain questions. 

That’s how you customize their preferences, so the product that you're going to send them will be the most relevant to them

So if you're in clothing space you can ask: 

  • What are they? 
  • What are they looking for? 
  • Are they looking for shirts pants? 
  • If they like shirts then what color are they looking for? 

And then maybe it's okay to ask what size are you?”, and these are all things that you can also save about the customer. 

So next time you decide to make a broadcast via Manychat, you’ll know what to send.

So, you can really get the info that will help you to serve your customers better. And people LOVE quizzes.

The second way is leveraging comment ads and these usually work best with giveaway campaign. 

So let's say you're running a giveaway campaign through an ad- basically, connect your Facebook ad to a bot, and once somebody comments on your Facebook ad they receive an automatic message. 

You just got to tell them that when they comment in the post, they’ll receive a message from you (it’s Facebook’s policy). 

Give them an idea of what they should make a comment about. e.g.  What do you like about the shirt?” for a chance to win the shirt.

You just have to find creative ways to get people to comment. Also, the image creative has to be really nice and popping so that it gets people's attention. 

And then you get a lot of users to comment, and for each comment, they get a message. On average, probably 60-70% of the people who comment will subscribe; that's what we've seen on average, especially when we scale. 

By using Manychat’s Comment Growth Tool you can get up to 70% of the people leaving a comment, to subscribe to your Messenger.

So for example for one of our clients, one of our posts got 50K likes, 27K comments, and 9K shares.

This could be like a really good strategy, especially when you combine with giveaways. 

On average probably going to spend 8-20 cents per comment, which is a really cheap price to acquire a new subscriber- especially when you when you acquire a subscriber that after the giveaway you can keep promoting things to them. 

Also, you can collect their email address directly by asking them inside Messenger, and these email addresses can go directly to your CRM. 

How to not cannibalize your Messenger subscribers. 

A lot of people fall into the pit of getting many Facebook Messenger subscribers and blasting them with broadcasts and sales, which eventually destroys Open Rates and Click Through Rates. 

A lot of people that I've talked to,  said that they received spam messages from people/bots every single day for days. This is not the best way to use the platform. 

Spamming is not the best way to use Messenger.

What I recommend is knowing your customer. Being able to personalize the messages that you sent to them, is of high importance

Just asking them a question that helps you personalize a message that you send, can be really powerful. 

Let's say Fourth of July is coming up- or something like that, and then you ask them:  What would they rather do on Fourth of July?” and give people options like barbecue’, chilling at home, or maybe it's fireworks’. 

Depending on which one they pick the next time you’re about to send a promotional offer, you can think that this isn't an offer for people who love to barbecue, for example.

Right now what you can do, with a platform like Manychat, is to export your Messenger subscribers into a Facebook custom audience for retargeting. 

Some people use Zappier in order to auto-update the customers so you don't have to export every day- or every week, in order to keep updating.

In addition, you can filter out your Messenger list based on a tag. 

So let's say you want to have a list of only women; you can filter that out! 

Let's say you want to have women who like shirts, and you want to remove women who like red shirts; you can filter that out! 

Then you can auto-update the custom audience inside Facebook, and use that audience for retargeting.

The best flows for eCommerce marketing via Messenger. 

For me, there are three flows that sit on the top. 

The first one considers pop-ups.

Brands usually use pop-ups on their websites, right? 

They “trigger” them either when you first get to the site, or as an exit intent. 

So instead of using that, you can leverage something like a Messenger pop-up to give a discount code to a subscriber. In order for them to get the discount, they have to subscribe to your Messenger by clicking the button you provide.

Immediately, they're going to receive a push notification on their phone. 

So your open rates- right up front, are going to be really high for those messages. 

That's the first flow. 

In that flow, you can message them with the promised coupon and then you can also have products that link directly to your Shopify site. 

The second flow is about abandoned cart recovery. 

So this one is like probably the biggest because it makes a lot of money for a lot of the brands we’re working with

Basically, there's a widget that you can install on the add to cart button and then what it does is that when people click it and don’t finish checking out, you can follow them up with a message.

The last flow- that works really well, is for receipts. 

Receipts are a great way for retention, and then to engage with your customers. 

For example, you can send them a receipt after they do make a purchase, and then after they get the receipt you can say hey, have you had these new products or this new collection? Would you mind checking it out?” and they can click yes or no’.

If they click yes, and then you send them the collection, or you get to know them a little bit more.

These flows that you send based on what people select, allows you to tag them or save the answers. 

So you get to like know more about your customers and what they like, and that's how you're able to personalize your marketing.

You’ll have more effective promotions by knowing your customer really well; what they like. 

There are some other flows which are for winning back campaigns”, or for customers that purchased and you want to follow up with them in 30 or 60 days to check in with them and learn if they liked the product.

Did you like it? If they say yes, then boom. 

If they didn't like it, your can send them to customer service. It’s about engaging, just like in real life; like having a conversation. We don’t have to over complicate things.

Marketing online is different, but at the same time is the same as selling something in real life.  

The important metrics of Messenger Marketing.

For Messenger campaigns, we check Open Rates and Click Through Rates. Those are the main ones that really matter inside Messenger. 

Then for the websites of the specific campaign, we check the number of Users, the number of Sessions, and the Bounce Rate.

So, if people are coming to the website and bounce a lot, we should know that. 

Probably the message that we sent via Messenger, doesn’t match with the Landing Page. So we need to fix that. 

Usually, with Messenger, the Bounce Rates are like really low. On average we like less than 40

The next thing we have to check after the Bounce Rate is the actual Conversion Rate.

A lot of the Messenger flows that I talked about have a really high Conversion Rate. Especially in the cart recovery one, you can see about 20%; which is crazy high

You can get up to 20% cart recovery by personalized communication via Messenger.

Conversion Rate is our North Star because it is the only thing that matters. 

People are talking about Open Rates and Click Through Rates, but like nobody's really talking about the conversion rate, which is like the really important part. Right? 

So probably the Conversion Rate is the most important indicator of how the Messenger platform contributes against other channels.

Upcoming trends in eCommerce marketing with Chatbots.

Chatbots and eCommerce can work together on 2 levels:

  • Marketing.
  • Customer service.

In terms of marketing, so far people have been doing a decent job. 

Some people are doing the same job at marketing through Messenger; some win and other people are just spending money.

When somebody has a bad experience with a bot like 90% of those people aren't going to interact with them again.

What happened in the past few years is that like there are different types of people that are building Bots.

You have developers, but they aren't willing to with copywriters. Then you have copywriters trying to build bots on their own, and you also have marketers trying to do the same exact thing

The problem is that all three should be working together.

I believe that this is the perfect combination for somebody to be able to build a solid bot. 

The perfect way to build a solid Chatbot, is to put developers, copywriters, and marketers to work together.

You need the marketer to bring in people, you need a developer to build it, and then you need the copywriter to make sure that the copies are engaging enough to make people take action. 

All these three components were not working together, but we're starting to see that they start to come together a little bit more. 

I’m starting to see jobs pop up for copywriters and things like that. So people are starting to realize that you definitely need copywriters to offer conversational user experiences, to get people engaged.

The bots that I've seen that use copywriters are much much better than any other bots I've seen around. 

I think that in the next years if everybody will be able to come and work together there will be much better experiences. Right now a lot of people are just using the platform just to spam. 

Hire your marketer, a copywriter, and a developer to make sure that you build the best experience possible. This way you just going to drive more business outcomes. 

So that's the marketing side.

Then there is the customer service, which is massive. 

A lot of people right now are just neglecting the customer service part, so they have a bot. And then they don't have a real human checking through, making sure that everything is doing well and smooth, and that users are getting their questions answered

So people are just like blasting messages and they're not checking to see like what people are saying; if users have questions they should respond.

If you're using the Messenger platform, for marketing purposes and you do not have somebody actively going through and making sure that people are getting their questions answered, then you basically spamming.

Imagine you send a message to a brand and you say hey, can I get a refund for this order? and then they just don't respond. Now imagine that the brand after that just send you a message: “We have this t-shirt, would you like to buy it?”

Nobody wants that.

You should be able to tag the people that are in need of help. Having real human checking things is really important. 

Combining automation with like real human powers is the best combination because you can leverage the automation for more efficiency. 

In customer service is really important being able to leverage AI to answer questions right away; automate some of the FAQ's, and then just let the customer service team just check in and take care of it more unique issues. 

One of the things that we do with a lot of our clients, is to integrate their Messenger with Zendesk

Not only can you first message your Facebook subscribers directly, but you can pretty much filter tickets. So you can say: hey this person is asking for a refund  put them in the priority tickets. 

If somebody asks for a refund then you want to take care of that, right away. So make sure that everything is filtered. 

 [x] When somebody is asking for a refund, you want to take care of that right away.

And then when you do a marketing blast, you don’t want to blast to people who are looking for customer service because it's a really bad experience

This is something that I have not heard anyone talking about yet, but it's really important. I've seen that, and that's something that we do and that our clients.

So that's the customer service side; being able to automate your FAQ's and leverage live chat- which is real human power, to increase your customer service efficiency

Few last words.

If people want to learn more like thinking about they can just like visit our website, and get our free case study and learn more about exactly what I talked about. 

Throughout the case study I just walk people through the new way of marketing and exactly like how it started, why we should use it- I think a lot of people are so focused on the Open Rates and Click Through Rates and we don't know much besides that, why should someone use Messenger marketing, and what are the trends that indicate that you should use it.

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!

January 22, 2019 - No Comments!

35K leads in 20 days with a Messenger referral – Case Study

The goal of the project was to gather as many Facebook Messenger subscribers as possible via a viral giveaway.

Spoiler Alert!

We nailed it! We just run a Referral Marketing campaign via Facebook Messenger.

Btw, Viral Loops for Messenger is live on Product Hunt!

Viral loops for Messenger on Product Hunt

A little context before we proceed.

Yava is the biggest gym chain in Greece, with 50 branches throughout the country.  They came in touch with us to help them build a huge giveaway.

The prize? 

20+1 trips to (almost) open destinations.

The giveaway run in a time span of 20 days; that means that we gave 1 trip every single day!

The flow of the giveaway was exactly the same as any referral giveaway:

Users participated by subscribing and could get more entries (increasing their chances to win a trip) by inviting their friends and family to participate as well.

But there’s a twist.

As I wrote in the beginning, the goal was to gather messenger subscribers. Up to now, giveaways that worked with a referral program registered participants with an email address.

That means that after grabbing the users’ email address, we should email them in order to subscribe to the page’s Messenger.

We knew that our funnel would leak a lot. We would lose a huge number of people that could potentially bring us more participants.

This approach canceled the very reason we decided to go with Facebook Messenger for the giveaway in the first place; it’s the platform with the highest rate of use, with open rates that put every other platform to shame.

So, the question emerged:

“We have the technology for the referral system. How we take advantage of it without losing leads trying to convert them from email to Messenger subscribers?”

We had to get email outside of the equation, and there was no system that could do this.

We had to build it ourselves. And goddamn, we did it!

We’ve built the product, run the giveaway and (as the title of this post gives away), we managed to gather 35K Facebook Messenger subscribers in 20 days.

How we made it happen

We took all the knowledge we had on Messenger bots (and especially Manychat) and created a seamless referral marketing experience.

By using the flow we created in Manychat we were able to track every referral (who invited who) and provide the extra entries for the giveaway accordingly.

This way the audience was able to participate in the campaigns from inside Facebook Messenger, and directly invite their contacts. It was a bit tricky at first, but the final result inside Manychat looked like this:

This exact flow, combined with Viral Loops’ technology for referrals, could be your best friend for running giveaways.

All you have to really do is:

  • Use your token.
  • Change the number of participations for each new entry & successful referrals.
  • Insert some keywords that trigger possible automated flows (e.g. show the number of participations the user has).
  • Craft a compelling copy that will communicate the value of your giveaway!

That's it. Not joking!

Viral Loops for Messenger is live on Product Hunt!

Viral loops for Messenger on Product Hunt

Now, back again to the case study!

How users participated

 

We had the tool, and we had the flow. 

It was about time to find the ways that people would be able to discover and participate in the giveaway.

Obviously, the first thing we needed was a landing page that converts.

We included the main call-to-action above the fold and added a counter to communicate the sense of urgency.

Below the fold, we included as much info as possible about the rules and prizes of the giveaway.

35K leads in 20 days with a Messenger referral

By clicking the call-to-action, users were asked to give permission to be subscribed to the page’s Messenger, and thus, participate.

Since Facebook is the “father” of Messenger, we had to go hard with it.

We scheduled posts that spread the word about the campaign, including all the details in the copy, and the URL that people could use to have a chance to win. We did the same with Instagram posts and boosted them with ads to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Paid advertising offers a good initial boost, but we also need a great deal of organic reach in order to reduce the CPC of the campaigns.

We managed to do so by taking advantage of Manychat’s Comment to Message Growth Tool, as you'll see in the screenshot below.

35K leads in 20 days with a Messenger referral

A widget/popup was also added on the company’s website, aiming to inform mobile or desktop visitors about the giveaway and prompt them to subscribe to Messenger and enter the giveaway.

35K leads in 20 days with a Messenger referral

In order to reach existing customers/subscribers, we used newsletter & SMS campaigns.

Since the company is the biggest gym chain in the area, we knew that we had to also leverage the people that hit the gym to exercise. For that reason, there were banners in each gym with a Messenger scan code (another Manychat Growth Tool) that also included a clear direction on how people can use it to participate in the giveaway.

It performed excellently!

About 8K people subscribed using the scan code from the banners.

The user flow

At this point, I have to tell you that before the actual giveaway begun, there was a short pre-launch period (8 days).

We decided to give a head start to the existing gym members, website visitors or social media followers; this also allowed us to test the potential demand for the giveaway.

For the pre-launch period, we used a Facebook post with Manychat’s Comment Growth Tool, asking people to leave a comment with their favorite travel destination.

35K leads in 20 days with a Messenger referral

Whoever left a comment under the post received a message to their Messenger, asking for their permission to subscribe them to the pre-launch. The same applied also for people that came from the widget on the website, or the banners located in the gyms around the country.

As soon as the giveaway launched, those users received the following message:

Let’s have a look at how the flow looked like for people who got into the giveaway after the official launch. 

Initial Message:

Successful Participation Message:

The last card is what we named “personal invitation”, which prompts the user to share about the giveaway after they subscribed.

The rules of the giveaway were very simple:

By entering, users got ONE entry for the daily raffle- since we could give 20 free trips, we decided to have 1 winner every day for 20 days.

In order to obtain more entries, the users should share about the giveaway with their friends/network. Every time a friend of theirs subscribed for the giveaway, the referrer gained 10 extra entries.

The flow we’ve built did all the referral tracking, and the subscribers could go back to Messenger at any time and find out how many entries they have, simply by typing “Entries”.

The fact that even if a user didn’t win the one day, (s)he could keep the entries gathered, allowed us to follow them up in order to help them boost their referrals. 2 days after entering the giveaway (by using a smart delay), users received the following message:

A similar message was sent after another 2 days (again with a smart delay).

The results

Now that I gave you the small details about the campaign, let’s see some numbers. 

During a time frame of 20 days:

  • We gathered 34819 Messenger subscribers in total.
  • 1208 out of the total, subscribed during the pre-launch.
  • 31515 out of total participate in the giveaway, with a conversion rate (from a subscriber to a participant) of 90% 
  • 1232 total unsubscribes.
  • 15383 participants came from a referral.

 The last piece of data shows us that 48.8% of participants came to the giveaway from a referral.

Some insight

After the campaign ended we were really happy with the results. Our experience has shown that the performance of every campaign relies on luck, only by a small percentage.

We knew that we did something right, and we wanted to document it!

It all came down to 5 things:

  1. It took people only 2 clicks to share about the giveaway. Hence the 48.8% of referral participants.
  2. There were enticing & recurring rewards. Participant saw that there were daily winners, and that kept them trying to win.
  3. We leveraged all the available channels and mediums. Banners, social media, newsletters, etc.
  4. The messaging was engaging and fun. We kept receiving replies with people telling us how funny the gifs that we used were.
  5. Even though the messaging was short, it was to the point. It didn’t leave people wondering about the details, without getting too much into them.

Why run a referral marketing campaign via Messenger?

Are you serious?

Did you read the title of this post? 😂

I’m joking.

The explanation is simple. Messenger as a platform has better engagement (open rate, CTR, etc.) than any other platform right now, and people are really used to using it. It’s easy for them.

And the most important; their friends are used to receive content from them.

In addition to that, your brand/company can really start a more human conversation with its audience.

Now if you’re not very interested in the human side of these things, I have one last card in my sleeve:

You can download your Messenger subscribers’ psids directly from Manychat & and use them to build audiences for your ads. Just be gentle with that, ok?

Want to build your campaign?

We got your back, partner!

Viral Loops for Messenger is now available for you to run your giveaway via Facebook Messenger!

We can help you set up your campaign and start collecting leads!

Build your Messenger Referral Marketing Campaign now!

Viral Loops for Messenger is live on Product Hunt!

Viral loops for Messenger on Product Hunt

December 18, 2018 - No Comments!

You want to boost your Christmas sales. Read this.

It’s almost Christmas!

I had to write this article because everybody does the same; and God, I hate doing the same.

So why am I doing it?

Because I was being too selfish to actually understand that there are people out there looking for solutions.

So, not writing this article, would mean that I would be killing the Christmas spirit.

I don’t want to be that person.

Here’s how to boost your Christmas sales with Referral Marketing.

If you’re not familiar with Referral Marketing, you can learn literally anything about it on our blog.

More specifically, I propose to start from these:

Listen, I will make this as short as possible. You have a lot to do these days.

Here are the 2 most viable options (in terms of referral campaign’s type):

  1. You can build an ambassador program.
  2. You can do a giveaway.

I’m here to help you find the best option for your case.

Ambassador program.

What is an Ambassador program?

The concept is simple: You repeatedly reward people for bringing more people to buy from you.

I know it doesn’t sound so good, but it’s the blunt truth. 😂

How could it work for you?

You can offer discounts or gifts, in exchange for referrals. The difference with a simple referral marketing campaign is that these rewards are tiered.

In other words, you give people goals to reach.

E.g.

Refer 1 friend= Get 10% discount for next purchase.

Refer 3 friends= Get 20% discount for next purchase.

Refer 5 friends= Get 40% discount for next purchase.

You also have the option to offer physical products as rewards, gift cards, discounts in monetary value, etc.

Does it work?

It worked for Unicorn Snot like a charm.

Even though they used an Ambassador Program for their pre-launch campaign, their end goal was to drive sales.

That’s why most of the rewards they offered were tightly connected with purchases, as you can see in the screenshot below:

boost your Christmas sales

Let’s see some numbers, shall we?

  • 48% of signups shared their referral link. (Referral-to-Participants).
  • 7 out of 10 signups came from referrals.
  • 3 people signed up for every 2 social shares.
  • CTR of 2.7% and a CPC of $0.10, on Facebook.
  • 46% of Twitter shares resulted in a referral.
  • 25% of Facebook shares resulted in a referral, with 3X more total shares than all the other channels.

What should you pay attention too?

Even though some clients and products are more difficult to promote than others, and starting with a high-demand product, there are 4 things you should keep your eyes on:

  • Pick your incentives carefully.
  • The rewards you offer can make or break your campaign.
  • Craft your copywriting carefully.
  • Your campaign’s K Factor.

Do you want to build an Ambassador program to boost your Holiday sales?

You can use our Milestone referral template to implement your idea, and turn it into a living mechanism.
The installation of this template is really simple, and you can read everything on how to do it in our documentation.

Now, if you are more into watching videos than reading, we also got your back.
I made a video about it, showing the process step by step:

Also, if your own a Shopify store, you can connect with Viral Loops for Shopify, and run an Ambassador Program.

Giveaways.

Everybody does it.

But, is it worth?

‘Depends’, I’ll say; If you’re selling furniture, the 20K contacts you got in exchange for an iPhone will not be of much use.

You have to give away something that is part of what you do.

How could it work for you?

Since you decide that you’re going to run a Giveaway, you have 2 options for the implementation:

  1. Run a Leaderboard Giveaway.
  2. Run a Tempting Giveaway.

What’s the difference between them?

The Leaderboard giveaway feels like a game. People who enter, start ranking on a leaderboard.

The more referrals they bring, the higher they climb in ranking. You can choose how many of the top referrers will be rewarded, and the kind of prize they’ll win (if you have more than one to give away).

boost your Christmas sales

The Tempting Giveaway, on the other hand, offers a simpler mechanism for your giveaway.

Your visitors will enter the contest, and by referring their friends they get more chances to actually win.

E.g.

You give visitors one participation for getting into the contest, and 3 more for every friend they refer.

boost your Christmas sales

Does it work?

You have to be creative. You have to think outside the box, and I know it sounds cliche as hell.

But Jet did it.

They made a leaderboard giveaway for their pre-launch campaign, but they didn’t offer simple gifts. Instead, they decided to reward the top referrers with company shares.

boost your Christmas sales

A guy spent $18K to win the contest; he won.

Do you understand the impact of something like that?

boost your Christmas sales

What should you pay attention too?

The rewards are what makes or breaks your giveaway but here are a few other points:

  • Your rewards should be closely related to your company or what you’re selling.
  • Be creative & think outside the box with your rewards.
  • Communicate clearly what people need to in order to win. Simple copywriting is the best copywriting.
  • Don’t be afraid to boost your campaign with ads. Giveaways are time-sensitive and you need that momentum.

A soon-to-be, available alternative.

You get inside a train. It’s half full and people are scattered trying to kill time in every corner. Now count how many stare at their smartphones’ screens.

We are constantly consuming information. We are also taking a lot of photos; but most importantly, we are texting.

A lot.

Question:

What do you check more often, your email or your messenger inbox?

Companies that develop Messenger bots, know the answer. There was a big hype around Messenger bots.

We like them. We use one.

Wouldn’t it be cool to run a giveaway through Messenger?

Let that sink in!

Basically, you don’t have to. Soon we will make it available for you to use.

You can subscribe for the pre-launch now!

You can run a tempting giveaway via Messenger. Ain’t that great?

Consider your subscription, and what you are going to see, as a small glimpse of what you can do with this Messenger Giveaway.

Before you go.

I know you want to boost your Christmas sales. I gave you some viable solutions.

It will be difficult and it can get frustrating, but work is just work. Christmas time is about friends and family.

How much are they worth?

 

October 30, 2018 - No Comments!

How Infinity gained 2,5K+ early adopters with Viral Loops

In March 2018, an innovative and fresh SaaS startup named Infinity was in the final stages of developing an MVP of their ‘infinitely’ flexible and user-friendly project management and collaboration tool.

This tool threatened to be an alternative and true competition to some of the biggest project management software solutions on the market (they even had the guts to compare their product to the popular Trello).

Inspired by RobinHood’s pre-launch campaign, they decided to do exactly the same: create a waitlist for their MVP and publish a Closed Beta for the selected number of early members.

But, guess what?

Infinity team decided to be bold and gather a lot more early testers than they had initially planned. Actually, they were about to launch a marketing campaign to get as many early members as possible.

Yup, pretty ambitious. It seems like they really believed in the MVP of their product.

So, let’s see their approach to launching a strategy which resulted in 2,500+ users in less than a month.

The Game Plan

After days of detailed research and multiple hours spent on defining the strategy for gaining as many early members as possible, they’ve come up with a pretty neat solution.

Infinity team decided to launch a referral campaign. The final thing they needed was an appropriate tool which would help them set up their viral campaign.

As Viral Loops offered an easy-to-use and practical pre-launch template, the search ended there.

Infinity decided to use Viral Loops as a tool to launch their referral/viral campaign.

There are few points which should be covered if you’re about to launch a successful referral (viral) campaign:

  • Landing page
  • Good incentive
  • Define referral placements for your campaign(Make sure to carefully choose the initial places on which your members could share the referral link.
    If your fans are active on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, make sure to include those as a starting place where your referral link could be promoted.)
  • Promotion channels (often considered as paid promotion, such as Facebook Ads, Beta List, etc.)
  • Analytics/metrics tracking

Building a viral landing page

Before setting up a referral campaign in Viral-Loops, Infinity team had to create a solid landing page for their product.

Making a viral landing page is not an easy thing to do. You have to invest a lot of time in order to prepare good content, a visually appealing design, and even an explanatory video. And that’s exactly what Infinity did.

Infinity pre-launch landing page
Infinity landing page used for the Viral-Loops referral campaign.

Infinity signup form

Infinity's pre-launch signup form

Infinity's pre-launch sharing widget

Infinity's pre-launch sharing widget

Incentive: Do You Have Enough Courage to Offer ‘The Real Thing?’

After building a landing page, it was time to brainstorm on a proper, engaging and effective incentive for the competition participants.

If you’re about to launch a referral campaign, you definitely need to create a convincing and inspiring motive for people to enter the competition.

Thus, Infinity organized a bunch of waitlist rewards:

  • an invite to the Infinity launch weekend for the winner
  • a lifetime premium plan for the top 10
  • and a priority invite & 6 months of the premium plan for the top 100.

And the only thing the members needed to do is to spread the word by sharing the received referral link to their acquaintances.

Execution is the real game

After thoroughly planning a referral strategy and gathering everything that was needed to jumpstart the campaign, it was time for some real action.

Setting up a Viral-Loops campaign is a pretty simple process.

After linking the landing page to the campaign and setting a legitimate incentive for a defined target audience, Viral Loops offered a few options to help the contestants share their referral link more easily (ex. Email, Facebook, Twitter or simply by copying the link).

With all of that done, Infinity’s Viral-Loop referral campaign was ready to begin!

The campaign flow looked something like this:


Visitor → Infinity Landing Page → Visitor clicks on CTA button (in this case ‘Subscribe for Infinity Early Beta’) → Visitor becomes a Member → Member receives a referral link which automatically puts him on the waitlist → Member is repositioned on the waitlist and put into consideration for winning an incentive based on the number of successful referrals (the number of people they’ve invited who also subscribed for Infinity’s Early Beta).

Think About Power-Ups...

If Infinity had relied solely on organic visits and conversions, they probably wouldn’t have got near to the results they achieved from their referral marketing campaign.

That’s why the team decided to boost their viral campaign with paid promotion. To be more precise, they used channels such as Medium, Facebook Ads, Beta List, Adwords, Product Hunt, etc.

Statistics

Viral-Loops offers an intuitive Dashboard which showcases a weekly statistical progress of your referral campaign.

Let’s check out Infinity’s Dashboard and see their results:

Infinity’s Viral Loops Dashboard

Some of the key points include:

  • Total number of visits (to the landing page)
  • Number of campaign participants
  • Number of referrals
  • Number of shares

The total number of visits on Infinity’s landing page was around 11,000.

A total of 2,524 participants were involved in the campaign, 343 of which were referrals (people who accepted the invite and joined Infinity Early Beta), and 455 were shares (members of the Early Beta who shared the link with other people).

The end results

Virality metrics were of great importance to Infinity team whilst running a referral marketing campaign.

Analytics gave them a perfect progressive summary of their referral campaign and were the key to their referral program success.

The most important metric in viral marketing is the ‘K-factor.’ K-factor (or Viral Coefficient) is measured by dividing the average number of conversions from invitations received by the average number of invitations sent.

The equation is simple: K = c / i

By calculating the K-factor, Infinity team got a sense of the overall progress of their campaign, which helped them adjust campaign settings from time to time and ultimately achieve better results.

Alongside K-Factor, a few other important viral metrics include:

  • Participant Conversion
  • Participant Share
  • Invitation CTR (Click-Through Rate), and
  • Invitation Conversion

K-Factor of Infinity’s campaign was 0.75, which puts it into ‘the outstanding league.’ That means that 3 out 4 people who received a referral link for Infinity Early Beta access, actually accepted the invite and became members.

Participant conversion was pretty good with 2,524 users, but a total of 11,174 landing page visits. That puts us at a participant conversion of 22%.

Participant share was also solid with 18% of people who shared the referral link with their friends, out of the total of 2,524 participants.

Furthermore, Invitation CTR resulted in a pretty high number of 88% of people who clicked on the referral links their friends sent them.

And finally, an impressive result from Invitation Conversion viral metric, as 75% of people who received a referral link decided to use it and become members of Infinity Early Beta.

 

August 6, 2018 - No Comments!

How BAMF Media made sunscreen go viral with Viral Loops: An ecommerce case study

When the viral product incubator FCTRY needed badass viral marketing, they reached out to us, BAMF Media for help.

And when we needed the right software to run this viral campaign, we knew that Viral Loops was a one-way ticket.

R U ready to shine?

The Strategy

We designed and coded a unique viral website with custom referral backend technology integration through Viral Loops, which produced amazing results for the campaign.

The “Thank You” page was optimized to drive referrals — 48% of people who signed up shared one of the referral links.

One of our best growth hacks was using PR and media coverage to drive the top of the campaign’s viral funnel with high converting free traffic.

We managed to land stories on Mirror Online, PopSugar, Bustle, and several other major publications.

The Numbers

At BAMF Media, we are obsessed with virality metrics.

Let’s see some of the campaign’s highlights:

  • 48% of signups shared their referral link. (Referral-to-Participants)
  • 7 out of 10 signups came from referrals
  • 3 people signed up for every 2 social shares.

One of the campaign’s top performing ads saw about 90% of leads and 2,601 shares.

The average click-through rate on Facebook ads in the beauty industry is around 1.16%, with a cost per click at about $1.81.

Unicorn Snot’s campaign saw a CTR of 2.7% and a CPC of $0.10, so we managed to produce a significantly higher click-through rate for a fraction of the cost as a result of some badass creative assets and audience targeting.

Twitter saw the highest share/referral ratio — 46% of shares resulted in a referral.

As far as shares, Facebook was where the campaign took off — 25% of shares resulted in a referral, but it had 3X more total shares.

The majority of our tracked referrals came from people who clicked on a shared link outside of Facebook, Twitter, or Email  — which could’ve been from other “discount websites,” or PR placements sharing links to larger audiences.

These virality metrics are key to a successful Viral Loops campaign.

“One of the core concepts in viral marketing is the K-factor (K = i * c), with i as the average number of invitations sent per user and c as the average conversions from invitation to registration. Using this metric, we were able to tweak our viral campaign in order to maximize the reach.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Note: If you want to learn more about viral and referral marketing metrics, you HAVE to read From Visitor to Ambassador: The art of referral marketing.

Leading the paid social execution was BAMF’s Head of Media Buying, Charles Evans Jr., who says, “Having the right paid social strategy, airtight tactical execution, and segmented retargeting to amplify referrals led to the success of this campaign.”

“Also, we kept it simple, doubling down on what worked to scale efficiently.”

As Charles always says, “All that glitters isn’t gold.

Viral Incentives

Having the right milestone incentives and rewards is also key. If people who sign up are not stoked to share and get that prize, you simply won’t go viral.

Give customers what they really want. And be willing to spend some money to do it. Branded stress balls and t-shirts won’t do the job.

For example, Gilt developed a comprehensive insider program to encourage referrals.

In order to capture to their broad customer base, they didn’t just go with one incentive but instead established a tiered system of rewards including everything from free merchandise to insider access to their best flash sales.

A milestone referral (like the one that we used for Unicorn Snot’s campaign) structure should always be tiered - with easily attainable milestones up front and a super strong emotionally compelling grand prize that is relevant to your product or service.

In this case, it was the $100 Unicorn Snot gift card, but we often use even bigger prizes to amplify the emotional trigger, such as a “Free Trips to Around The World.”

By the end of the product launch waitlist campaign for Unicorn Snot, over 200 people had referred more than 25 friends, which would come to more than $20,000 in additional prize costs.

So, make sure to think about your reward incentives and the potential costs should your campaign take off and many more people reach those milestones.

The Takeaways

The lesson?

Pick your incentives carefully.

The discounts you offer can make or break your campaign.

You can bring in a lot of customers with huge discounts, but if those cost you more than the campaign brings in, it might not be the wisest move.

After working on so many viral marketing campaigns, we know that some clients and products are more difficult to promote than others.

Starting with a unique, high-demand product like Unicorn Snot made the process much more successful for BAMF Media and our campaign.

We were able to combine the natural intrigue of glitter sunscreen with the creativity and skill of our team to launch an awesome viral marketing campaign.

July 31, 2018 - 2 comments

Stay the f*ck away from growth tactics

While rookies use tactics, pros use processes

So, let’s get started!

You’ve probably been hearing for tactics. People are talking about tactics, everywhere.

“I learned this great hack where you can get thousands of emails.”

“Let’s do CRO to our landing pages.”

“Let’s A/B test our website buttons.”

“I heard Lead Nurturing and Lead Magnets are awesome.”

“Let’s add a referral option to our app and go viral.”

That's all really nice and attractive. Who doesn't want to grow exponentially?

But with all those growth tactics available, how come that 75% of venture-backed startups fail?

Well, having a bunch of screws, bolts and tools doesn't build a machine.

First, you have to find your process- a schematic if you prefer, and then identify which tactics might work in your favor.

Probably most of the content you find about growth is wrong because most of the content is about tactics. 😵

“Stop looking for tactics first, and start focusing on establishing a growth process.” — Brian Balfour

Brian Balfour is mostly famous about being Founder/CEO @ Reforge and Previously VP Growth @ HubSpot. He occasionally writes here. You’ll find great stuff in there.

Another great individual to follow is Sean Ellis, he’s the Founder and CEO of GrowthHackers.com. Before that, he led early growth strategy at Dropbox, Lookout, Eventbrite, LogMeIn (launch to IPO), Uproar (launch to IPO).

Sean talked about high tempo testing.

“We grew from 90,000 MAU to 152,000 MAU in about eleven weeks without spending a dollar on advertising or increasing the size of our growth team.” — Sean Ellis

The more tests you run, the more you learn about how to grow your company. So the goal here is to run as many tests per period of time as possible.

That’s the main idea behind high tempo testing.

Test.Learn.Repeat. 🚀

Growth is about running experiments, analyzing results, and learning quickly. And for this, you really need two things:

  1. A method for running experiments
  2. A system for tracking and reporting

By running an A/B test once a month doesn’t count! You need a process, a tempo.

Keep the same tempo for every team member over there!

What we do in Viral Loops

We read a lot.

We test a lot.

We (try to) systemize everything.

We repeat.

We’ve built a weekly process which helps us have everything documented and in order. The truth is that growth is the sum of small parts, there is never a silver bullet.

You can grow by putting effort into many small things and not in a few big. That’s how you’ll learn your channel, product, and customers better than your competitors and this will help you take risks based on those learnings.

Learnings are everything.

Failed experiments liver-punched me enough times to make want to quit. But the shock was an indicator that my team was doing something in a very wrong way.

Keeping a tight documentation about your learnings will save you a ton of time if you aim to grow your team anytime in the future.

Imagine having to teach all the past failures to every new team member. Nightmare.

Your fails should be accessible company-wide, at any moment. It makes it easier to draw the big picture.

“The only way to tackle growth is to get the whole company focused on it” — Sean Ellis

We try to systemize our process for testing and learning in order to keep a tempo.

 

1. Brainstorm

We keep our ideas in a backlog and try to put everyone one on the team to contribute their ideas. It doesn’t matter what their day to day job is. Growth needs to become everyone’s job.

You can use spreadsheets or any project management tools to keep these precious ideas in one place.

2. Prioritise

We categorize our backlog of ideas by using the AARRR framework (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referrals, Revenue). Then we give every idea a score from 1 to 10 by using the “ICE” system. ICE stands for Impact, Confidence, and Ease of execution:

Impact. If this idea works, how much impact will it have?

Confidence. How confident are you that this idea will work?

Ease. Is this idea something that will be easy to test?

e.g.

 

Let's say we have an idea with the following individual scores:

Impact: 9/10

Confidence: 5/10

Ease: 7/10

The final ICE score of the idea is simply the sum of the individual score, divided by 3.

This gives our idea an ICE score of 7. The higher the ICE score of an idea, the higher it's priority.

3. Test

After picking the top ideas to run based on our prioritization, we have to think of a hypothesis and move these ideas to the upcoming tests list. Try to run simple tests.

4. Implement

Upcoming tests are moved to the to-do list and it’s time for implementation. A test might need skills from more than one team member; that’s why we try to work as a team here. 😎

5. Analyse

Once the test has finished, write down the results. Did the experiment change the situation upwards? Or downwards? Did it work or not?

Be cautious. This part might be your "getting liver-punched" arc.

Don't get frustrated.

6. Systemise

This is the point where learnings are born. Write down what you’ve learned, how important it was and how it affects your company and your team.

The main goal is to get learnings at a high tempo. The more testing you do, the more learnings you’ll have. But the key is to share those learnings with the rest of your team.

As I said, we like to keep everything documented. We write down our learnings on a weekly basis (Weekly Learnings doc). Also, we keep track of some basic metrics in the AARRR funnel (Weekly Metrics Spreadsheet). The documents we’re using are the ones below.

We couldn’t be organized without using

  • GrowthHackers Projects to track our experiments
  • Google Docs and Notion to have all our docs in one place
  • Trello and Asana to write down tasks and experiment ideas
  • Slack for team communication. (sometimes we work remotely)

Delivering value to customers is so damn important

When you’re focused on growth, sometimes you get caught up in the data, but be careful, you might lose your path.

Your path is your customers.

If you keep your customers at the top of your priorities and you continuously deliver value to them, growth will follow.

Everything you build has to be for your customers.

Happy customers are the real key to growth ❤

Generate ideas. Run experiments. Learn. Repeat.

If you run out of ideas, always remember:

Cheers 🙂

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

July 17, 2018 - 1 comment.

How Referral Marketing will increase your ecommerce 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 visitors into buyers, and then into ambassadors.

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 referral marketing for your ecommerce, 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 marketing 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 🐶

July 3, 2018 - No Comments!

How Airbnb’s Referral Program Built a Billion $ Growth Formula

Remember when people first started using “google” as a verb?

It’s every startup’s dream—beyond making lots and lots of money, of course.

It’s the arrival. The moment when there’s a universal acceptance that your company as the go-to provider of a product or service…so much so, that people now use your brand as generic noun or verb.

Pass the Kleenex. Xerox a copy. Relax in the jacuzzi. Enjoy fish and chips with a coke.

And now...paying to stay overnight in a neighborhood flat or borrowing a local family’s rollaway bed while you travel...you’re airbnbing.  

So how did this scrappy, born-out-of-necessity, startup make their claim to fame?

For starters, they had a great idea. But everybody’s got an idea, right? What brought Airbnb to billion-dollar status was how they grew that idea, that is, how they increased their number of guest arrivals from 21,000 in 2009 to 80,000,000 in 2016. 😲

It was its well-timed and well-implemented referral marketing program.

Let’s talk about how they did it.

How Airbnb Built a Billion $ Growth Formula

Let your customers do the convincing

So you’ve got a new product, but the world is not knocking down your door to download your app or use your service?

Well, you’re not alone.

Not everyone wants to be an early adopter, and that was certainly the case for Airbnb.

What’s more, when Airbnb launched their service model, they were met with concerns—travels and hosts alike worried if they could trust a stranger.

Jumping that hurdle began with this fundamental insight: a whopping 92 percent of people say that they find recommendations from a peer more compelling than advertising.

We know how powerful word-of-mouth advertising is when used to sell any product or service. But for the services Airbnb offers, the power of a word-of-mouth was be even more critical for accelerating growth.

By building a refer-a-friend-like program that gave experienced customers the mic—along with background checks and a hefty insurance policy—Airbnb could reduce (if not eliminate) those fears, making travelers and their hosts more travel-ready.

Current customers became the trusted brand advocates new customers really want and need to hear from.

As Jason Bosinoff, Airbnb engineering manager, said in an article for Medium, “Airbnb experiences are so personal. People use Airbnb to unlock incredible experiences — anything from weekend getaways with friends, cultural exchanges, and once-in-a-lifetime events like honeymoons.”

And the referral approach is just that...personal.

Go big…and go home

When starting a referral program, everyone has the same question: What will entice people to sign on, sign up and most importantly, to refer others to do the same?

For Airbnb, the answer was simple.

Experiences. 🗽 🌉 🗼

They wanted to build a database of world travelers, ready to rent apartments, rooms, and homes the around the globe.

So the home-sharing company incentivized would-be travelers offering travel credits—$25 when a referred friend rented from Airbnb and $75 when a referred friend listed his or her property for rent on the site.

What’s particularly advantageous about this referral tactic is that Airbnb can detract swag hunters simply looking to collect loot or swag and instead, increase referrals of people who would actually travel. ✈🚆 🚁 🚍 

How Airbnb Built a Billion $ Growth Formula

Travelers who participate in the program can earn up to $5000 worth of lodging fees they can use to try out the service. 💰 🤑 💰

That’s certainly enough to pay for lots of mini-breaks weekends. 🚗 🏘

It’s up to the traveler to decide whether to spend these credits as they are earned, or save them up and use all at once.

Sounds really awesome to a traveler, doesn’t it?

For Airbnb, however, the approach was a little risky.

Here’s why...

To offer these travel incentives, Airbnb had to open up their wallet and pay some cold-hard-cash. When a traveler got a credit for accommodations, Airbnb still had to pay the host.

With this double-sided reward model, Airbnb was (and still is) putting their money where their mouth is betting that once customers try their service, they’ll return. Otherwise, Airbnb is just tossing money out the window.

If you’re confident in your product or service model — as Airbnb was — taking this sort risk just might be worth it, as the reward can be so sweet.

BTW if you want to build a referral program similar to Airbnb, we have a video tutorial about it:

Know your bullseye and keep score

Before you launch a referral program, you need to set a realistic goal and identify metrics that you’ll use to measure success or failure.

How Airbnb Built a Billion $ Growth Formula

Airbnb made sure they were aiming at a reasonable target by first running a closed beta test of its referral program.

To start, Airbnb offers the travel credit incentives for referral only to their existing 2,161 existing members.

The result? 2,107 new members joined, this nearly 1:1 growth ratio was a clear indication that this program would be a likely success.

From there, Airbnb identified six specific metrics to track, including:

  • Number of monthly active users sending invites
  • Number of invites per inviter
  • Conversion rate to new user
  • Conversion rate to new guest
  • Conversion rate to new host
  • Revenue impact potential

They looked at their growth in these areas historically (before the referral program) to see what they could reasonably expect from this program.

The results determined that the Airbnb team could expect their numbers in these categories to increase anywhere from 20 to 90 times their current standings.

This range provided a way to decide if the live referral program was successful in their attempts at bolstering their business through referral.

To see how their actual performance measured against their projection, Airbnb tracked growth every step, A/B testing new content and landing pages and using customized dashboards to make the information accessible.

And Airbnbers surely delighted in watching the numbers climb, as we know now exactly how successful this effort proved to be.

Ultimately, what Airbnb is trying to do is build a community of travel-loving followers. And their referral program is only one of the ways they are making “airbnbing” a choice preferable to booking some boring old hotel room.