All Posts in Growth

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.

June 26, 2018 - 35 comments

Dropbox grew 3900% with a simple referral program. Here’s how!

This is the 3rd addition to the "How the hell did they pull this" series- it’s not official, I just like to name things.

During the past few months we wrote about:

It’s already a cliche to try to convince you if referral programs work or not (of course they do) and why, so instead this article is solely focused on the how.

Numbers are important

Dropbox’s referral program is possibly one of the most famous cases of referral marketing done right.

Almost a decade later, it’s still used in numerous case studies showcasing how referral programs can contribute to a company’s growth engine- or even be the engine itself.

Let’s have a quick dive into Dropbox’s metric history:

  • September 2008: 100K registered users
  • December 2009: 4M registered users
  • September 2017: 10B evaluation + 1B revenue.

What happened between 2008 and 2010? Well, Dropbox managed to double its user base every 3 months, resulting in their users sending 2.8M invites in April 2010.

Dropbox Viral Loops referral

People, we’re talking about a 3900% growth in 15 months

OK, enough with numbers. Let’s get straight to the chase: how did they do it?

Obviously, it’s not all due to the referral program; they gathered a ton of feedback, they constantly improved their product and they kinda put a battle in order for VC’s to trust their money to them.

Since I’m not the best dude to talk about business development, I’ll have to put this aside and try to explain the factors that put this referral to the pantheon.

How the Dropbox's referral program functioned

The philosophy of Dropbox’s referral program was very plain. Since the product offered storage space in the cloud, they decided to reward people with more free space not only for referring their friends but also for accepting an invitation.

dropbox Referral Viral Loops

In order words, we’re talking about a 2-side referral program for a compelling product, that rewarded both sides for completing the desired task; registering for Dropbox.

We provide the easiest way to build a referral program inspired by Dropbox.

The details that made a champion

It was part of the onboarding process

Onboarding users can be such a pain. When people go on to start using a software or service, they expect they’ll have to fill out some details.

I don’t know about you, but when the onboarding process of a product I’m dying to use is easy, a smile carves my face.

Dropbox knew this and not only made the whole onboarding a six-step piece of cake, but they integrated their referral program in it as a final step

Just like saying ‘thank you’ by offering more of the product.

People had a clear view of the benefits

According to Dropbox's founder/CEO Drew Houston, Dropbox's referral program got inspired by Paypal refer-a-friend program.

Paypal rewarded referrals with cash (as this is what their business was about), so Dropbox had to use their product's main value in their rewarding system.

When someone decides to use a product, they exactly know what they want from it (whether they get what they expected or not is another story). In Dropbox’s case, people wanted cloud storage; the more, the better.

dropbox-viral-loops-referral-marketing

I get constantly asked what is one of the top 5 skills in marketing. I’ll be damned if copywriting is not one of them. Because context beats content.

That’s why instead of ‘Invite your friends’, Dropbox framed the referral as ‘Get more space’.

The ridiculously easy invitation process

After the user got hooked with ‘getting more space’, the next step was to make it as easy as possible to get it. It was clear that they had to bring their friends on board.

They could do so via social media sharing or by just sending their unique referral link in whatever way they wanted (messenger apps, email, SMS, handwritten cards, etc.)

viral-loops-dropbox-referral

But here lies one of the best invitation hacks I’ve ever witnessed. Email is powerful, but sending your invitations to your contacts one by one, Dropbox offered the option to sync your contacts from Gmail, AOL, Yahoo!, etc.

Victory!

People knew their referral status

If you’re planning to create a referral program, listen to me; and listen to me good. You want to push users to make enough referrals in order to attain a prize goal.

How do you do it?

The easiest way is to make it visible to them how close they are to attaining this goal. I see this in a lot of referral campaigns; I complete the steps, invite my friends and then...Nothing!

viral-loops-dropbox-referral-

No notifications or no email, informing how many of my friends actually successfully registered from my referral link. This is a huge mistake, people!

Dropbox included a panel that was accessible anytime by users, so they can see how the invites performed.

A Viral Loop on steroids

I became a member of Dropbox from a referral (what a surprise, huh?). I received an email from a friend, signed up, and then I received another email informing me that I was given 500mb for accepting my friend’s invitation.

“Sweet”, I thought. In the very same email, there was a P.S.; ‘To get even more space, invite your friends or upgrade your Dropbox’, with 2 links placed respectively.

Dropbox grabbed the opportunity in my WOW moment and offered me additional value by prompting me to get more without paying a dime. Their referral’s goal was to attain a bigger audience reach, not a boost in their revenue.

It was a chance to open their funnel in a very cost-effective way by just showcasing their will to offer more for less.

TL;DR

Let’s recap all the important info from the Dropbox story. First, they managed to attain 3900% user growth in 15 months. They did so, by constantly improving the product, coming head to head with VCs, and by building a legendary referral program

The referral program had 2-side rewards and was an overall success because:

  1. Offered an extended version of the same product.
  2. It was part of the onboarding process.
  3. People had a clear view of the benefits.
  4. It made it ridiculously easy for people to invite their friends.
  5. People knew their referral status at any given time.
  6. They managed to build a Viral Loop.

There you have it! Now, I’m going to step back and think what the next addition to the ‘How the hell did they pull this’ series (the name remains totally fictional, but I’ll fight for it).

viral-loops-dropbox-referral

In case you’re interested to build a Dropbox-style referral program, we have your back! Save yourself some time.

Cheers 🙂

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

June 19, 2018 - No Comments!

From Visitor to Ambassador: The art of referral marketing

A few months ago we decided to give a try to Messenger chatbots. The plan was to craft an exclusive playbook for our subscribers and publish one chapter each week.

We named it “From Visitor to Ambassador: The art of Referral Marketing

It’s a playbook that includes all the means one can use to turn their website visitors into brand ambassadors for their product or service.

The topics we cover are:

💪 What an Ambassador Referral Campaign is and how it works.

You might have heard how Harry’s gathered 100,000 emails in one week before they launched. They used an ambassador referral campaign to achieve it and we show exactly how you can do it as well.

🎯 How to turn your Visitors into Ambassadors

This is the value proposition of the playbook. You will get a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed, and how to remove all the obstacles in the way.

⚙️ Building Viral Landing Pages

Landing pages are all about conversion rates, and we have the best recipe to create pages that convert like crazy; exactly the stuff you need for your ambassador referral campaign.

🏆 Choosing the best rewards for your ambassadors.

It’s another thing to bribe people to talk about you, and a totally different thing to reward them for doing so. Inside the playbook, we are talking about how you can avoid falling into the trap of bribing people, and how you can choose rewards that express your real gratitude.

🔥 Boosting your campaign’s performance.

Just launching an ambassador referral campaign/ program doesn’t mean that there’s an autopilot. You might need to iterate in order to achieve pure greatness.

We see ourselves as iteration maniacs, and after reading this playbook you’ll become one too.

💡 Technical growth hacks that can save the day.

We give you some clever ways to use apps out there in order to blow people's minds away. These are testing and proven to work, so we explain how to do it yourself in minutes.

Our Messenger bot worked pretty well and managed to gather a few thousands of subscribers very quickly. But this is not the reason I’m writing these lines.

As we started adding chapter after chapter, we soon realized that the content we created deserves something better than just existing in a document on the cloud.

So, we decided to make it an actual book.

The playbook is live on Product Hunt, and we used its “Upcoming” feature to gather as many people as possible, prior to the actual launch.

We also used the growth hack that Josh Fechter shared a few days ago: we uploaded a portion of our email list on the “Upcoming” for social proof—as we got more than 16,000 people are in the campaign 🙃

R U ready to Turn Visitors To Ambassadors?

We're really proud of the outcome. We could sell it, instead of giving it for free.

Download your free copy now! 

We 💗 you!

June 5, 2018 - 4 comments

Virality and the 4 Steps To Design It In Your Product

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

But what does virality mean?

Virality: vʌɪˈralɪti/

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viral marketing should be the heart of your product.

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

Virality Vs. Word Of Mouth

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

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

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

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

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

Email from Typeform

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

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

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

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

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

Typeform, we ❤ you guys! 🤗

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding what type of viral marketing fits to our product

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to design your product for viral growth

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

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

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

This is about finding the right sender incentives.

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

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

Developer Economics’ Campaign

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

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

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

Waiting List of Ellp’s Campaign

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

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

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

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

And now our external network.

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

Viral Loops’ Referral Dashboard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 30, 2018 - No Comments!

Side Project Marketing Will Change Your Game

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

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

Which begs the question…

As a marketer, how do you stand out?

The answer isn’t yell louder. 🗣️📣

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

Start a side project.

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

But rules were made to be broken.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Here are our quick tips.

Don’t: Be Overly Complex

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

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

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

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

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

Do: Use Inexpensive Tools

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

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

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

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

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

Tumblr was free.

It was easy.

And it was accessible.

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

Do: Partner Up

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t: Forget to Have Fun

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty darn serious, if you ask me.

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

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

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

Did it work?

Yep.

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

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

Side Project Today, Growth Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

We’ve boarded the train. 🚃

Why don’t you?

Side project marketing is your ticket. 🎫

 

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

April 26, 2018 - No Comments!

How to get started with Viral Loops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Currently, we offer multiple campaign templates.

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

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

It’s easy and effective.

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

Our Referral Templates

The Milestone Referral

Inspired by Harry’s and the Hustle

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

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

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

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

The e-Commerce Referral

Inspired by Gilt

 

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

You can see how it looks live. 

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

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

Refer a Friend template

Inspired by Dropbox

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

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

Our giveaway templates:

We have created two types of campaigns for competitions:

  1. The Leaderboard Giveaway
  2. The Tempting Giveaway

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

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

Here's a live example of The Leaderboard Giveaway

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

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

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

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

Our pre-launch campaigns:

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

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

The Wizard

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

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

Step 1: Info

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

Step 2: Rewards

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

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

Step 3: Widgets

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

Step 4: Installation

This step provides some technical info. If you’re familiar with that, then go ahead, but you could ping us anytime for help. If you’re not into that, just hit the “Help me” button and we’ll be more

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

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

Another powerful feature we have is Viral Loops Pages.

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

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

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

The Campaigns' Dashboard

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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