All Posts in Viral Marketing

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 🐶

May 8, 2018 - No Comments!

These 5 podcasts are teaching you the importance of referral marketing

Even though Podcasts are around since 2004, my first encounter with one that made me stick was The Tim Ferris Show.

From there I started consuming content in that medium more and more, as it doesn't need so much of my attention- I can even wash the dishes without taking my eyes from my hands. 👀

If you pay any attention to how digital businesses shape their marketing efforts, you have probably realized that podcasting has a “renaissance” as more and more businesses invest time and money into it.

With podcasting content and talent, constantly improving it’s certain that podcasts are here to stay and possibly, you still have time to start one for your business.

But, why is podcasting so important for business? And why I’m writing a post about podcasting even though Viral Loops has nothing to do about it?

The reason podcasting is important.

There is a fanatic audience.

According to Edison Research, Podcast consumers are about 2% of all listeners. Before you say that this is a very small number, you should know that most podcast listeners spend almost 4 hours listening to content.

Plus, there are about 13 million podcast listeners worldwide. Do you still think that the number is small?

Distribution is expanding.

Almost everyone owns a smartphone. A large part of this population sticks their eyeballs on their screens from the moment they wake up, to the moment they go to sleep.

That being said, it’s only natural for big platforms like Android getting into play by offering their Podcasting app pre-installed (Apple already does this for some years).

That means that more and more people will get easier access to discovering new podcasts every day.

Did you know that 44% of all radio listening takes place in cars?

This is how has terrestrial radio remained relative despite it’s declining trend, and podcasts come as a modern counterpart to this old habit.

More and more vehicle come internet-enabled, and this will help provide easy access to streams.

Those two reasons alone, are enough for you to consider starting a podcast for your business.

Podcasting is a great (and more humanitarian) way to let people know about your ideas, educate, entertain and provoke them to start a dialogue.

If you decide to do it, the only advice I have for you is the same that I always give when it comes to creating content;

Be consistent, and iterate. 💪

Why am I writing about podcasts?

Where there’s smoke, there’s also fire, right?

No, I’m not starting my own podcast (not yet). The reason behind this prolonged introduction to podcasts is simply to present to you, some that our own CEO- yes, Savvas, recently participated in.

Here they are:

Using Viral Marketing to grow your audience with Savvas Zortikis from Viral Loops.


Grow Like Dropbox: Data Inspired Viral Marketing.

How Viral Loops Replicated Amazon’s Growth Model w/ Savvas Zortikis.

Fireside chat series: Savvas Zortikis, CEO & co-founder of Viral Loops.

Savvas Zortikis: CEO of Viral Loops & Co-founder of Growthrocks II Growth Framework (Sean Ellis + Brian Balfour) II ViralLoop Growth II Part 1.

Before you go!

Don’t be a party pooper. Go on and listen to the podcasts and let Savvas know your thoughts and questions!

You can contact him either on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Until the next time, keep being awesome 🙂

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

April 17, 2018 - No Comments!

Why Your Company Needs A Pre-Launch Campaign

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

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

Why Your Company Needs A Pre-Launch Campaign
They created a huge prelaunch hype.

By the day that the store began selling this clothing line, the girls which were supposed to buy it, already raved about it.

Pre-launch campaigns play a major role in how people will perceive your product even before they get it in their hands.

It’s true that Forever21’s success is due to the celebrities involved, and like most of us, you may not have that kind of resources.

So what do you do? And why the heck do we write about pre-launch campaigns by using Ambassador Referral Campaigns?

We have the answer to both questions. Let’s get straight to it.

What do you have in stash for early adopters?

This is a crucial question to ask.

The is no straight answer to that, but there are some options:

  • Discounts.
  • Extended product features.
  • Early access.

Note: If you want to learn more about what kind of rewards you can offer for your ambassadors, we have an exclusive guide (which we update weekly) about it delivered straight to your messenger inbox!

I think that providing discounts is pretty straight-forward, so I’ll move right to proving extended product features.

Think of something in the same lines with Dropbox providing extra space on the cloud for the more people you referred.

So, if you for example run subscription-model business with different pricing plans, you can either give early adopters the chance to use it for free or get the perks of a higher plan even if they purchase a smaller one.

Now, have you ever heard of FOMO?

Why Your Company Needs A Pre-Launch Campaign

FOMO a.k.a. Fear Of Missing Out is a powerful force.

So powerful, in fact, that simply making potential customers feel like they might be missing out on something can often move them to action.

56% of surveyed adults admit that FOMO impacts their media usage habits, for example, compelling them to look at social media again and again.

Marketers can harness FOMO by creating an impression of exclusivity through the use of wait lists, limited supply, and time limits.

FOMO is the principle that makes giving early access to users so important on pre-launch campaigns.

And  Robinhood took advantage of that principle.

As a part of their pre-launch strategy, the Robinhood team invited potential app lovers to gain invitation-only, early access to its private beta.

Instead of inviting potential Robinhood users to join a mailing list, the company appealed to its interested fans’ desire to be the first to benefit from what Robinhood had to offer.

And this offer was so enticing, that it got the attention of Hacker News, which was “Every engineer's dream in the Valley," according to co-founder Vlad Tenev.

How can you do it for your business?

Well the first step you must take is to set up your ambassador referral program, and our Milestone Referral Template is the best choice for running a pre-launch campaign for your new product.

Here's how it works.

Your participants join the Milestone Referral campaign and reach milestones as they refer more and more friends to join the campaign.

Why Your Company Needs A Pre-Launch Campaign

For example, the first milestone can be at 5 referrals, then at 15, 30 and so on.

To do a pre-launch campaign with this concept you may have the milestones to be specific dates that campaign participants are going to get access your product, starting with the date that is furthest away.

The more friends a participant brings to your campaign, the earlier they will get access.

Take a look at the following God-awful example graphic (sorry, I promise to improve my design skills):

Why Your Company Needs A Pre-Launch Campaign

The participants that refer just 5 friends will get access in late June but those that bring at least 25 referrals will get access first on May 1st.

The gamification aspect of the Milestone Referral template makes it very appealing to your campaign participants and you can get great engagement on such a campaign.

TL;DR

Pre-launch campaigns play a major role in how people will perceive your product even before they get it in their hands.

By providing extra space in the cloud for the more people you referred, Dropbox opened the way for referral marketing, and one of the best ways to get the chance to achieve similar results is by running a Pre-Launch campaign using an Ambassador program.

People like to be rewarded, but they always want more.

That being said, you can set up your ambassador referral program using our Milestone Referral Template - which BTW, is the best choice for running a pre-launch campaign for your new product.

Until the next time,
Keep being awesome 😎

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

April 11, 2018 - No Comments!

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

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

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

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

Effective copywriting.

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

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

That’s why we’re here to help.

We want to share our top 3 copywriting quick tips.

1. Speak Their Language

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

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

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

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

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

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

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

2. Develop a Distinctive Voice

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

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

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

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

It’s spunky.

It’s playful.

It’s thoughtful.

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

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

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

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

3. Avoid Passivity

How do you want customers to see your business?

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

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

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

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

"The dog ate the taco." - Active 🐶🌮

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

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

Your content should be engaging.

Your content should be accessible.

Your content should be active.

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

Going places.

Doing things.

Experiencing life.

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

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

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

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

Take this sentence, for example:

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

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

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

Copywriting + Referral Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven

Like peanut butter and jelly.

Tea and crumpets.

Beer and peanuts.

Copywriting and referral marketing are an inseparable duo.

The Importance Of Copywriting in Referral Marketing

By:

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

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

Until the next time,
Keep being awesome 😎

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

March 21, 2018 - No Comments!

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

They say to err is human.

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

No big deal if your error is missing a typo when editing your business cards and having to reprint them. ☎️📧

Or ordering 20 boxes of paper when you meant to order 2. 🖨️📄

But when you’re running an e-commerce startup or small business, some errors can have serious financial ramifications.

Ultimately, errors often mean lost profits.😭

One common marketing technique that’s prone to errors is referral marketing.  

Don’t get me wrong—an effective (read: error-free) referral marketing program is a surefire way to gain customers and boost sales.

Customers are, after all, four times more likely to buy a product recommended by friends or family.  

But if you’re looking to secure some profitable referral buzz,  🐝 do yourself a favor.

Take a look at the most common referral marketing mistakes we see and how you can successfully avoid potential pitfalls that could cost you both money, time and loss of potential sales — neither of which you likely have to spare.

Selecting Boring Incentives

To develop a successful referral program, you must tempt customers with rewards attractive enough to entice them to take the time to log on to social media and actually refer potential clients to your business.

And without spending a fortune. 💰💰💰

One of the biggest referral marketing mistakes we see, is companies (from big businesses to fledgling e-commerce sites) trying to save a buck as they attempt to entice customers with lackluster incentives.

Let’s face it. You’re not going to gain many new prospects offering customers a logoed stress ball or free promotional pen. 😴 💤

How much excitement do you think these bland offerings will elicit?

#SpoilerAlert. Not much.

 4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

Do this instead: Give customers what they really want. And be willing to spend some money to do it.

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

Gilt did this masterfully, developing a comprehensive insider program to encourage referrals.

To appeal to their broad customer base, Gilt 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.

Complicating the #$&! Out of Your Program

You have only seconds to get the details of your referral program across to your visitors.

Some stats to consider:

The average webpage visit lasts less than a minute.

Readers spend between 15 and 20 seconds per individual email.

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

You don’t have much time to share the details of your program. Between 15 seconds and a minute. Take much longer, and you can almost guarantee a New-Yorker-style “fuggetaboutit” from customers.

The longer your explanation, the less likely your customers will understand and participate in your campaign. In addition, developing a program that’s too complex can also make it look like you’ve got to hide.

Fine print for days leads customers to wonder...am I being played?

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

And you’re certainly not going to get a customer referral from someone who’s suspicious of your intentions.

Do this instead: Keep. It. Simple.

E-commerce company, Robinhood, kept it simple – and won big-time – as they prepared to launch in 2017.

✅ Their pitch was clear and uncomplicated – $0 commission stock trading.

✅ Their process was streamlined – simply sign up with your email address.

✅ Their intentions were direct – customers only had one option – opt-in.

✅ Their follow-up email was automatic — ensuring customers felt the love. 💓

By making it easy for customers to sign up and share their referrals, Robinhood got what they wanted – a bank of potential clients ready and eager to use their product upon launch.

Putting it on Autopilot

Your referral marketing strategy is not something that you can set and forget. ⏰

If you want your program to translate to sales, you need to review, revisit and revamp (if necessary) on a regular basis.

Failing to review your program is one of the biggest mistakes we see. It could mean that you’re tossing money out the window, continuing to fund a referral program that’s not doing much to bring people your way.

Which, basically, means you’re burning cash.

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

Do this instead: Before you launch your program, develop a follow-up plan for assessing its effectiveness.

One company that got that right is Airbnb.

They established six specific metrics to track the ongoing health of their program.

By setting success measures from the start, Airbnb kept all stakeholders in the loop and ensured everyone was rowing in the same direction. 🚣‍🚣🚣🏽‍

Pro Tip - Conducting ongoing assessments is decidedly easier if you use a robust referral marketing software to systematically track the health of your program and deliver up-to-date data to you when you need it. 📊

Giving Up Too Soon

You want sales…

And you want them now.

So when you see that a program you launched two weeks ago isn’t bringing in the millions you hoped for, you feel compelled through throw in the towel.

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that results take time.  

It doesn’t matter if what marketing strategy you’re implementing. Whether you’re trying email marketing or starting a simple campaign to increase click-through rates, marketing programs need time to bake. Be consistent and tweak your program...but don’t give up.

Do this instead: In order to avoid falling victim to this common mistake, you need to undergo a complete paradigm shift.

4 Mistakes That Kill Your Referral Marketing Campaigns

Don’t think of your referral marketing efforts as a quick fix that will patch up the holes in your company. Instead, think of it as an ongoing system that will continually feed your company a healthy diet of new customers.

That’s what MailChimp did, fulling investing in this method of marketing and continually reinventing their referral program — with snazzy new incentives.

In the 17 years since MailChimp launched, referral marketing made a major difference.

If MailChimp had given up the first time someone wasn’t as enthusiastic about the prospect of winning a cat 😺 hat 🎩 as they had hoped, none of this would have happened.

With time and effort, though, referral marketing can produce the growth you seek.

It happened for MailChimp.

It can happen for you.

TL;DR

Let's recap. If you want your referral marketing campaign to live up to its true potential, you MUST NOT:

  1. Select Boring Incentives.
  2. Make your referral marketing campaign complicated.
  3. Put your campaign in autopilot mode.
  4. Give up too soon!

The devil's in the details. As long as you pay attention to avoiding the aforementioned mistakes, you're- more or less, good to go!

For the rest (meaning, building and running your referral marketing campaign), you have our assistance😎

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

February 16, 2018 - No Comments!

5 Must watch metrics for your Referral Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, to our main subject:

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

The Viral Coefficient (K-Factor)

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

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

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

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

🤩

Participant Conversion Rate

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

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

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

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

Participant Share Rate

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

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

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

Invitation Click Through Rate

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

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

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

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

Invitation Conversion Rate

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

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

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

TL;DR

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

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

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

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

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

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