Referral and Advertising Programs
Importance of Referral and Advertising Programs for Internet Marketing Campaigns
Referral marketing is the kind of marketing where you target customers so that they spread positive word of mouth about your products or services. This article reports that according to New York Times, 65% of all businesses happen through referrals. Brand advocacy has become an important part of most marketing campaigns. Businesses often reward customers who create their own content to promote their products. These customers are also invited to share their own experiences that are published as customer testimonials.
It is common knowledge that a person usually gets convinced much faster by someone he knows closely and sees as a well-wisher than a random person. Hence, customers are incentivized to spread a positive word on their own networks. Social media has made that extremely easy. Also content, which appears on neutral platforms like a Facebook or Twitter or blog critique of a product seems to be unbiased and hence drives more engagement and faster conversions.
That is why as a marketer, you will have to strategize and develop a robust referral program. It can be used to target old customers, new prospects, leads and most importantly acquire new audience who were outside the influence of your own marketing channels and efforts. However, remember that the success of a referral program depends as much on the execution as it depends on the quality of product and service delivered. If there is a mismatch between expectations and reality, the program would eventually fail. Hence, first try to create a large number of happy customers in whatever industry or field you represent or want to explore.
Advertising program management is another important aspect of marketing. Since, a number of campaigns and different types of advertisements are launched simultaneously across multiple platforms and channels and often targeted to the same and different audiences, a program has to be developed that coordinates and measures the performance of each campaign.
Funds may be reallocated from one to another depending on the money used, direct conversion and profit achieved and which show greater promise of delivery even in the future. Advertising is the most expensive element of the promotional mix of a company and need to be integrated properly into the overall marketing effort. Meticulous planning and stellar execution is necessary for resource and reach optimization while also ensuring the best possible conversion.
1. Referral Programs vs Demographics on Own Site
Importance of referral programs in your overall marketing mix can’t be overstated. Referrals tend to bring in loyal customers who have 25% higher life cycle and place 20% greater annual average order value than their non-referred peers according to this Huffington Post report.
Also, marketers agree that this is one of the most cost effective channels of marketing and the effort needed to acquire a new customer is also less in comparison to other forms of advertising. It can also reduce the sales cycle as people believe people they trust in general and when they recommend a product, more often than not they get convinced and make a purchase.
Demographics on your own site refer to your existing customer base details of which already exist on your CRM. When you have a customer base, you need to run loyalty programs, contests and provide special promotional offers directed at them along with superior products, service and support during their entire lifecycle. The aim and challenge is to increase the lifecycle and keep them happy so that they make purchases frequently and also upgrade to higher value and margin sales through the period.
Once you have a considerably large and loyal customer base, you can then incentivize them to promote your business in their own social networks and communities. Some would do it because of the positive experience they have had and some would do it for special offers, incentives that you offer them. But, since the cost is much less compared to other channels while the return is tremendously high, it doesn’t hurt.
Referrals may be useful for professional services, B2B market, technology products, financial products, high margin products like real estate and auto and also when you have a strong customer base, good reputation and when your product is in the growth and maturity stage of its lifecycle.
Mobilizing your own loyal customer base can be helpful in the initial stage of a product lifecycle and towards the end, in case you manage to show new uses of the product to the existing customers. They also work for low profit and sales margin products, products which are purchased repeatedly like fashion and lifestyle products, vitamins/supplements and cigarettes, etc, industries and markets where competition is immense and margin is small.
Loyalty programs don’t hurt your profit margins if the average order value is high and the items are purchased repeatedly throughout the customer lifecycle, which in effect, creates a high customer lifetime value (CLV).
2. Space for Advertisers on Your Own Site
Direct advertising is an attractive option for space sellers as well as advertisers. This is a little different from affiliate marketing where there is a platform that acts as an aggregator or facilitator of the business transactions and demands a commission which is usually a percentage of your deal, as their fee. Direct advertising allows you to be in complete control and you can decide the number of banner, other display ads, contextual ads or sponsored content that you want to publish. This model is beneficial to advertisers as well as direct marketers.
To monetize your website, one of the first things that you need to do is attract heavy website traffic. But that’s no good if the bounce rate is very high or the level of engagement is low and users frequently can’t find what they are looking for or feel deceived because they thought they will find something you promised but ultimately turned out to be a hoax.
Now, in order to improve your page rank, on-page and off-page optimizations that lead to higher page rank and greater search queries that match your targeted keywords is a better ploy. In order to boost the page rank, you could think of the following:
- Build more quality inward links.
- Have an organized internal linking structure.
- Update your website design. Make it responsive and mobile-friendly. Make it user-friendly and make sure that the UI doesn’t look too old. Remember to add a sitemap. If you don’t have enough resources to hire a top design firm, host a design contest on a site like 99designs where talented designers can collaborate to create a fresh design for your site. No advertiser likes to work with a site which looks outdated and the UX looks ramshackle.
- Get your website listed on online directories and bookmarking services.
- Have attractive content of different forms like video, blogs, great web page copies, optimized landing pages and completely updated pages without any broken links. Have simple and easy to use subscription forms that make subscriptions painless.
Apart from this, an advertiser not only wants good page rank but also a strong social media presence. You will need to have well connected accounts and link them to pages where the ads or sponsored content is present. Advertisers would also see how many times they get discussed in your own social community.
You would need to approach them and offer them a media kit that contains reports of the various metrics you have used. Moz Rank, Alexa Rank, Domain Authority, Google Page Rank, Number of unique visitors per month, Daily unique page views, Time spent on your site, Bounce rate, number of social media followers, success rate of your influencer programs, et all will all be considered.
Convince companies how your website can give them a shot in the arm. Also, keep reminding them in the newsletter and emails that you advertise on your site. Mention it at the top and bottom of your site as well. Provide them with flexibility to choose the type of advertisement options they would like to utilize- banner ads, sponsored content, social media contests, guest posts, videos promoting their business or product or other forms of multimedia content.
3. Demographic/ Traffic Details/ Conversion Opportunities
Understand the concept of demographics and identifying the ideal customer profile for the product or service you are promoting is extremely important. Without segmenting the market, you would just be spending your money on a blanket promotional campaign which would pay very little as there would be a lot of wastage. If you are promoting something for teenagers and 20-somethings, it would make sense to use newspapers as a vehicle because hardly any youngster reads newspapers these days. Even on social media, there are certain websites, platforms and forums which appeal to this target group more than others. By identifying and learning more about the ideal buyer persona, you can reach out to them more effectively.
Every product has a unique selling proposition which must match/ complement the ideal customer profile. If the product doesn’t solve the problems they face, it would be useless to market it to them. Understanding demographics not only optimizes marketing costs but also increases sale as you are reaching the right customers who are interested in your product or where looking out for something similar.
Whether it is your social media pages, your website or demo and promotional videos you create, everything should have a target audience. Trying to sell to everybody means you are selling to none.
Whether you are promoting your business on your own website or you are promoting it on affiliate sites and direct marketing platforms, traffic will be one of the most hotly debated topics. A website that fails to get enough footfalls per month, or unique page views per day or people don’t stay for long and bounce out, is a failed proposition.
When buying space for a PPC or display ad on a website, or sponsoring content or contests, you need to seek out important metrics and traffic details. Also, a website audit that tells you whether the average traffic to this website matches your ideal buyer persona should be mandatorily carried out. Ask for a media kit where all the important site metrics and details about the social media promotions, are listed. These statistics can guide you to find the right website and through it you can find the ideal traffic that you are seeking.
Conversion refers to the number of leads that ultimately perform an action that you have recommended. For digital marketers and advertisers, conversion opportunities could be defined in a number of ways. Are you looking for direct sales? Or maybe you want to induce a new product trial. Are you looking to increase the market share by acquiring new customers, cross-selling/ up-selling or trying to get them to sign up for your loyalty programs, referral programs, social media contests or newsletters. Whenever you succeed in achieving one of the above, you have a successful conversion, whether it directly results in revenue generation or not.
Digital marketers have a number of opportunities to convert their customers through a well defined sales funnel. Great content, great web design, engaging topics, contests, incentives for referral and loyalty programs, content suitable for consumption on multiple devices, sponsored content and native advertising are all different ways to create a two-way communication with your customers. Make your marketing more data-driven and look to integrate all your marketing channels. Provide great after sales service and a platform whether prospective customers can get their doubts cleared just before or after they make a purchase.
A well informed thought leader or influencer can play this role. Hence, gear a portion of your marketing expenses towards them as well. Brand advocacy should be promoted aggressively. Rather than looking at prospects and customers as one-time sales opportunities, look at them as stakeholders. Keep them informed by not only informing them about product developments and promoting it to them while giving special discounts and incentives, but also sharing behind the scene stories, employee stories and personal opinions of your top brass in your networks and social media communities. Make them a part of your everyday business journey and conversion opportunities would be presented!
Internet Advertising Options
As a marketer, you have a number of advertising options to explore on the digital domain. With a number of platforms to choose from which are fragmented but also complementary, quantifiable results, better returns, terrific segmentation and targeting options, rise in the number of users and because of its less intrusive nature, online advertisement is the preferred option for most marketers today.
Types of Online Adverts:
- Pay per click (PPC): PPC could be segmented into search ads and contextual ads. Here, an advertiser needs to do thorough research to understand the ideal buyer profile, do thorough research on consumer demographics, identify their problems and how this product can solve them and finally use tools to identify the keywords or phrases that customers would search for. Now, thorough an online auction, you can either buy those keywords that you hope or know your prospects would use in their search queries when looking for your products. These ads may appear on the SERP or on affiliate websites or websites that has an understanding with a popular search engine and allows ads to be published on their site depending on how relevant the chosen keywords are to the content on the website. Every time, someone clicks on that advert link or searches for a keyword, you have to pay the search engine. This is an expensive option but very effective.
- Social media advertising: Another effective model, it has a high reach impact and tremendous targeting potential. You can choose and set up campaigns based on different budgets, search criteria, demographics which may include geo-targeting, age/gender/ SEC targeting, educational qualification and also behavioral and psychographic segmentation which may include lifestyle, preferences, habits, beliefs, etc. You have a number of options here. Facebook, Twitter, Baidu Teiba, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest etc have their own unique advantages and target groups. The expenditure is moderate, especially when compared to traditional mass media.
- Cost per mille (CPM)/ Banner ad: Cost per mille is a concept where you pay for the number of times your ad is displayed rather than the period for which it is displayed on a website or search results page. You save some money because you don’t have to pay for those who are not shown the ad, as per claims. However, if the people shown the ad don’t click the link, your efforts may fail. Banner ad is a short visual block which contains a little copy, logo, colors and even images or .gifs that you want to show. However, banner ads are not as effective as they were in the past and you will also have to make the ad exclusive to a website or search page so that it is absolutely relevant to the visitors.
- Sponsored content: People today have a short attention span and don’t like intrusive ads. Hence, one of the best ways is to promote your ad in the form of useful information or consumable content. You can either promote a blog post/ social media write-up, a contest hosted by an influencer and since these are often perceived to be unbiased, people who visit and consume the content and also follow outbound links to visit the website (in case the writer makes a recommendation). Similarly, posting guest posts on popular blogs can help you to drive traffic back to your landing pages and increases chances of conversion.
Internet Marketing Media Kit Creation
Media kits distributed among traditional media or online media companies are a great way to get free promotion. Your prospects and customers have become circumspect about adverts which boast but then deliver little on the extravagant claims. An editorial or advertorial or a simple media report can however, grab many more eyeballs since journalists are known for their integrity and independence.
When promoting an e-book, blog or website or even products, you should not only describe the products, talk about the potential customers and well-known clients, provide visuals and customer testimonials, positive reviews and awards, a sample of your product but also important metrics if it is an online or digital product like an e-book or blog.
Direct marketers can use media kits to promote their websites and blogs to advertisers. They will have to provide such metrics as daily unique page views, clicks on links, social media following and number of positive social indicators, time spent on your site, number of downloads of the book or some other downloadable material, number of subscriptions and signups for contests, size of your customer base, effectiveness of your influencer and affiliate marketing efforts, the quality of content and downloads, views, references, etc.
At Globibo Media, we excel at creating media kits due to years of experience in dealing with both traditional and new media. We can help you target different types of media companies as well as advertisers by creating separate kits for everybody, while also keeping the costs low.
Conversion Tracking and Relationship Building with Internet Marketing Partners
Conversion tracking has been discussed throughout this article. There is nothing more important. Tracking your conversions not only allow you to increase your reach and target those who want to convert but also reduce your marketing resource wastage. You can also reallocate resources once you know how the different elements of your promotional and marketing mix are playing out- which is functioning optimally and which isn’t.
When you need to form efficient marketing partnerships, these data and results of these metrics will be sought. If you are getting into a partnership with a blogger or social media thought leader, you will have to ask for proof of conversion and traffic too. Look at their following, check their profiles, see whether they match your ideal buyer persona, look at the level of engagement and respect that the influencer commands.
Apart from select sales channel partnerships, you could also have revenue partners, product partners and also partnerships where similar or complementary product manufacturers come together to utilize each other’s resources and marketing channels. This way resource utilization can be optimized and both can derive new leads from the other’s efforts and marketing channels.
Many companies jointly host contests, promote each other’s products or services, allow guest posts on each other’s blogs, promote white hat link sharing, republish the content published on the other’s network with their permission, thus increasing reach, re-tweeting, liking and commenting on each other’s networks.
Marketing efforts could also be jointly managed through shared responsibilities. Industry events and tradeshow news can be published and analyzed on each other’s websites. One can sponsor and partner the other’s online webinars or offline seminars and events. This increases visibility. Pooling resources also gives greater leveraging power when dealing with online marketing agencies, affiliate marketers and even search engines and social media sites.
At Globibo Media, we are experts in tracking conversions through our own analytics tools and also popular tools. We take constant inputs and feedbacks as we create and manage your conversion tracking programs. Similarly, we can recommend and find the right partners so that you can mutually benefit and draw from each other’s strengths. We will also help you understand and articulate clearly your mission objectives and expectations from the partnership.
At Globibo Media, we can also help you make your websites more attractive that would appeal to prospective advertisers and also help you design your loyalty and referral programs for best results. For any assistance or query, shoot an email at us or give us a call.