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Taking Control of Refer-A-Friend Marketing
Viral or refer-a-friend marketing is rapidly gaining attention in the public recently. This marketing strategy, known for using word-of-mouth to advertise and promote websites, has become a hit for its alleged ability to attract lots of traffic.
By: Homar Murillo
A major problem amongst refer-a-friend marketers today is that they have no discipline and effective control over their viral marketing campaign. Analysts have discovered that the cost of the overnight coverage of the market is close to becoming utter chaos as the marketing message and brand of the business is indiscriminately spammed by fervent consumers. Most marketers consider this total lack of control as just another viral marketing phenomenon, but in truth this is just an indication of poor marketing management.
Another concern that causes viral marketing campaigns to go overboard is the marketer’s habit to put monetary incentives on their marketing messages. Monetary incentives, in which people are given cash whenever they refer a friend, are seen to be the quickest and easiest way to motivate people to make endorsements and allow marketers to harness the power of the word-of-mouth chain of communication. However, this is a dangerous misconception as monetary incentives only lead to increased market coverage with only minimal control. Furthermore, the marketing message is also often diluted as it passes along the chain, as people are more concerned about the compensation they will be getting rather than passing on the message correctly.
Viral marketing strategies all have the same goal of motivating people to channels in which to pass on marketing messages, and any attempt to create a new marketing channel for a person also introduces the concept of increasing coverage of the market while gradually losing control of the marketing process. However, unless it is kept in check the refer-a-friend marketing strategy will become highly inefficient and cost the marketer dearly in time and finances.
There are different degrees of discipline available to refer-a-friend marketers in order to exert control over their marketing campaign, but all of these begin with analysis and strategic planning. Through disciplined analysis and planning, the marketing campaign is systematized and any loose end that may lead to loss of control over the campaign is remedied. Also, marketers must reinforce awareness of the marketing message in the incentives they give out to prevent it from being diluted as it passed along the viral chain. Monetary compensation must also be avoided altogether and incentives must have a cap so as to prevent users from spamming the message to others.
By constant reinforcement and monitoring of the marketing campaign as it goes on, refer-a-friend marketers will gradually have a foothold over the direction of their marketing strategy. This in turn would lead to a more efficient operations and a positive investment return.