Affiliate, Reciprocal and Viral Marketing Techniques: What Are They and How to Use Them

The process of building brand awareness and an online presence without the use of PPC campaigns can be a long winded and frustrating process. With the use of Affiliate, Reciprocal, and Viral Marketing, this issue might be a thing of the past. Let us break down how you can make these techniques work for your business.

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There are many ways to use online marketing to boost the awareness of your brand. With the rise of digital marketing in the past decade, promoting your business online has become a cost effective way to increase your online presence, and provide your brand the platform to reach new audiences.

However, without the use of PPC campaigns, a brand may find it difficult to increase the amount of traffic on their websites and grow a sizable online audience in a short period of time. So some creative action needs to happen here. If only brands could make use of the audiences available to other brands’ online channels… There’s an idea! 

Affiliate, Reciprocal, and Viral Marketing affords brands the opportunity to increase the traffic directed to their own website, by displaying links or content on the websites of other brands. 

Let’s take a look at each of these online marketing techniques:

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing refers to a relationship between two or more brands, the merchant and affiliates, in order to generate traffic and sales for the merchant’s website. This is often done by placing links on an affiliate’s website that direct visitors to a complementary product or service on the merchant’s website.

The objective of Affiliate Marketing is to generate an increase in traffic to their website, by taking advantage of the audience available to the affiliate. With this increase in traffic, the merchant will be able to achieve their goal of generating more leads from the increased volume of traffic, and stand a better chance of closing more sales.

A payment, or fee structure is usually agreed upon in this type of marketing, as a merchant will pay a commission to the affiliate for the increased traffic that is directed towards their own website.

So how can you use Affiliate Marketing in your business? Well it’s simple! As soon as you have discovered a product or company that is complementary to your brand, contacting them to discuss an arrangement where they make use of links to your website should be a piece of cake. As long as you are offering them the right commission structure. Do not forget to choose a complementary brand that has access to an audience of the right size to serve your marketing objectives. An audience that is too small will not yield the expected results, and an audience too large will translate into a commission fee that exceeds the marketing budget.

Reciprocal Marketing

Reciprocal Marketing follows a similar structure to Affiliate Marketing, with the most notable difference being that instead of an agreed upon fee structure, both parties will enter an arrangement where they both promote links to each other’s website. In this situation, both parties will perform the merchant and affiliate roles.

This online marketing technique is a cost effective way to gain more impressions on a brand’s website, however, it is important to note that both brands should be able to provide each other a similar amount of impressions for it to be considered a fair trade. Therefore, Reciprocal Marketing is only beneficial to both brands if they each have a similarly sized audience that can provide traffic on the other brand’s website.

The focus of Reciprocal Marketing should be finding a brand that offers a complimentary product and or content similar to your own, for example, establishing a website partner relationship that promotes the website of a photo framing brand once a customer has purchased printed photos from your website, and vice versa. This allows for sharing of viewers and potential customers between both brands, who have provided an immediate solution to their purchasing or information problems.

Reciprocal Marketing techniques can be implemented into your marketing efforts once the correct complementary brand has been identified. Similar to Affiliate Marketing, contacting the brand in order to create the mutually beneficial relationship should not be difficult. Once the relationship is cemented in place, the agreed upon links need to be installed on both websites. And these links can take the form of something as simple as links to each other’s blog posts!

Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing is different from both Affiliate and Reciprocal Marketing in that the manner in which traffic is directed to a merchant’s website is not static, but dynamic in nature. To elaborate on this, Viral Marketing focuses on using individuals to share a marketing message to an audience in an attempt to create a viral message, instead of promoting a website link on affiliates’ websites. There are many ways in which these individuals are motivated to share the content, often by incentising them monetarily, with competition based prizes, or exposure for their own social media accounts.

This type of online marketing effectively works like an E version of word-of-mouth, as individuals are encouraged to share a brand’s marketing message to as many people as possible through channels such as Instagram Stories and Facebook. An example of Viral Marketing can be seen in  competitions that require individuals to share a brand’s Instagram post to their Story and tag a friend to stand a chance to win a prize, with the winner selected at random.

In order to guarantee the success of this technique, it is important to keep in mind certain elements that can help a message go viral, such as: a strong emotional resonance, a recognisable name or a just cause, a good understanding of the audience and their responses, simplicity in the message, and the ability to reach the audience. Therefore, in order to make Viral Marketing successful in your business, you need to create a message with a recognizable and memorable tag-line, with content that creates excitement in the audience and encourages them to spread awareness of this message to others. Making the message easily shareable through a hashtag or a resharable post is a good way to give the audience the tools to do your marketing for you.

Ready to Tackle Online Marketing

So, which online marketing technique will you be using to take your business to superstar level in the digital marketing world? Join our Facebook Group and let us know what is working for you, and your business.

Still hungry for more Oviond digital marketing insights? Take a look at our blog page and see what else we have to offer!