As we are getting closer to launching our first product, I decided to write this blog to explain a bit more about what FarOut actually does and if it is a good fit for your business.
First of all, FarOut is a digital marketing product; and like all marketing solutions, its end goal is to boost your sales and/or increase your brand awareness and consideration. If a marketing tool cannot eventually help your business to reach either of these goals, I bet you it is trash and please stay away.
And yes, so as other marketing products, we aim to help your business to boost your revenue and brand awareness, yet in our own unique way. If you are running a business, I’m pretty sure you are more or less aware of a variety of digital marketing strategies such as: Search Engine Optimization, pay per click (paid ads in social media and Google ads), referral marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, content marketing, review generation, coupon marketing, content marketing, etc. If you don’t know about either of them, there are tons of online resources that you can find useful info and compare the pros and cons of each. I found these two resources as reliable and informative resources to get started: WebFX and ShaneBarker.
FarOut in a nutshell
Without spending too much on what various digital marketing tools are, let’s focus on the promise of this article:
FarOut’s mission is to maximize the power of word-of-mouth and social media by placing your customers at the heart of your marketing campaign. You can imagine FarOut as a referral program where every typical customer can promote your brand by sharing a customized post (not just a generic link) on their favorite social media like an influencer; in exchange for a discount/reward from you.
Indeed, FarOut efficiently integrates four well-known marketing strategies: Referral, social media, influencer, and review marketing; yet it is our own unique way. Note that we are not a platform that offers all these marketing approaches separately but in a one-stop shop. Instead, we deliver the advantages of these marketing approaches using our one-of-a-kind solution. Just a quick stats on the effectiveness of these marketing strategies:
- Referral/word-of-mouth: According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising (source)
- Social media: Stats show that there are 3.5 billion, ~45% of the word population, social media users worldwide (source)
- Influencer Marketing: Businesses are making $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing (source)
- Online reviews: 91% of consumers between the age of 18 to 34 are big believers of online reviews, trusting them as much as personal recommendations (source).
Quick review on the four relevant marketing strategies
Before discussing how FarOut works and how it delivers its promises, let’s quickly review these four popular and effective marketing strategies. Please skip this section if you are already familiar with these marketing strategies.
Definition: Simply put referral marketing as spreading the word about a product or service through a business’ existing customers, rather than traditional advertising.
How it works? Your customer shares a link about your product with their friends via email, SMS, social media, etc. If their friend (i.e., a new customer) takes an action on the link (typically by making a new purchase or signup), then both sides of the referral coin get rewarded. Depending on the goal of referral marketing, the link redirects the customer to where they need to take an action (e.g., a product page on the business website). Here, a referral program software makes this process easier by (a) generating the referral link, (b) sending/showing the referral link to the customer, © tracking activities on the referral link, and (d) if everything goes well, reward both new and old customers.
Definition: According to Wikipedia, social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience to build your brand, listen to and engage your followers, drive website traffic, and run social media advertisements.
How it works? One approach is to create a business page on one or more social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, etc) so as to publish contents and get connected with your customers. This also leads to generating more traffic to your websites and, hopefully, sales. The other way of marketing on social media is running paid ads. In a simple way, you set up an ad campaign on a social-media platform (e.g., facebook), they show your ads to your target audience and will charge you either per click or 1000 impressions.
Definition: Influencer marketing involves a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market your brand’s message, your products or services. Influencers are persons who have the social power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their followers. So, rather than marking to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire, hire, and pay influencers to get the word out for you.
How it works? You first should find the right influencer in your niche. This can be done through yourself, a marketing agency, or an influencing marketing platform. Next, you pay the influencer to promote and introduce your brand with their audience (usually via a social-media platform).
Definition: Review marketing builds your online reputation and uses social proof to increase the likelihood of consumers choosing your company when searching for goods and services you provide. Why is online reviews important? Just think about how many times you might have changed your purchasing decision depending on online poor 1-start reviews vs 4-or-5 star reviews.
How it works? You follow up with your customers (by yourself using email or a review generation software) and ask them to leave a review either on your website or the popular websites (e.g., Amazon, Google, Yelp, etc).
How FarOut works?
Now that you are familiar with the major marketing components of FarOut, let’s see how it works and how it integrates multiple marketing strategies into one unified marketing.
FarOut platform has 2 major products: (1) Business product (currently in the form of a Shopify App), (2) Customer product (branded as social-sharing platform).
Having these two products, here is how FarOut platform works:
Step 1: The business sets up a campaign (you can do it in less than 2 minutes, I promise), where the major component of the campaign is how much reward/discount (e.g., 20% off on all products) they are willing to give away if the customer shares a customized post (not just a link like traditional referral software) on their favorite social media.
Step 2: Once a customer successfully placed an order, the FarOut Shopify App shows a pop-up window to the customer that encourages them to share a post on their favorite social media and get rewarded. This is where the two products (i.e., the two sides of the marketplace: business and customer) interacts with each other. Well, of course, FarOut considers alternative plans, such as follow-up emails or even mailing a physical card with a QR code in the shipped package, to get in touch with those customers who are missing this pop-up window.
Step 3: By clicking on the pop-up window (or the related link in the email), the customer actually enters the social-sharing platform. What will happen on this platform?
3.1. Customer shares their social-media username,
3.2. Customer picks a photo, rate and write a comment (optional) about the store,
3.3. FarOut generates a ready-to-post photo that is automatically saved into the customer’s library. This photo includes:
- Customer’s photo, rating, and comment,
- Business social media page and hashtags (from the business product)
- (non-active) Promo Code that FarOut generates.
3.4. Customer shares the saved photo on their social media profile and keep it at least for 24 hours.
Step 4: Once the customer shares the post, FarOut technology monitors the customer’s post using advanced artificial intelligence algorithms; and makes sure it is up for at least for 24 hours.
Step 5: If the post is verified, FarOut will activate the Promo Code and automatically create a discount code on the business (Shopify) store; with no action required from the business. Then, the customer and their followers can simply redeem the activated Promo Code on their next purchase.
What just happened here?
- The customer won a discount just by sharing a post on their social media and all they needed to do was to select a photo and rate the store. Wasn’t it really easy for the customer?
- The business got brand awareness via their customers’ social media (again their CUSTOMERS not a random person); and all they needed to do was to decide on the reward.
- And yes, the rest of the whole process was handled by FarOut.
Do you remember, in the beginning of this article, that I mentioned “FarOut efficiently integrates four well-known marketing strategies: Referral, social media, influencer and review marketing”? I am sure you now know what I was talking about:
- Referral marketing: well, okay I guess it is obvious. The customer refers the business product/service on their social media; in exchange for a discount.
- Social media marketing: This one is also obvious. Customers endorse the business on social media. Do you know what you pay for social media ads? To show your ads to the right people. Well, FarOut does the same by asking your own customers to share a customized post (not just a link) on their favorite social media.
- Influencer marketing: Well, I agree that an influencer is often a person with a large number of followers, who’ve spent time building their own brand and cultivating their audience. Here, FarOut aims to convert every typical customer to a (nano) influencer. Yes, they may not have a large volume of audience, yet they have two clear advantages: (1) they are promoting a brand with that they have already got engaged; so they are not a stranger or random person, (2) Unlike common influencer marketing that you are asking (and can afford) one or two persons to market your brand; here, every customer has the chance to simply be an influencer for your services.
- Review Marketing: FarOut collects customers’ authentic comments, ratings, and shared photos. Such a collection is also listed on the business store account (or Shopify app). You can imagine a business has a mini Yelp on their account. The review collection can also be grouped for each campaign. More importantly, these posts and reviews can be simply embedded or shared anywhere, like on their website or social media channels.
If you have come here, I believe you already captured the benefits of the FarOut simple, yet effective marketing platform. Let’s summarize them as below plus some additional good-to-know benefits for the business:
- Boost your revenue: Every customer can promote your brand to all their followers on social media. Your sales increases by retaining both current customers and attracting new customers by getting them rewarded.
- Increase your brand awareness on social media: You already got this one. Just imagine that all your customers’ followers will see your brand on social media. Also, their post tags your social media page and mentions hashtags, which significantly increases the engagement of new audiences.
- Have access to your top-performing customers: For every campaign, you see your top-performer customers based on their number of referrals and engagement rate. This is literally a special database that allows you to partner with your own customers for professional works such as content creating and influencer marketing. Remember that you now can collaborate with someone who has already been your customer and already proved their power to engage new customers particularly for your business. And this database always gets updated (homework: what is the advantage of such a database compared to an influencing marketing platform?)
- Get your customers’ comments, ratings, and shared photos: FarOut collects customers’ authentic comments, rating, and photo for every post. Simply imagine you have an internal Yelp, designed for your store.
- Stop paying upfront cost: You pay customers’ discount/reward (your major marketing cost) only when a new purchase happens. Our pricing model allows you to pay us either through a commission fee (again only when a new purchase happens) or a fixed subscription fee (minimum across the industry)
- Easy-to-use product: The business product (e.g., Shopify App) is a one-click installation app that has been designed to be simple and hassle-free. Do you know you can launch your campaign in less than 2 minutes?
- Track your ROI: You have the full control on marketing cost (by choosing the right discount). At the same time you can track new sales from our social-media referral campaign (you simply can find it on our business product).
- Amazing help-center: FarOut has been designed to be self-service with a great documentation and FAQs in our help-center. In the meantime, our support team is available to onboard you and answer your questions shortly.
In this article, I tried to explain the backbone of FarOut platform and what it can offer to you and your customers. Obviously, we have just started and there are a lot to come along our journey. So, please give us your valuable feedback and make the future of our products.
If you have any feedback or questions or think about any type of collaboration, just send us a note in our contact page. If interested in our product, you can get started by installing our Shopify app. We offer a one-month free trial with no charge on your credit card.