Plans Viral Marketing Program

Share this content:, the Concord, MA, the online vitamin and nutritional supplement marketer, said yesterday that it will launch a viral marketing program this summer in which it will offer consumers incentives to refer their acquaintances to the site via e-mail.

The effort, along with the company's affiliate marketing program, supplement a $35 million marketing campaign that also includes direct mail and other offline and online direct response components.

With the new viral marketing program, customers who refer someone to the site through e-mail will receive 20 percent of the revenue generated by that person's purchase, paid in the form of a discount on merchandise. The company plans to offer customized links that customers can attach to their e-mail that will take recipients directly to the site and credit the sender automatically, according to Jeffrey Steinberg, senior vice president of marketing and chief knowledge officer.

Meanwhile, Steinberg said the company has been signing up new Web sites to its affiliate marketing program, which also pays 20 percent of revenues, at the rate of about 100 new affiliates per day. The logistics for the affiliate program, which includes about 9,000 sites, are outsourced to Be Free Inc. offers about 30,000 vitamins, minerals and supplements through its Web site, including its own line of products. Its direct mail programs primarily target households in the Northeast and West Coast with annual incomes above 60,000, and also target women more than men.

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