Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Glad To Be Of Service! – 22 Examples of Providing Practical Value in Marketing

[Updated in 2018 with 11 more examples!]

The fifth principle from Jonah Berger’s STEPPS model of virality is providing practical value.

Think about the listicles and tips circulating on Facebook and you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Jonah Berger explains that people share valuable practical information to help others.

It works like advice: we like to have it before we make decisions, and we also tend to share it with others who need it.

There are a number of ways to provide practical value:

  • Listicles
  • Infographics
  • Guides
  • FAQs

Providing practical value not only helps them get better; they might want to share it with people they think might benefit from it.

Here are 20 examples of brands that are providing practical value to benefit and promote sharing among their customers:

1. Casper’s blog aims to help you sleep better.

Casper homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

Casper sells mattresses, so it makes sense that they would have articles surrounding sleep.

Sleep is also a topic that everyone is always interested in, which makes it good for word-of-mouth sharing.

Blog articles include:

2. Dollar Shave Club talks about shaving, among other personal hygiene and grooming issues.

Dollar Shave Club homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

Dollar Shave Club’s blog focuses on practical grooming advice for their predominantly male customer base.

It provides some interesting answers to questions some men don’t ask themselves enough.

Like whether it’s ok to not wash their hands after peeing. No, it’s definitely not ok.

Other practical advice include:

3. Asana blog writes articles on how to use their product better, and other general productivity tips

Asana homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

Asana is all about improving productivity between teams.

Even after using their app, there are still several ways to improve your work.

Their blog’s Workstyle series covers interviews and case studies from successful brands and thought leaders.

Other productivity articles include:

4. Bonobos teaches you how to choose the right Bonobos clothes for the occasion.

Bonobos homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

While Dollar Shave Club focuses on proper personal grooming practices, Bonobos’ blog covers men’s styling tips.

They provide bite-sized tips on how to look your best as you step out to house.

Such tips include:

5. Helpscout gives you advice on how to build a company that people will love.

Helpscout homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

At Helpscout, they help brands monitor/manage different aspects of their business, so they can level up their game.

On their blog, Helpscout continues to provide useful resources on various topics like customer acquisition, email marketing and customer loyalty.

Useful posts include:

6. Shopify provides free resources to help you sell your stuff better.

Shopify guides Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

Shopify provides a platform where online retailers can sell their stuff without any fuss.

Apart from their blog, which covers interviews and case studies of successful sites, they also provide guides for improving your store.

Some of these guides include:

7. Schermer Pecans posts delicious recipes that make use of their delicious pecans.

Schermer Pecans homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

At Schermer Pecans, they provide recipes that include their delicious pecans.

It’s always good to receive recipes hat you can try out in the future.

Some of their delicious recipes include

8. SD Surfboards teaches you how to choose the right surfboard and getting fit for surfing.

SD Surfboards homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

SD Surfboards embodies the very spirit of surfing.

They provide anything and everything related to surfing gear, so you can go out and conquer the waves.

On their blog, they give important surfing advice, like choosing the appropriate surfboard and how to get into surfing shape.

They also cover major surfing competitions, and feature top surfers around the world.

9. Lookbook Store gives tips on how to wear certain types of clothes, and quick clothing fixes.

Lookbook Store homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

On one hand, the Lookbook Store sells a wide variety of fashion items from all over the world at affordable prices.

They also provide loads of style tips to complement their products on their blog.

Style tips include:

10. Omiyage released a book on 101+ craft projects using their Japanese washi tape.

Omiyage homepage Practical Value Contagious Jonah Berger ReferralCandy

Marisa Edghill from Omiyage is passionate about the Japanese washi tapes she sells on her site.

She has spent so much time and effort exploring these tapes that she even published her own book!

The book covers more than 100 DIY craft projects that make use of the wonderful washi tape.

She also provides craft tips on her blog, and lends her expertise to other craft blogs out there.

11. Startup Stash – Everything you need to run a startup, in one convenient location.

Startup Stash homepage

Ever needed information for your startup, but didn’t know where to start looking?

Startup Stash is where you’ll want to be.

With all the resources you’ll ever need, curated into convenient categories, it’s one of those sites you simply have to bookmark.

Value provided: 

Startup Stash’s biggest virtue is their curation of all the important startup resources.

But what’s special about it is how they’re presented.

Each category lists out the top 10 most popular resources, each with their own descriptions and an explanation of what they do.

Startup Stash sample germ

Their constantly updated information and useful descriptions are what makes them so useful for entrepreneurs.

12. Periscope – Explore the world through someone else’s eyes.

Periscope homepage

Periscope is an app from Twitter that allows you to live-stream personal videos.

It might not seem like much, until it gained popularity for streaming footage of a fire that broke out in New York’s East Village.

What made it viral was the fact that people around the world were watching a live stream of the fire before any official news teams had arrived on scene.

Value provided: 

While live streaming apps are probably used mostly for covering birthday parties or interviews, the New York fire incident showed that apps like Periscope can be used for something much greater.

Users can, in the event of an emergency, act as citizen journalists.

The ability for Periscope to capture a wide range of behaviors, from celebrating birthdays to a fire breakout, makes it extremely useful and important too.

13. Product Hunt – The best new products, every day, in your pocket.

Product Hunt homepage

Of course, the source of this list has to be part of it too.

Updated daily, this list of the latest must-haves has been known to spread awareness for upcoming beta and unreleased products.

This helps the companies of those products gain early attention, which does wonders when they actually do release them.

Product Hunt has featured over 11,000 items, including Instagram’s Hyperlapse and Hive, a free, unlimited cloud-storage service; resulting in approximately 23 million unique visitors.

Their feature of Meerkat also helped the product gain virality; Madonna even used the app to showcase her new music video.

Value provided:

As Product Hunt is now known as the hotspot for the latest must-haves, it has also attracted investors and reporters in search of the next big thing.

To them, being the first to know about upcoming trends and businesses is vital to their careers, and that’s where Product Hunt really shines.

14. Tesla Powerwall – Solar energy storage for a sustainable home, day and night.

Tesla Powerwall

Tesla’s newest product, the Tesla Powerwall, is a game-changer.

Being able to power a household with solar energy throughout an entire day, it promises to take your home off the utility grid.

Accordingly, 38,000 reservations were made in less than a week, and Elon Musk remarked,

We’re basically sold out through the middle of next year — in a week! We can’t even respond to them. We have to triage our response to those who want to be a distributor. It’s crazy off the hook. It seems to have gone super viral.

Value provided:

Tesla has been the champion for affordable and consistent renewable energy technology, and the Tesla Powerwall proves it.

While we can all say that Tesla owes its popularity to a wide range of different factors, personally, its core value has always been symbolic.

Tesla is proving to the world that renewable technology can be made affordable and reliable. This gives us confidence that the better choice doesn’t have to be a more expensive one.

15. Be My Eyes – Non-profit app that allows you to lend your eyes to the blind.

Be My Eyes app homepage

Be My Eyes is a non-profit that helps blind people “see” through the “eyes” of others with the help of live-streaming video.

Conceived by Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who is visually impaired himself, the app gained a considerable following through Product Hunt.

So far, Be My Eyes has already helped over 66,000 blind people, and attracted more than 190,000 volunteers.

Value provided:

The visually-impaired have benefited from the various tools and systems put in place around us, but we still have a long way to go.

For instance, we do not have food expiry dates in Braille, and we do not have a system that provides auditory directions in a subway station.

With the help of Be My Eyes, users with sight can now help the visually-impaired to view and interpret important information.

16. Lily – A camera drone that automatically follows you wherever you go.

Lily is a camera drone that follows you, capturing your every move on the go on its own.

All you have to do is throw it in the air.

As long as you wear the tracker, the Lily Camera will trail you, allowing you take 60 fps videos, slow-mos, and even 12MP still shots.

Lily Camera Drone

Value provided:

Lily negates the need to manually control your drone, allowing you to go about your activities hands-free. This is a step-up from current-gen drones, which still require manual flight control, or a fixed movement pattern.

Athletes, skaters, and daredevils can now use Lily to finally capture their most epic moments.

17. Email Hunter – Site that lets you find all the emails related to any domain.

Email Hunter homepage

Email Hunter is an email crawler that allows you to search for all public email addresses from any company you choose.

You can search for all public email addresses under, say, Hubspot, and it’ll surface the results almost instantly:

Email Hunter sample search

Value provided:

While not the first of its kind, Email Hunter is attracting eyeballs for it’s speed.

It claims to be able to crawl through “150,000,000+ records in seconds”, which is very fast.

This makes it the perfect tool for people in sales, marketing, and basically anyone trying to reach out to a particular company.

18. $Cashtags by Square – A unique tag that allows businesses to get paid quickly and securely.

Cashtags Square

Created by Square Cash, $Cashtags are personalized cash hashtags that allow individuals and business to receive Square Cash payments quickly and easily.

While Square Cash is already easy enough, they still require displaying private information, like email addresses and phone numbers.

Now people can send money through $Cashtags without requiring email addresses or phone numbers.

Value provided:

This is a big deal for businesses, which aren’t always comfortable displaying such private information on their websites.

What’s even cooler is that even non-profit organizations can use $cashtag to set up donations.

Currently, Wikipedia, RED, Khan Academy, The USO, and The Bay Area’s KQED are using $Cashtags for fundraising.

19. Pablo by Buffer – Create engaging images for your social media posts under 30 secs.

Pablo Buffer

Ever wanted a cool image to accompany your witty quote, but lacked the design chops to do it?

With Pablo, you can create beautiful images for your social media posts in under 30 secs.

Created by Buffer, Pablo is based on the idea that images help to boost blog pageviews, shares and retweets.

Value provided:

Pablo is useful for anyone who isn’t a designer, but would love to have a nice image to accompany their tweet or blogpost.

However, it’s so fast and simple that even Photoshop power users can appreciate!

Now everyone can create their very own motivational quote pictures or illustrate marketing stats!

Pablo marketing stats

20. Amazon Dash Button – Restock your favorite household necessities at the push of a button.

amazon-dash-button

We all restock our household products from time to time, but the most annoying thing is that we sometimes forget.

But with the Amazon Dash Button, that might eventually become a thing of the past.

There are buttons for various brands, and all you have to do is stick it somewhere convenient.

Simply press it when you’re running low on supplies, and Amazon will deliver it for you.

Value provided:

Household products run out at different times, and it can be tiring to keep track of all of them.

With the Amazon Dash Button, we can make lesser trips to the grocery store, and lower the risk of us forgetting to restock too.

It’s super-convenient for homemakers and busy individuals who don’t always have time.

21. Voila Norbert – Find and verify emails of the people who matter most to your business

practical marketing examples - voila norbert

Voila Norbert helps you find new email addresses and verify ones you have of people who matter most to your business. Whether you’re trying to generate a big list of sales prospects, build marketing connections or reach potential recruits, Norbert’s got you covered.
Value provided:
Voila Norbert makes tracking your conversations even easier with integrations with Zapier, Hubspot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, and more. With an 87% success rate this tool is the most accurate email finder out there, trusted by Facebook, Airbnb and Oracle.

22. Shift – Streamline your desktop workflow and manage multiple apps and accounts

practical value - jonah berger stepps shift referralcandy preview

Shift is the best productivity app for people who want to get work done faster. It’s also a beautiful solution to the multiple tab, multiple browser, logging-in, logging-out nightmare!

Declutter your desktop workspace with all of your favorite apps and email accounts in one place, with Gmail, Outlook & Office365, Slack, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and over 100 other apps and extensions, all in one.

Value provided:

Shift makes managing all of your emails, documents, calendars and other apps  way more efficient. Manage multiple accounts in one convenient place, without the hassle. 

With other great features like cross-account unified search, and notification muting, Shift helps customers from Google, Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, LinkedIn, Atlassian, and many more around the globe, get more done.

practical value - jonah berger stepps shift desktop 1   practical value - jonah berger stepps shift desktop 2   practical value - jonah berger stepps shift desktop 3

Don’t just sell your product; help your customers get better at what they’re doing.

Whether you’re selling DIY craft accessories or customer support software, always try to provide more value for your customers.

People looking to buy surfboards are likely also interested to know how to train properly to start the sport.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I help my customers use my products better?
  • What are some of the questions my customers have surrounding this subject?
  • How do I provide answers to questions my customers might not be aware of?

Your customers will appreciate the fact that you go beyond the extra mile just to help them out.

Here are the rest of the principles:

  1. Social currency
  2. Triggers
  3. Emotion
  4. Public
  5. Practical value [You are here!]
  6. Stories

Samuel Hum

As a finalist in Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man contest, Samuel is ReferralCandy's fashion ecommerce expert and resident sartorialist. He is obsessed with human behavior and social psychology.

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