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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru
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    Email a friend - effective?

    I've noticed some sites that have an "Email this article to a friend" promotion technique.

    Anyone tried using this and if so, how effective has it been?

    Jon

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    I haven't really tried it out, but it's probably quite successful depending on the positioning of the 'Recommend this pa....'. It helps the user tell others. If your site is really great, then it should work a treat.

  3. #3
    What's HTML?
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    Yep, tell-a-friend works great if your site is worth talking about. A great type of viral marketing. You should definitely give it a try, there are many free scripts available that allow you to do this. Check out www.hotscripts.com for a listing of several scripts, or email me and I'll send you a version I've created.
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  4. #4
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Five days ago I started logging my tell-a-friend usages, and in the last 5 days it's been used zero times.

    I have a tell-a-friend link at the bottom of every article, and in the forums I have one at the bottom of every topic. It has a text link as well as an icon, and the icon is big and bold with an animated arrow.

    I have over 120 visitors a day.

    My visitors tell me they don't ever give out email addresses on the web for fear of something, like their credit card details being stolen, their house getting burgled or their cat getting poisoned or something.

    I only have up to 2 people a day, usually zero or 1, sign up for my newsletter as well.

    I'm doing something wrong (with my tell-a-friend link or page) but I don't know what it is.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  5. #5
    What's HTML?
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    Tom,

    I'm not sure that you're doing anything wrong. It may just be your audience.

    Another thing to consider is your traffic. Your traffic level is quite low. Even though it may be very targeted, you still shouldn't expect too much.

    Tell-a-Friend will not fuel any rags to riches stories, but it will put your existing traffic to good use. For every 1,000 visitors, 2 might use your script. Those 2 people will tell 10 friends. Of those 10, 5 will visit your site. Of those 5, 2 will bookmark and return at a later time.

    May not seem like much, but that's 2 extra loyal visitors you didn't have before. It adds up.
    Ryan Kuhle - A Proud Advisor - Got Questions? Just Ask!
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  6. #6
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'll be patient It is not costing me anything, so it is better to have it, and wait until it proves effective, than not to have it, and possibly miss an opportunity in the future...
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  7. #7
    ********* Addict jaiem's Avatar
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    It's worth having but don't put all your hopes and dreams on it.
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  8. #8
    grasshoppa Snowbird122's Avatar
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    I sell art online and I have a "Send this artwork as an ecard" feature. I log these ecards to a databse. I have noticed that almost half the people that send an ecard end up making an order.
    http://www.echo-consulting.net - Sound Solutions for Online Inspriations.

  9. #9
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    I would also like to know if this works, and if so, at what sites. If anyone with a successful tell-a-friend program could give us some statistics and display his/her site, I would love and adore them and send them lots of candy. And a kitten.
    Mattias Johansson
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  10. #10
    Digital Warrior Renegade's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mmj
    I'm doing something wrong (with my tell-a-friend link or page) but I don't know what it is.
    I have found some cool sites, by someone I know clicking on one of those links, and sending the page to me. Not often, but those sites have one more loyal visitor because of it, as someone already stated.

    mmj, if I were you, I might try increasing the font size of the text you use for the email link. I had to actually look to find it. If you are reading an article, and are not looking for it, they may miss it altogether *shrug*


    I dunno, its just a suggestion.

  11. #11
    Ex-SitePointer silver trophy
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    mmj has given me an E-mail a Friend script and also created a hack for phpBB on the same topic. It is very useful.

    While it is not used that much, I am sure it is used sometimes and it is definitely worth having as opposed to not having.

  12. #12
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Good news!

    On my main site, I get 130 unique visitors per day, and only 1 person has ever used my tell-a-friend since mid-september.

    On my new site, I'm getting 80 uniques per day and about 5 people per day are using my tell-a-friend service.

    This is a pretty good ratio, I think. Out of the people that use it, many of them are using it 2 or 3 times while they are on my site. If this continues, once I get 1000 uniques per day there will be 62 people using my tell-a-friend script every day. The sort of traffic that this will bring in will be slightly more targeted, so if this works - the ratio will slightly increase.

    I think it is because of the 'general interest' appeal of my jokes site. People are more likely to have friends that will appreciate jokes (I call it the lowest common denominator effect).
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  13. #13
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Thanks MMJ - that was truly valuable feedbackk. It's especially valuable since the "email a friend" link looks exactly the same on both sites.

    I thought it was community sites with loyal traffic that used these but that is obviously not the case.

    I guess that one thing to keep in mind is that this kind of traffic is golden traffic. It's extremely well-targeted, and comes from a very reliable source (their friend)

    Oh, well.
    Mattias Johansson
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  14. #14
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    what kind of code was used I need a link which when you have search a db you can email yourself the links so that you can browse later I will check out the js link above but whats best?

    pages are written in jsp rather than php

    Sarah
    Regular user

  15. #15
    Non-Member jigga's Avatar
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    The email a friend thing has been a huge success with every site that I've ever tried it on. You essentially can triple your traffic in a short period of time. It doesn't seem to work as well the larger your site is for some reason, but the smaller, more obscure sites, it works great on. Maybe it's just because it's more noticeable, that's probably it.

  16. #16
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Sarah
    what kind of code was used I need a link which when you have search a db you can email yourself the links so that you can browse later I will check out the js link above but whats best?

    pages are written in jsp rather than php

    Sarah
    I suggest using periods. They look like this:


    .


    Thay make it easier for people to read what you are writing, and thus, increasing the likelyhood that you'll get a reply.

    As for the script, it sound pretty specialized, I think you'd have to write it yourself or hire someone to do it.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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  17. #17
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    thanks, subtle.

    I will keep searching ...
    Regular user

  18. #18
    SitePoint Enthusiast ART's Avatar
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    some days ago i had this EMAIL-FRIEND feature only on the starting page of my site. the use was about 1 per week... then i put it on every page and the use of it went to 3-5 per day. my traffic is about 250 unique visitors. i logged the emails to check the conversion rate - that is if notified people opened an account on my site - about 45% of them did.

    in such a notiFIcation i also put info about the latest topic or a featured article on my site (well, actually php'n'db does it for me ).
    Last edited by ART; Oct 18, 2001 at 17:00.
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  19. #19
    SitePoint Addict cyberprince's Avatar
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    I think I can use this on my articles pages.

  20. #20
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Since my most recent post I've made the links on my site a bit more prominent and it has optimised it a little bit more. I'm very impressed at the rate in which my tell-a-friend usage has grown (and therefore has helped my traffic to grow).

    I think that my regular newsletter helps, and together the two help to feed each other. For instance, in the newsletter I am able to encourage people to use this (tell-a-friend) feature to forward links to their friends. Conversely, the people who receive these forwards are reminded that I have a free newsletter.
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  21. #21
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    Tell-a-friend systems that work and why... 3 reasons:

    1. Your site is simply spectacular. Breathtaking graphics, perfect colors, unique and exclusive content, loads in milliseconds etc. etc. If you have such a site, GREAT! You'll get tons of referrals every day (unless your visitors want to keep your incredible site a secret)


    2. You are maximizing the referrals of every visitor which*is willing to*tell-a-friend link by making it easy for them to refer as many friends as possible. This can be achieved by inserting a simple JavaScript which launches the visitor's own email program (not web based). Opening the visitor's default email program will give him access to their address book and therefore allow him to*easily select several friends' emails by simply clicking on them. The JavaScript can be customized to insert a pre-defined subject title and message in the email message, making it even easier for your visitors. Unfortunately, you cannot measure your success or keep a log of referrals.


    3. Your tell-a-friend program is based on incentives or contests. Every time they refer someone they are entered in a contest... the more they refer the greater their chances. This method is extremely effective especially when you give your visitor a chance to see how many visitors they've referred.


    <<Advisor edit: link removed: advertising. For more info, contact an advisor>>
    Last edited by mmj; Oct 30, 2001 at 07:18.
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  22. #22
    HI silver trophy Silverado4x4's Avatar
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    I'm using SuperTaf, and I'm getting around 300 form submissions a day, sometimes up to 500-700.

    Try using inline forms. Those are the ones where they don't have to click on a link to sign up, the form is right below the joke. I've heard it increases form usage up to 2 times the normal. I'm about to test it, and see how well it goes.

    Another interesting thing to do is to log the comments. SuperTaf does this, and it's actually quite fun to read the users' remarks.

    Yesterday I got 4440 unique visitors, and 594 form submissions which means 1 unique visitor out of 7.47 tells a friend about my site.

  23. #23
    HI silver trophy Silverado4x4's Avatar
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    Results: Already 1094 form submissions, and it is only 4:15 PM. I love inline forms now!

  24. #24
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    That's awesome performance, man. Good stuff.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  25. #25
    How Much Money?
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    No

    I have found them very unaffective unless you have a very loay customer/visitor base it will not be worth the space it take up on the page

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