Article: Tips for Maximizing Your "Tell A Friend" Referrals.
Tips for Maximizing Your "Tell A Friend" Referrals.
Tell A Friend marketing is a powerful addition to any website or online campaign.
How you use your Tell A Friend button on your website will have a big impact on the number of referrals you receive.
Use the tips below to make sure you are getting all the referrals you deserve.
Ask and you shall receive...
When it comes to referrals, it doesnít pay to be shy.
Very often, if a website isnít getting the referrals it deserves, the reason is simply that visitors are not being asked to refer their friends, or not asked "loudly" enough.
If your website has interesting or useful content, your visitors will be happy to share it. It wonít be the first thing on their minds, though, so itís up to you to prompt them with a polite reminder - your Tell A Friend button or link.
Remember: It doesnít pay to be shy. Make sure your visitors understand that you are asking them for a referral.
...if they notice it.
Website visitors tend to notice what they are looking for, and ignore everything else.
For example, they wonít even see your "contact" link if theyíre not trying to contact you. They may vaguely realize itís there, their eyes may run across it, but they wonít really "see" it. Theyíre too busy looking for something else.
This selective attention span means a visitor will rarely take in a whole page.
Usually, they will scan the "stand out" content like headers, and decide in a matter of seconds whether the page is worthy of interest. Sometimes, as in the case of a relevant article, this scan creates enough interest to warrant more in-depth viewing.
More often, as in the case of a product description or paragraph header, the visitor scans the page, notices a desired chunk of content, focuses just long enough to absorb it, then keeps scanning.
Then, very quickly, they leave.
They leave because they didnít find what they wanted, or they did find it, and can stop looking, or they followed an outbound link hoping to find out more about it.
Often, they leave much of your page content completely unnoticed.
"What does this have to do with Tell A Friend marketing?" you ask?
The answer is "Everything!"
Since visitors only notice content that is important to them, your Tell A Friend button must be in that content, or as close to it as possible. Otherwise, they may not even notice it, much less use it, and that costs you referrals.
Remember: If they donít notice your Tell A Friend button, they wonít use it. It's not enough to just ask for a referral - make sure your request gets noticed.
Location. Location. Location!
Web property, like real property, is all about location, location, location.
Where, and how, should you place your Tell A Friend button for the greatest number of referrals?
A general rule of thumb is to put it in, or as close as possible to, the most interesting content on each page of your website.
Here are a few more things to consider about button placement:
Tell A Friend! About this... Navigation bar?
Most websites have the Tell A Friend button in the navigation bar. This might be because the navigation is the most used part of the web site. It might also be because the navigation is often the easiest place for a lazy webmaster to add a button.
Letís face it; the navigation really isnít that interesting, is it? Mostly, itís just a way to get somewhere else.
Should you put a Tell Friend button in your navigation? Yes, because it will create a sense of consistency for visitors, is more likely to be noticed in passing, and the rare person who goes looking for it will be able to find it.
However, you should NOT expect most of your referrals to come from there.
Remember: Most referrals will come from Tell A Friend links in your content, not your page footer or navigation bar .
Tell A Friend! About this... Page?
Last time a friend told you about a new restaurant, they probably told you about the wonderful meal they had there, the great food, the excellent wine and cocktails, the mouthwatering smells.
They probably didnít tell you about the plates the meal was served on.
Likewise, your visitors want to share your wonderful content, not the page it is served on.
Hereís a secret that seems obvious, but is much underused:
You can have as many Tell A Friend links (buttons or plain text hyperlinks) on one page as you want, and they can all be worded specifically to fit the content.
Itís surprising how often this is overlooked.
Many sites take a tiny, generic, "tell a friend about this page" link, stick it in some dusty corner of the page, or hide it way down at the bottom, and then hope people will notice it and use it.
This, of course, is not the way to generate referrals.
What to do then? Be specific. Add Tell A Friend links to your most interesting content. Place them right there, in the content, worded specifically for that content.
A few examples:
For an image gallery or thumbnail page, add "Send this painting or photo to a friend" to the end of each caption.
For a product page, add a link to both the product description and the caption of any product images. Include the product name in the link text, plus any special offers or information. For instance, "This special is too good to keep to yourself! Click here to tell your friends about our 50% off purses - this week only!"
For a category page, or list of products, add a link near the page header, or near each product in the list.
For a receipt or "thank you" page that comes after a purchase or signup, make sure to ask for referrals as part of your thank you. If you normally give away a gift or special offer to encourage repeat business, consider offering it as a reward for making referrals.
For an article or tutorial, add a link to the last paragraph, relevant to the article, for instance "Click here to share this breast-cancer prevention information with your friends and family!"
Everyone needs referrals. If you know anyone else with a website, why not just share this article with them right now?
Remember: Visitors share content, not pages. Be specific. Ask for referrals with links in your most interesting content, worded to match that content.
Make it really, really, easy.
Whew! Ok, so youíve asked for a referral, made sure your visitor noticed you asking, and worded your request to match their interest.
By now, any reasonable visitor should be slavering at the mouth to tell their friends about your excellent content. All you have to do now is step out of the way, and not shoot yourself in the foot.
In other words, make it really, really, really easy for them to give you a referral.
Here are a few tips for making it easy for your visitors to give referrals.
Donít make the visitor leave the page in order to refer it. That would force them to choose between the page they want, and the referral you want. Guess whoís self-interest will govern that decision? Instead, let them open your referral form in a new window, so you can both have what you want.
Donít even make them leave the content they are trying to refer. Your Tell A Friend link should open the referral form without refreshing the current page. This way your visitors wonít lose their places on long pages.
Donít make them work for it. At most, your visitor should click once to open your referral form, fill out a few fields, and click once to submit it. Most will quit if it takes more effort than that, so donít make them fill out an account signup form or a long survey just to reach your referral form.
Let them decide how many people they want to refer. Most of the time, itís best to let a visitor refer as many, or as few, people as they want. For example, if you require five recipients in order to submit the referral form, a visitor who wants to refer one specific person is more likely to quit than come up four extra people.
An exception to this is if you are running a contest or other referral incentive, where a minimum number of recipients makes more sense.
Remember: It should be completely effortless for a visitor to tell their friends about you. Make sure there are no roadblocks on your referral path.
Let your visitors know you wonít spam their friends and family
Your visitors may be hesitant to enter the email addresses of their friends and family into your referral form.
Be sure to let them know that you wonít abuse their trust. Let them join your opt-in list if you have one, but make it clear that you wonít spam them or sell their email addresses.
Remember: Trust brings referrals.
Say thank you.
Reciprocity, the idea that a positive action will elicit a positive response, is a very powerful concept.
If you first give your visitor a sense of appreciation, they are more likely to give you back a referral.
Be sure to express your appreciation by thanking your visitor, even before they make a referral. You can do this with a quick word on your referral form, or in the text of your referral link. The page they land on after making a referral is another opportunity to express your appreciation.
You may also want to consider offering a reward as part of your thank you, such as a discount code, special report, or an ebook download from the landing page of your referral form. .
Remember: If you give your visitor something, even a feeling of appreciation, they are more likely to give you the referral you are asking for.
Test what works.
You know your site, and your visitors, better than anyone else.
The guidelines from this article will start you in the right direction, but donít hesitate to experiment on your own, and find what works best for you, your site, and your visitors.
And one other thing.
Thank you for reading this article, and for sharing it with anyone you think will find it useful.
Click here to share this article with your friends or associates who might benefit from it.
Eli Garcia is co-founder and president of Discoverfire, Inc. He also serves as Customer Support Director for TellAFriendKing.com.