Photo Credit: By Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash. License.

When internet marketing was still in its infancy, Tell a Friend campaigns were incredibly effective. All you had to do was put up an email box, ask people to send your stuff to their friends and they would.

Today it’s completely different. People are much more conservative with their time and their friends’ time. In other words, they won’t send something to their friends unless they really thought their friends would appreciate it.

So do Tell a Friend campaigns still work? Absolutely. But the approach has to be completely different. Here are a few ways to make a Tell a Friend campaign work.


  1. Use Facebook

In a way, Facebook is the newest and possibly most effective Tell a Friend platform in history.

Instead of asking people to email a friend for you, which takes a very high level of emotional commitment, try asking them to just repost whatever it is that you’re promoting to their Facebook walls.

Instead of just getting one person to check out your content, you can get anywhere from dozens to a hundred people per share checking out your content.


2. Offering a Reward

Another great way to get people to pass on your site or promotions more is to offer a reward for doing so.

The best way to go about this is to actually offer a reward for the person referring people as well as the person being referred.

If you only give a reward to people who are referring their friends, they might feel like they’re getting bribed to do so. However, if their friends are also better off as a result of coming through their link, they’re much more likely to respond.

For example, an online backup system might offer 250 extra megabytes of storage if someone came through your link – for both you and your referral.


3. Creating Viral “Tell a Friend” Campaigns

One of the most powerful ways of getting a campaign to go viral is to split test different promotions and strategies. You can do this both on your own website and on Facebook.

If it’s on your own website, you can just come up with 3-5 different promotions and track which one gets the most results by tracking it through your referral links. Find the most effective one and use that one going forward.

On Facebook, there are several apps that can help you track the “virality” of your group or page. In other words, you can track on average how many people pass on your content. Knowing that number, you can test different things to see if it makes your pass-on rate go up or down.

Tell a Friend campaigns aren’t the only game in town anymore, but they’re still incredibly effective when done properly. Leverage social networks, create incentives and test different kinds of promotions for the best results.