When internet marketing was still in its infancy, “tell a friend” campaigns were incredibly easy to implement and 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 far more challenging. People are very protective of their time and their friends’ time. In other words, they won’t send something to their friends unless they really think their friends will appreciate it.

So do “tell a friend” campaigns still make sense to use? Absolutely. But the approach has to be completely different from old-fashioned methods. Here are a few tried and true ways to make a “tell a friend” campaign work wonders for your marketing efforts.

==> Use Facebook

Facebook is arguably the most effective “tell a friend” marketing platform in history, therefore it should be one of your first stops in creating your campaign.

Instead of asking people to email a friend for you, which takes a very high level of emotional commitment, try asking them to just share and 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.

==> Offer a Reward

Another great way to get people to actively share your site or promotions more frequently is to offer a reward for doing so.

One of the most successful ways to go about this is to offer a reward not only for the person referring people, but also to 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.

==> Test Your Results to Create a Viral Campaign

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. Analyze your numbers, identify the most effective promotion, 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 tactics to see if they make 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.

Let me know how your first Tell a friend campaign goes!

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