A tactic of several names Forward-to-a-friend (F2F) Refer-a-friend (RaF) Share with a friend (more recent)
What is F2F? F2F is a tactic F2F is used to grow the membership of opt- in e-mail lists
Benefits of F2F done well Increased membership More metrics to analyze and use to gauge the success of your communications; are people willing to tell others? Increased conversions A conversion is typically considered a purchase (e.g. enrolled in a CCE non-credit course or purchasing a ticket to Northrop, Weisman, etc.)
What F2F isn’t [easily] for F2F isn’t suitable for opt-out lists, unless you’re running opt-in and opt-out lists in parallel That sort of opt-in/opt-out mixture adds a burden to managing data
What F2F isn’t for at all Harvesting e-mail addresses for any purpose Adding ‘friends’ to opt-out lists, or subscribing them to opt-in lists, based on what their friends do
F2F vs. RaF The idea behind F2F is that you’re forwarding the same message to a friend RaF isn’t necessarily the same message, rather it’s a sample of a mailing from the list, not necessarily the same mailing
A basic outline of F2F 1.Send a blast 2.Recipients follow the link to forward-to-a-friend and arrive at a web form 3.Recipients enter e-mail addresses of their friends and submit the form 4.The friends receive a pre-selected piece of content and an invitation to subscribe 5.Hopefully, they subscribe
Why not just forward as normal? Nothing is preventing recipients from forwarding a message they receive to others in their e-mail client While metrics of supposed forwards can be obtained, it’s not a good measure due to the implementation (next two slides) Links to a subscription center could be easily added to messages
Tracking message forwards The U’s mass e-mail system, Lyris ListManager, can track supposed forwards To track forwards, open tracking must be enabled The first recorded open by a recipient is logged, including the network address the message was opened from
Tracking message forwards II Subsequent opens of the same message from a different IP address are counted as forwards (and opens) If you read a tracked message, and load images, at your desk and then again later at home, you’ve supposedly forwarded the message
Measuring success At what rate do people refer friends? At what rate do referred friends subscribe? Are the referred friends clicking through, or even opening, messages? Do referred friends keep their subscription after one real issue? Two? See part IV
The spam problem Abuse of referral forms and open text fields People who are referred report the U as a spammer, not their friend
Lyris does refer-a-friend Lyris offers refer-a-friend functionality You select a sample issue and customize it for those who are referred There isn’t a quick way to setup a F2F link to forward the current message
F2F is possible With additional time for every mailing you could mimic forward-to-a-friend But should you? –It’s time and money –Are you getting a measurable, good increase in subscribers, engagement, ‘conversions’, etc? –ROI
The default referral form from Lyris No particularly interesting, not branded for the U, just functional.
How can the form be improved? Brand it! Make it appear as a part of your Web site, even though it’s not UThink blogs are sometimes used this way Why wouldn’t you want to drive traffic to your Web site?
The default referral e-mail Note the From field, the Subject field, and the lead-in message.
How can we improve the e-mail? Use a good sample issue Provide a lead-in message that explains why you’re receiving the message, in your words, and a clear option to subscribe Repeat the subscribe option at the end of the message Assure the recipient that you won’t use their e- mail address for other purposes Use a Web page for subscriptions, not e-mail
The referred state Lyris has member type ‘referred’ Those who are referred are automatically added as a list member with this state This state prevents duplication of referral invites and doesn’t include the member in other message sends Members in this state can be automatically purged after a set period
Part III Implementing Refer-a-friend for Today’s News Headlines
Adding RaF to an existing pub. We are adding refer-a-friend to Today’s News Headlines Today’s News is a daily e-mail and Web page http://www1.umn.edu/urelate/newsservice/to daysnews/tnarchive-2008/tn-20081014.html
Today’s News Headlines subscribe form A subscription for already exists http://www1.umn.edu/urelate/newsservice/subscribe-tn.html
What we had to do Make a better referral form Provide a thank you page for referrers Pick an issue for the sample Update the sample content Update our template Test it all
Referral form I The referral form is hosted on the Lyris server We created a new referral form from the default template Utilities->Web Forms->Referral Forms Create From Template Use “Referral Form Template”
Referral form II We gave the referral form a useful name and left the code as is.
Referral form III We copied code from one of our News Service web pages and merged the referral form into it Links to other page, image references, CSS references, etc. needed updating due to the different host Tweaks to Lyris default code for better adherence to the doctype Stripped out Google Analytics code
Thank you page We added a very basic thank you/confirmation page to the site.
Sample content We picked our sample issue and made a copy of the content We created a sample invitation from the built-in invitation template to get at the code (switch to built-in templates while in View Templates to get to this) We updated the sample issue using code from the default invitation to get at the code to use for the From and Subject lines, and any message the referrer provided We added the option to subscribe using the web form near the top and bottom of the message, and some text We removed the option to unsubscribe
Updating the standard template Our current recipients need to find the option to refer-a-friend somewhere We added this to the footer in the HTML and text parts Q: Do we make the refer-a-friend option more pronounced for one or several issues, rather than just burying it in the footer?
Testing the implementation We want to test using the actual list, but don’t want a random recipient since we need to test the “send me a copy” and don’t want to copy a random list member We created a segment to select just the tester