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#2.12: The “Refer-a-Friend” Issue

The folks at eUniverse, an entertainment site, have mastered the Refer-a-Friend technique. We felt it worthwhile to write about their thorough take on viral marketing by examining the successful elements of this program.

1 > Ongoing demographic collection
2 > Forward to multiple friends
3 > Upgrade them to your family of publications
4 > Don’t waste the confirmation page

1 > Ongoing demographic collection

In step one of eUniverse’s Refer-a-Friend program, the questionnaire, asks for the referrer’s name, email, and demographic information. Although name and email are required fields, the demographic information is optional, but users are encouraged with a chance to win $50,000. As we’ve preached before, the folks at eUniverse keep it short and simple by asking only four quick questions. However, the cleverest part about this data collection section is that each time you refer a friend, you are asked different demographic questions with a different prize offer. eUniverse is in the process of building a richer consumer database little by little.

The lesson: Piece by piece, eUniverse is using these techniques to acquire knowledge about its visitors with the ultimate goal of building a robust database on every visitor.

Link to actual sample page:
http://www.gaspedal.com/cgi-bin/gp?euniverse

2 > Forward to multiple friends

The eUniverse Refer-a-Friend program lets you forward each page (or newsletter) to as many as 10 friends at a time. You can also write a quick personal note instead of sending a generic note authored by the company. This program also gives the referrer the opportunity to remember the email addresses the person has sent to before. Each time the user comes back to the Refer-a-Friend page, the addresses are already populated in the address fields. This typically increases the distribution, as the referrer may not have thought of sending the page to those people.

The lesson: Take advantage of the simple opportunities to increase distribution and visibility.

3 > Upgrade them to your family of publications

eUniverse is well-versed in cross-promotion and up-sell lessons. Before the completion of the Refer-a-Friend process, the company gives the referrer the opportunity to sign up for other newsletter lists and advertisers’ special offers. It makes perfect sense to opt-up your active fans to subscribe to your other newsletter properties. Each time a visitor refers a friend, different newsletters and offers are presented.

The lesson: Strike while the iron is hot. Take advantage of your best evangelists by engrossing them deeper into your content and presenting relevant offers.

4 > Don’t waste the confirmation page

The obvious last step to eUniverse’s Refer-a-Friend program is to submit the information. Normally, a publisher will present a generic submit button with a bland “Thank you for subscribing” message on the other end. eUniverse has sold the submit buttons (a choice of three spots) to advertisers. Choosing one of the submit buttons will send your information to eUniverse while bringing the referrer to that advertiser’s information. The confirmation page serves as more than just recognition of successfully receiving information. eUniverse has given the reader the choice as to which
offer they’d like to learn about while earning revenue on prime property. The revenue possibilities are vast — to
submit user’s information, one of the offers must be clicked.

The lesson: In searching for the grand opportunities, don’t overlook the simple ones right at your fingertips. Landing pages are a great place to reinforce your — or your affiliate’s — message.

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