How to Craft a Perfect Tell a Friend Message

Tell a Friend Scripts are internet tools to ferment word of mouth marketing. They can be very powerful, if you use them correctly. But if you do not know how to use them, they can be just without any impact, or even create big problems for a business.

Basic Functions
We use our “Tell a Friend” script for motivating people to inform their friends about an offer. The script makes it easy for our customers to spread the word. They need to fill only their own name and email plus the names and email addresses of their friends into a form, then press a button and, wow, the news goes out to 3, 4, 5 friends. Our script allows us you to offer an incentive if somebody sends the message out. We can also configure a campaign to reward senders if their friends take action after receiving the email, and we have control over the message which is passed along.

Why it Works
The basic power behind our tell a friend script comes from the fact that people love to share new and useful stuff with others. If the information they share is indeed new, surprising and helpful, it is like sharing a secret. And you all know that a secret must be shared with the “best friend”. If we add a carefully crafted reward into the picture, the system becomes even more powerful.

The Motivation
People share useful information and secrets (not readily available information) with several goals in mind. They may hope to …

  • provide value to a friend
  • strengthen a relationship
  • shine as an experts, who knows more than others about a certain field
  • earn an additional incentive
     
  • but, if not done correctly, a reward can devalue the information and act as an disincentive

The Message
Our tell a friend script allows us to control the message which is sent out. We limit the script always to send a message written by us, because otherwise people could use it as a platform for sending spam. This could spoil our name create trouble with our internet service provider and even with governments around the world. The message need also to conform to the FTC’s disclosure requirements related to product endorsements.

Message Attributes
How does a perfect message for word of mouth marketing look? Here are a few points:

  • It must be short and easy to understand
  • It must be interesting, even surprising
  • It must provide value to the recipient, even if he does not follow up with an action
  • It must induce a follow-up action
  • It must not feel and taste like spam, and neither be a hidden product endorsement or sales pitch

Composing a message for tell a friend scripts is copywriting. Every internet marketer needs to hone his copywriting skills continously in a cycle of testing and improving.

Message Examples
The program comes with a readymade message. Take that message as a placeholder. It may sound like

Hi [friends name]
I just found an incredible website offering the cheapest air tickets you can find anywhere, online or offline.
Check it out, click now on this link:
[Website URL].
You will not regret it.

I wish you all the best

[Sender’s name]

The Test
Would you like to send this message to your trusted friends? Could you hope to gain their respect as an expert, and to strengthen your friendship? And if you received such a message, would you act on it? As far as I am concerned: no and no. If you plan to use a tell a friend script with such a placeholder message, better save the purchase price and use the money to dine with your wife.

Another Example

Dear [friends name],
did you know that there are a few airlines out that allow you to reserve your seat for your family visit next Christmas already in January and then to wait with the ticket purchase until September.

I got this information from Johannes Stockburger.
You find the details at

[website URL]

I hope this information will allow you to reduce the fare of your next holiday flight.

All the best

[sender’s name]

The Same Test
Would you feel good to pass this message to a friend who travels frequently to see his family during the holiday season?
And would you mind to receive such a message from a friend who knows about your recent holiday travel adventures?

Follow the Rules
Our tell a friend script adds an opt-out link under this message, and we leave it there. It is just a sign that we and the person sending the message through the script accept the right of everybody else to decide which information they want to receive.
If the letter contains an endorsement, and the script offers at the same time an incentive to send the letter, we must disclose it. But we avoid endorsements and sales pitches in this message.

Conclusion
We try to craft a message providing immediate value to the reader. We avoid open or hidden sales pitches and endorsements in tell a friend messages. Otherwise we would have to include information about any reward offered for sending the email.
We take care that the system cannot be used for spamming, add an opt-out link to the end of the message and we do not allow the sender to change the message. Finally we safeguard the form with a CAPTCHA to prevent abuse and protect our reputation.