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Viral Marketing Tips: Tell A Friend

By Richard Lowe
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2004

You want to get people to come to your web site, right? Well, once you gotten listed in the search engines, submitted your site to the big directories, and created link exchanges - then you'd be wise to spend a little time doing some viral marketing.

What's viral marketing? Simply put, it is using various means to get other people to refer your site to their friends and acquaintances. Why is this important? Simply put, the most powerful technique for getting visitors and sales is a personal referral.

I'm sure you have run into this phenomenon in your life. I know I have. One day years ago when my back was killing me, I asked the receptionist for the name of a good chiropractor. She gave me the name of Dr. Tam - and I've been seeing him now for over seven years (and have exceeded a hundred visits).

When I needed to go to a medical specialist to get something checked out, I went to the place suggested by my doctor. I trust Dr. Frischer, so naturally I trust that he will not recommend a quack.

When my car needed to be fixed, I asked one of my mechanic friends if he knew of a good place to get it fixed. He sent me to a little shop in the hills - it was a bit of a drive, but the car was fixed correctly and at a reasonable price.

I can go on and on about this phenomenon, and I'm sure you can also find hundreds of examples from your own life. The point is simple. When people trust someone, they tend to trust their referrals as well.

That's why it is absolutely critical to include a "tell-a-friend" form on your site. If someone likes your site, you want to be sure that you've made it easy and convenient.

What is a tell-a-friend form? Simply out, you provide a simple for to allow your visitors to send your web site URL to their friends. You can include a link to a page with a form, or better yet, you can include the form directly on your pages.

Ideally, you should provide this capability on every single page in your site. This should be a standard feature of your navigation. It's as important as including links to your home page, guestbook, privacy policy and contact information.

Some sites with good "tell-a-friend" scripts are listed below.

- ( - Remotely hosted script usable by any web site.

- ( - Hosted locally on your own server, requires CGI access.

For an example of a tell-a-friend script, check out:


This is the copthis script from ( It requires that you have access to CGI on your host. However, the remotely hosted versions (which can be used from any HTML page) basically look the same and perform the same functions.

So what does a tell-a-friend script do? At the very least, it accepts your email address and the email address of a friend. Once that information has been entered, the friend is sent an email which states that you have recommended the site to him. That's a very critical piece of information - a person is recommending the site, and it's a person who is known (presumably) to the friend.

The better scripts also allow your visitors (and you) to enter their name. The very best scripts allow more than one name and email address to be entered at a time, and your visitors can even include a comment such as "check out this site - it's great". I also like those scripts which provide for an email to be sent to me when someone refers my site - this way, I know if people are taking advantage of this feature.

You will get more results if you include the form itself on each and every page of your site. You will find this on many sites such as zdnet - they have a form which allows you to enter a persons email address and name. This sends them a quick email saying that you recommend the site to them.

You will not see an incredible burst in traffic due to these forms. What you will see is people referring your site to their friends, which will cause more (and higher quality) traffic. I've noticed that when someone receives a referral they stay longer and, if you sell something, they are more likely to buy something.

About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge. Web Site Address: ( Weekly newsletter: ( Daily Tips:


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