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64% Internet Marketing

By David Gikandi
Posted Monday, September 27, 2004

Did you know that 64% of us would buy something if it were recommended to us by a friend? Let us place that number in perspective. If you were to create a banner ad campaign, only about 2 to 3% of the people who see your add would respond to it. If you were to advertise in a newsletter or magazine, or send bulk mail, the response would be around 1 to 2%, typically. But if you asked all your current clients to recommend your site to their friends, 64% of their friends would respond! And best of all, this is usually free marketing.

What are you doing about this statistic? Most sites do nothing about it. Other sites add a link somewhere that says something like "recommend this site to a friend". The former is a marketing crime, the latter is not enough. Internet users are busy and impatient. If they see a link somewhere on your site that asks them to recommend your site to a friend, they most likely will not click on it because they are in a hurry (and are lazy, too, sometimes). But they do definitely want to recommend your site. So what do you do? You should somewhat force them to recommend your site, but make it very easy to do so and pleasant. And you should remind them at least once, in their face, on every visit to your site. That will take a little JavaScript.

What we are going to do is this: we want our visitors to our web site to come into our site as usual, use the site uninterrupted as usual. If at any time they decide to leave the site from any page, a new browser window will launch on the side and thank them for their visit, wish them a nice day and invite them to come again. That is all in two or three short sentences. Then comes the killer. Below those kind words, you should have a simple way for them to tell their friends about your site! It should be absolutely simple, and fun for them, and they will do it for sure. You have two choices:

1. You can use a form that simply asks them for their friends' email addresses and any personal note they wish to include. Then take that information and insert it into a template that holds an invitation letter you have written out and sends that letter plus the personal note to all the email addresses entered. To accomplish this I recommend that you use the AlienForm CGI script, which is free at ( I personally prefer this method because it is easier and faster for the user.

2. You can use Recommend-It's service at (, which is also free and sometimes runs competitions whereby your users stand a chance of winning something if they recommend their friends (which increases the recommendations). This method is easier for you but a little harder for the user because they have to click on a button, go to Recommend-It's site, fill out a form, and then they are done. The more steps they have to go through the more likely they may abort the whole thing and not recommend new friends next time.

This is a very powerful formula because whenever your visitor is done visiting your site, they are automatically given an absolutely easy way through which they can recommend your site to their friends. And it is in their face so it has their undivided attention.

Now we need to build this capability into our web pages.

Step 1

Build a fast loading web page that thanks your visitor for their visit, wishes them a nice day, and invites them to come again. That is all in two or three short sentences, not a whole paragraph. Below that, have your recommendation form or button from Recommend-It. That's it. Save it somewhere in your site. Let us say the URL to this page is (

Step 2

On every page on your site, add this in the head of your pages (somewhere between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags):

<SCRIPT language=Javascript>
var exit=true;
function exitcnsl()
if (exit) {" ");}

This JavaScript script will open the new window that has your thankyou.htm page. Make sure you change the URL above to point to your recommendation page.

Step 3

On every page on your site, add this in the <BODY> tag:


Your body tag will look something like this: <body onUnload="exitcnsl()"> or <body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" onUnload="exitcnsl()"> if it has other properties such as a background color. This tells the browser to execute the JavaScript in the head section if the user goes to another page or closes the browser.

Step 4

On every page on your site, add this to every link that you have on those pages that goes to another page within your site:


This is how it will look like on a link:

To go to our samples page <a href="sample.htm" onclick="exit=false">click here</a> at this time.

This tells the browser that if the user clicks on that link, the JavaScript should not be executed. This makes the whole process dormant until the point where your visitor is leaving your site. When the user is leaving your site, they will either shut down their browser, type in a new URL into the browser, click on a link in your site going out of your site, or use their 'Back' button to take them to a site they were in before coming to yours. All these actions will not set the 'exit' value to 'false' and so the JavaScript will be executed. Remember, this is added only to links that go to pages within your site so that those links set the 'exit' value to 'false'.

That's it!

A bonus application for this

An excellent place to have this is in your search engine positioning information frames. As you may already know, perhaps the best way to get lots of free traffic is to achieve top search engine positions using information frame pages. Information frame pages are pages that are designed to rank highly in search engine results. For more information on information frame pages, see ( The problem is that information frame pages are often not too pleasing to the eye, and cannot be made to look as good as the rest of the pages on your site. That is because they have to strictly adhere to certain text statistics to score highly. So even if you do have a great information frame page that ranks highly, a user may find it and come to it but decide not to click through to your site because they were not too pleased with how your information frame looks like. By adding the JavaScript pieces discussed above, and setting your home page as the URL the script opens in a new page, you will be assured that one way or another, that visitor will see your site as long as they get to your information frame page.


You probably have quite a few questions on all this, especially if you are new to the web. Since I may be unable to answer all your questions due to time constraints, I want to leave you with a list of sites where you can direct your questions and get more information from. ( has a recommendation service.

CGI Resources ( has about 70 form processors, some of which are perfect for your recommendation application. ( has links to more information on JavaScript. ( has extensive information on search engine marketing and information frame pages, and a tool that creates information frame pages for you that already have the JavaScript built in.

I wish you all the best in your marketing efforts online. Please do not ignore these techniques. It is one of the most effective things you can do for your web site's traffic.

About the Author
David Gikandi


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