In conjunction with our recent post on using the emfluence Marketing Platform to help promote events and even collect registrations for your (free) events, there are great ways to use the Platform to encourage people to share the event. Hint: you may not want to use the standard Forward to a Friend button. Here’s why:

With Option 1 in our last post, you’re tracking clickers to track RSVPs. The forward to a friend version of the email (or if the recipient simply hits “forward”) will track all link clicks as the original recipient. So if Krissy forwards to Jessica and Jessica clicks the “I’m in!” button… The Platform tracks 2 clicks for Krissy on her version of the email.

We opted to use the personalized RSVP form (option 2 in the last post), and when a recipient clicked “Forward to a Friend,” it sent an exact copy of the original recipient’s email… including the personalized event registration link. So if Krissy forwards to Jessica and Jessica clicks the link to register/RSVP, she’ll see Krissy’s information pre-filled in the form and can accidentally overwrite Krissy’s information.

So, how can you avoid the confusion? Create your own forward to a friend form and personalize the email sent that is forwarded. Here’s how we set it up:

  1. Create a separate form that acts as a Forward to a Friend page. It basically looks like a signup form, with fields like First Name, Last Name, Email, collecting the information of the Friend. Then you can also add fields for Memo/Note and Your Name (using custom fields to assign this to a “Referring Friend” field.) to include the referring friend’s name and note in the forward email.
    Custom F2F Form Builder
  2. Add form submissions to a new group i.e. Forwarded Invitees. This will be the group of people receiving forwarded emails.
  3. In your invite email, above, create a second call to action button with copy like “Invite a Friend to Join!”
  4. Use the Pages drop down menu to link your Invite a Friend button to your custom Forward to a Friend landing page we just created.

We can make good use of automated messages again to send the invite on to the friends/forwarded invitees.

  1. Copy the content of your original invite message.
  2. Use the custom variables you collected for added personalization. You can include the referring friend’s name in the subject line, i.e. “An invite from [Referring Friend]”. You can also include the note or memo they typed in the body of the email (see the example below).
  3. You don’t have to re-link your “I’m in!” RSVP button. This email will now automatically personalize the link for the new recipient!
  4. You may choose to remove the “Invite a Friend!” link.
  5. On the Groups step, assign the new email to the Forwarded Invitees Group.

The emails will end up looking something like this:

Event Invite - Original     Event Invite - Forward
Original Invite Email (Manual)                        Forwarded Invite Email (Automated)

NOTE: If you’re collecting RSVPs by tracking clickers on the button in the email, you’ll need to go to two different places to see all RSVPs: the link report on the original (manual) email and the link report on the forwarded (automated) email. If you’re using Option 2 with the registration form, all RSVPs will be collected in the same Group.

Best practices would say that you shouldn’t automatically add these invited friends to your email marketing list. After the event, you could create a permission request email for any forwarded invitees that were collected during registration, asking if they’d like to subscribe to emails about other upcoming events. Check out Sara’s overview of how to create a permission (or re-permission) campaign.

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