Email Experience Council's Chad White recently reviewed several email newsletters each from 103 of the top online retailers that he tracks to see which included refer-a-friend (RAF) links in their emails. Only three did.
The 3% of the sample that uses RAF stands in sharp contrast to the 44% that use send-to-a-friend (STAF) programs (according to Chad White's Send to a Friend Benchmark Study), another customer acquisition tool that relies on existing customers. Unlike STAF, which forwards a newsletter along to a friend, RAF programs send an email that introduces the friend to the retailer.
The Refer a Friend Benchmark Study looks at the unique way in which each of three retailers implemented their program, and also addresses several areas of concern with these RAF programs—namely, a lack of attention to privacy issues, ease-of-use problems, limited integration into email campaigns, and concerns with adherence to the JumpStart ruling.
In addition to releasing the Refer a Friend Benchmark Study, Chad also published a reportlet on special holiday email series.