Marketing Buzz 03/02

Measure your referral rates on e-mail marketing campaigns and pitching charts to the media
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the March 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Refer Madness

Word-of-mouth has always been one of the best forms of marketing--and that's true in the e-business world as well. Forty-five percent of online shoppers choose e-commerce sites based on word-of-mouth recommendations, yet only 7 percent of companies implement tools to measure the impact of word-of-mouth on customers. That figure is likely to grow, thanks to new technology designed to track referral rates of e-mail marketing campaigns.

An e-marketing strategy on its own may keep customers interested. But by measuring referrals, you get extra benefits, like up to two-thirds more e-mail addresses in your database. And just watch loyalty surge when you offer incentives for customers to pass on your e-marketing messages to family and friends.

Fishbowl Inc., an Alexandria, Virginia, e-mail marketing services provider, recently saw an 18.5 percent response rate from an e-mail referral campaign. Compare that with the 1 to 2 percent typical of purchased lists.

Most e-mail referral programs cost between 10 to 15 cents per e-mail. To get an idea of what's available, check out these providers:,, and


You're vying for the attention of those finicky journalists, to no avail. What to do? Pitch 'em a chart. They're visually appealing, full of interesting info, and there's a good chance they'll catch editors' eyes--if done properly. We went to PR expert Maureen A. O'Connell, a senior account executive at Jacobs & Prosek Public Relations in Stratford, Connecticut, to get the scoop on making your charts irresistible to the media.

First, she says, think about your target market--who do you want to reach, and what do they read? Then, take the stats that work with your business idea, get a good graphic artist to put it together, and pitch it all--chart and story--to those publications. Though they probably won't use the chart exactly as you designed it (most publications do their own graphics), you'll still get some serious attention.

That's what O'Connell did when she was promoting a national volunteering program. She charted how many calories different volunteer activities burn and pitched it to women's magazines. "They immediately liked it, I think, because it was something they wanted [to cover] in their publications," she says. "It [was] a service to their readers."

Contact Source

Jacobs & Prosek Public Relations
(203) 378-1152,

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