Using the “Send to a Friend” link is one of several ways to measure subscriber engagement, and assess how valuable or shareable your content is.
What is the "Send to a Friend" link?
“Send to a Friend” is a personalized link that you can insert into any campaign or automation email. You can use it to encourage a list of contacts to share your content with their colleagues via email.
When a contact clicks the "Send to a Friend" link, a form will open. There, they can enter the email addresses and names of up to 10 “friends.” Once completed, the shareable web version of your email will be sent to those “friends.” We will track that forward action in your campaign reports.
Note that the "Send to a Friend" link is associated with your email marketing lists. Each list in your account will have its own "Send to a Friend" link.
The advantages of using the "Send to a Friend" link
The “Send to a Friend” link will help you see how “shareable” your content is. It not only tracks how many contacts forwarded your content, but how many times it was forwarded.
If a contact decides to use their email application’s native “Forward” button instead, then:
- We are not able to track the forward action
- Any unsubscribes made by “friends” will be associated with the original contact
- Email design may not render correctly for “friends”
How to insert the "Send to a Friend" link into your communications
There are two slightly different ways to insert the "Send to a Friend" link in the Email Designer (launched 2022) and Classic Designer. Click into the boxes below to expand the instructions:
- Locate the campaign, automation email, or email template you want to edit.
- Click Edit to open the campaign designer.
- Drag a new text block to your layout or click on the text block where you wish to insert your link.
- Type the text that should contain the unsubscribe link. Highlight the text then click the link icon in the navigation bar.
- In the right panel, in the “Link” section, type %FORWARD2FRIEND%. You will notice the dropdown option change from “site” to “Other.” Your changes will be automatically saved.
You can add the %FORWARD2FRIEND% tag from the Personalization Tags option in the toolbar in the Email Designer but you cannot adjust the text or how the link shows up. It will show the full URL. You will need to follow the steps above to control the text of the hyperlink.
- Open your campaign or automation email and click on the text block where you wish to insert your link.
- Click “Personalize” in the modal toolbar:
- In the “Add a personalization” window, click “Message,” then click “Send to a Friend Link” to insert the link into your campaign.
- A box will appear where you can modify the call to action. Once you have made your edits, click “OK.”
The link is now inserted into your campaign:
To improve this block, you can make the text for your call to action stand out by increasing the font size, making it bold, or adding color. You should also try different placement options in your communications to see where the “Send to a friend” link works best.
How to test your "Send a Friend" link
To test whether the “Send to a Friend” link works, we recommend sending the campaign to a list of test contacts first. Make sure:
- You have at least a few different contacts in your test list with different email clients (i.e., work email, yahoo, gmail, etc.)
- You and/or members of your team have access to those email accounts
- Link tracking is enabled on the Campaign Summary page
Once you receive this test run, click the "Send to a Friend" link that you inserted and walk through the steps of forwarding the campaign to a friend.
How contacts share your campaign using the "Send to Friend" link
When a contact clicks the share link in your email, they are taken to a page that looks like this:
Their own name and email address will be auto-filled in the form. Below, they can add the names and email addresses of up to 10 friends. While we default to show 3 recipient fields, the contact can click the “Add Recipient” icon to add more fields.
We will also show the contact a preview of the message that will be sent to their friends. This message cannot be edited by contacts or account users.
To complete the forward, the contact must fulfill the CAPTCHA requirement and click the “Forward” button. If the forward is a success, they will see this confirmation message:
We will then track that forward action in your campaign reports.
What "friends" see when they receive a forwarded campaign
When a “Friend” receives a forwarded campaign, they will see a message in their inbox that looks something like this:
The message displays the email address of the contact that forwarded the email and the subject line of the email. A link to the campaign is also provided.
Once the "Friend" clicks that link, they are taken to the shareable web version of your campaign. They can read the content, click links, and share the message with their friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Reporting data available
Forwards are tracked for each campaign and automation email that uses both the “Send to a Friend” link and has link tracking enabled on the Reports page in your account.
On the Report overview page for a campaign, we’ll show you the number of unique contacts that forwarded your email.
If you click on the “Forwards” bar, or, click “Forwards” from the left side menu in your campaign report, you will be taken to a page that looks like this:
- Total forwards is the number of times your campaign was forwarded.
- Unique forwards is the number of unique recipients of forwarded emails.
- Did not forward is the total amount of sent campaigns minus the number of unique forwards.
- Avg. recipients per forward is calculated from the total number of forwards divided by the number of unique forwards.
We will also list the contacts that forwarded your campaign, the date they forwarded, as well as the number of times they forwarded.
We do not track the email addresses that the campaign was forwarded to.
How to edit the "Send to a Friend" form
The “Send to a Friend” tool is list-based. Each list has its own “Send to a Friend” form that can be modified by a user on the account.
To access the “Send to a Friend” form:
- Click "Contacts" > "Lists" to navigate to the Lists overview page and click the down caret for the list you want to use.
- Select “Advanced Settings” from the dropdown.
- A List Settings modal will open. Click the “Public Pages” tab and click “Edit” for “Forward to a Friend.”
You will be redirected to the “Forward to a Friend” settings page for that list.
On this page, you can perform the following actions:
- Edit/Delete the Name of the page
- Edit the labels for the “Your Name,” “Your Email,” and “Recipients” fields
- Edit the “Message Preview” label for the message that will be sent to “Friends.” Note that it is not possible to modify or edit the actual message in this preview
- Edit the “Enter the value below” Captcha field
- Edit the text that appears in the Forward button
- Delete ActiveCampaign branding. Note that Lite plans are not able to remove ActiveCampaign branding
In addition, you can add the following blocks for your “Send to a Friend” form:
- Free form HTML
These items are located on the left side menu. Click any item to add it to your form. Once added you can drag them to your desired spot.
You can also choose a different theme and style option for your form, and set the desired form width.
How to modify the forward confirmation message page
The forward confirmation message can be accessed by clicking the “Forwards sent confirmation message” located on the Integration Settings > Forward to a Friend page:
On this page you can perform the following actions:
- Edit/Delete the header
- Edit/Delete the confirmation message
- Delete ActiveCampaign branding (Lite accounts cannot delete branding)
In addition, you can add the following blocks for your confirmation message page:
- Free form HTML
These items are located on the left menu. Click any of the items to add them to your form. Once added you can drag them to your desired spot.
You can also choose a different theme and style option for your page and set the desired width:
You can choose to redirect contacts to a URL instead of showing them a confirmation message when they use the “Send to a Friend” link. To do so, click the “Redirect to URL Instead” option located on the top right of your screen.
Type the URL into the URL field and click the “Save” button.