I received this email from Verne Harnish of Gazelles.com earlier this week. It’s a great example of creatively generating grassroots marketing. This word of mouth marketing idea was great for many reasons, two of which are:

1. It’s a real win-win. Anyone can send a personalized copy of Verne’s autographed book as a gift, free. In return, Verne gets credible, referral access to a whole new group of potential clients!

2. It’s inexpensive. Now, granted, Verne will have to pay for the book & postage, but I’m assuming that he’s assessed that cost versus how much it typically costs his company to acquire highly qualified leads.

From: Verne Harnish – Gazelles
Date: November 19, 2008 7:40:26 AM CST
To: Susan Silver
Subject: As many as you like — answers to your questions about our holiday offer of books

HEADLINES: (Details on holiday gift offer — questions received since I made the offer)

Autographed Book Sent as a Holiday Gift from You — do you know one business executive who could benefit from reading Mastering the Rockefeller Habits? Send us their contact info including email address and we’ll send them a complimentary autographed book on your behalf. Here’s a link to the letter. Email their info, along with your preferred name and company name (that we will insert into the letter), to jcostello@gazelles.com.

Here are five questions I’ve received since making the offer:

How many names can I give you? As many as you would like, so long as they are executives of companies that you think could benefit from the tools outlined in my book. At a minimum, send us one name — the person you think would benefit the most during these crazy times.

Will you ever sell the names? We keep this information highly confidential — we don’t even share our database with our coaching partners.

What will the letter say that you send with the book? Here’s a link to view the letter.

Why do you need the email address? To support the material in the book we’ll send them a follow-up email that confirms they received the book and points them to where to download the One-Page Strategic plan and some of the other tools outlined in the book — all complimentary. We’ll also give them an opportunity to opt-in to receive my weekly insights, something we automatically do when a person orders a book from us.

Can I just get some books and send them out myself? Yes, so long as you include a copy of the letter with the book. Send us your shipping address to jcostello@gazelles.com.

Why are you doing this? Growth companies are the job generators of our economy — and our economies need them. I wrote my book because I believe the tools can be of real help to executives of companies. And I’m a realist — education is the first thing that get’s cut when times are tough so I might as well just “invest” and give my stuff away right now!! Hopefully, when things improve, those who read the book might attend our workshops and summits to further help their businesses.