Viral content on social media is what marketers dream of. A content nugget gets shared, tweeted or liked and becomes pure gold. There’s little discussion about viral email, yet it is possible according to Chad White, research director at Litmus for emailmarketingrules.com.
Email is not glamorous. It’s not new. And measuring email forwarding isn’t quite as easy as measuring social sharing. But White suggests that email can generate mass shares through forwards (with the added benefit of helping you attract new leads through opt-ins). First, because people act on emails, much as they would a to-do list. Whereas social media posts often float around for days or weeks without any action or any deadline. And second, he points out that we usually know most of our email contacts better.
But how do you get recipients to not just open, but to also forward emails? A successful email isn’t just about deliverability, opens and clicks. “It should compel subscribers to share the message with others,” suggests Lauren Smith for hubspot.com.
Here are 3 email forward triggers:
1. Niche or triggered messages
If your inbox looks like mine, you’ve seen a lot of uninspired, easily deleted emails. According to Smith, targeted emails based on attributes or buying behavior are usually 90 percent more viral than untargeted messages.
“Setting up triggered messages in response to subscriber behaviors, such as registering for a Webinar” is an example of triggered messages. Segmenting your special offer to women or men, a geographic area, birthdays, job titles or any other data you’ve collected also makes your email more likely to be shared.
2. Prominent placement of share buttons
Place your social share buttons right next to the message to be shared (rather than at the footer of your email). According to marketingland.com, subscribers take their cue to forward instead.
3. Focus on one topic and keep it simple
Forwarders don’t want to explain why they forwarded something. If email recipients can quickly grasp the message, there’s no need to explain. “The email campaigns that were forwarded the most were visually very simple, had a clear message hierarchy and were incredibly concise and to the point,” explains Marketing Land.
There are so many Internet marketing options. Your big viral social marketing idea may still be hatching. But don’t write off email forwarding. Craft your subject lines with care. Personalize your clear, crisp content and messages, and ask people to share your offers.
Note: Forwarding emails can cause rendering issues, warns emailonacid.com, causing images or buttons to render incorrectly. If you’re running your email campaigns through a third party, a merge tag can be set up allowing subscribers to send a link to the archive version of your email.