Good email marketing is contagious

You’ve heard the expression “viral” used to describe a concept or trend that sweeps the internet like wildfire.

For businesses, “viral” refers to marketing that’s initiated by the company but carried out in large part by the company’s customers. Your email marketing campaigns, as well as campaign landing pages, should contain a viral component whenever possible. Here’s how to do it for email:

Include a prominent link or clickable graphic on your email that says something like “forward this email to a friend” or “let a friend know about this offer.” Some people will forward email even without this urging, but there are three reasons why you want to provide a specific link:

1. For many people, seeing the suggestion reminds them about a friend who would be interested in your product or service.

2. Most HTML email, especially with graphics in the layout, does not forward well. If someone tries to forward using their email program, your email can become garbled, or the links may break. If, instead, they use the “forward this email to a friend” link you have provided, that link takes them directly to a special page on your website. The page automatically fills in the customer’s email address, then allows the customer to add a friend’s email address and a short message before clicking the “send” button. Email sent out from this page will look identical to the original email blast, but you will want to code the links in this email slightly differently. That way, you’ll be able to measure how many click-throughs come from the second, viral, iteration of your campaign (as opposed to click-throughs from the original email blast).

3. In addition to gaining your brand and your offers exposure with a whole new circle of potential customers, viral email marketing gives you valuable customer information. It tells you about your original mailing list and who on it forwards your messages to others. With this knowledge, you can target loyal customers with special “reward” offers.

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