If you have ever run or planned an email marketing campaign, you know how involved the entire process can be. You put a lot of effort and thought into the email that you send out – you have to, otherwise your total subscribers could plummet. Having one of your subscribers actually forward your email, then, says quite a bit about the content you created. Forwarded messages are great because they are a fairly organic way of adding subscribers to your list, and chances are the person forwarded the email will actually open since it is from someone they know. It is up to you, though, to increase the shareability of your messages if you ever want to see them forwarded. The next time you draft out an email campaign, try these three things
Back in 2005, Marketing Sherpa released an article with a statistic that analysts of email marketing campaigns love to quote – that the average reader only spent 15-20 seconds on each email message they received. And not very many people can read a lot of information in 15-20 seconds. To combat this, and to try and keep their attention, try making your email a little bit more visual. A lot of newsletters like to depend on big blocks of text with the occasional header or picture. Instead, incorporate larger visual elements with brief synopses of text and use that to bring the reader to your site. If the design looks good, the images are interesting, and the links are useful, your readers are much more likely to forward on the message. After all, the less something looks like spam, the less it will be perceived as spam.
Yes, we realize that this piece of advice is a bit vague and, for some, seemingly unattainable. After all, what is unique? Email marketing certainly isn’t novel. But what you put into your marketing emails can be. Look at what your competitors are sending out – chances are the content and the design is going to be very similar. If you put something in your email, something that makes it stand out, at the very least others in your industry are going to notice. It can be a YouTube video, or something funny from Reddit, or even a specific way you design the email – for example, using circles to separate content instead of the standard square. You would be surprised how much of an impact small changes can make, especially if they are made in an otherwise stagnant atmosphere.
Finally, one of the best ways to have your emails forwarded is to incorporate guest posts into your blog. You’ve probably plugged your own articles before, but plugging a guest post is a really good way to have the author of that post forward the newsletter to co-workers, employees, and colleagues. That means a lot more views and, hopefully, more subscribers. Of course, you do have to give your guest poster some prime real estate in the newsletter – you can’t just stick them in the bottom corner and expect them to forward the email to their entire address book. But if you act altruistically and let an outside expert get a little bit of free publicity, they will probably return the favor.
Of course, you should also include the standard ‘call to forward’ – otherwise your subscribers may not even think about sending it out. If the message looks good and has interesting content (that means little to no advertising), your subscribers should have no problem sending it along. An easily digestible, aesthetically newsletter is actually pretty unique as far as newsletters go. Just remember that you are designing these messages to help the recipient – to inform them of something they should know. A newsletter should not look like a commercial flyer. Besides, if it makes enough of an impact on others, you could wind up seeing your subscriber rate go up. In fact people may actually look forward to receiving your messages. All of this, of course, takes a bit more work, but the reward is well worth the effort.