It’s in the Water: Email Can Go Viral, Too

These days, it seems like we can’t go more than a week without a new viral sensation. Whether it’s a quiz, an impossible photograph or a weird video, the internet never ceases to fixate and then amplify the strangest thing. However, I’m willing to bet that you’ve never really thought about an email going viral, now have you? But think about it: in a way, forwarding an email can be a form of virality, too.

The good email marketing pathologists over at Litmus have compiled a new report on just what makes an email shareable, and thus potentially viral. They say that “more new visitors were reached through email referrals than through both Facebook and Twitter combined.” How crazy is that?

While there’s no magic formula to make an email instantaneously ubiquitous, there are definitely steps that you can take to make your email more likely to be forwarded. Here are two from the report:

  1. Target a niche audience. “Targeted messages are generally at least 90 percent more viral than untargeted messages,” says the report. Therefore, stay small and rely on the relevance and high level of interest in a key market to boost opens, clicks and forwards.
  2. Create highly shareable content. You’re probably tired of hearing it already, but “content is king.” And when it comes to email, this is doubly true. Want to be shared? Start by making your emails something worth sharing, instead of a straight pitch. We’ve seen this with King Arthur Flour — it’s sending recipes, something commonly passed around in families and baking circles.

So even though you might not accidentally create a video that’s going to end up in a BuzzFeed list, that’s OK! Email marketing can have its fair share of sharing, too.

Jeremy Zimmerman is Associate Content Editor for Target Marketing magazine and Direct Marketing IQ.

Publish date: June 25, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT