Email marketing isn’t considered a very shareable medium, but with a bit of know how it really can be! Here’s our guide to email marketing shareability.
It might seem strange to see email campaigns as shareable, but with great content and some encouragement, your readers can easily share your email campaigns with other people. Whether it’s simply forwarding the email to someone else or including social sharing widgets that allow shares to social media, it’s a great way to grow your list and build visibility.
Though email marketing is a great way to reach out to prospects, increasing visibility outside of your subscriber group is understandably well worth pursuing too.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can make your email campaigns more shareable.
Don’t Try to Please Everyone
If you’re dealing with a larger group of subscribers, consider whether there is some way in which that group can be split or “segmented” for a campaign; effectively pigeonholing the list into smaller chunks and sending each subgroup a slightly different message that speaks to their specific needs.
This way, you can hone in like a laser on the requirements, challenges and pain points unique to each subgroup (or “segment”) rather than trying to appeal to everyone. Sweeping, general campaigns that try to please too many people at once run the risk of coming out bland and unspecific, potentially with low response rates. Though targeting may initially seem like a lot of work, it can really pay off.
What Do Your Audience Want?
You will need to work out what kinds of content perform best with your audience both in terms of what topics they want to hear about and what media types (i.e., blogs, podcasts, videos or infographics) they respond best to. Content of any kind needs to fundamentally understand the needs, problems and drives of the audience; imagine your ideal customer sat reading the completed piece – what would resonate with them? What would they find useful? What would they enjoy?
In talking about email marketing specifically, there is a certain reliance on text, but that doesn’t mean you can’t link to or embed other types of content.
One place to start finding out what your audience wants is simply to ask. Put together a questionnaire and send it to your subscribers asking what topics they’d like to learn about and what types of media they’d like to receive. You can also ask important questions about how frequently they would like to hear from you; how long they’d like the content to be; and what format types they’d prefer (e.g., how to’s, case studies, helpful advice, or a peek behind the scenes).
With the help of social media polls, you can also ask your social following the same questions about their own email preferences and compare notes – you could link to your sign up form and suggest they join your email list while they’re at it!
Try Things Out!
A/B testing is a great tool in any budding email marketer’s arsenal. If you’re not familiar with the term, it basically involves sending two or more different versions of the same campaign to a subset of your audience and gauging which version performs better. When trying to identify a format that people will enjoy enough to share, A/B testing different subject lines, ideas and content types can be truly worthwhile. Once you’ve run a few A/B tested campaigns, you’re likely to come away with some usable, practical data about your audience’s preferences.
For an alternative, yet more off the cuff approach, you may want to simply try out some slight variations on popular themes. Evaluate the response and forward rates of previous emails and try to emulate their style and format. Make a note of any particularly successful ideas – hone what works and ditch what doesn’t. Though a data-driven approach does have its benefits, never be afraid to try new things now and again!
Don’t Target Too Closely
Though it’s important to identify successful formats and themes, don’t focus in too closely either. If your content does the same thing day in-day out, you’re likely to have valuable subscribers tuning out, and it’s not going to inspire engagement with anyone new either. Your testing methods should be more focused on ruling out ideas and media on the periphery rather than identifying a few narrow, rigid themes which exclude everything else.
Focus on Providing Value
Remember that the best email campaigns – as with most content – are those that provide genuine insight and valuable expertise. Of course email marketing is there to ultimately drum up new business, but that doesn’t mean your emails should be all about salesy “buy now” content.
Providing real, authentic value means your reader can apply your expertise to their own lives. When you give out handy and effective advice to someone, they are more likely to remember you and come back when they’re in the market for what you’re offering. This concept is the backbone of content marketing, and just as this approach increases a blog or video’s shareability, it will increase an email campaign’s shareability too.
If you don’t ask you don’t get!
Due to the checkered history of bulk email marketing, some recipients may not even conceive of sharing an email campaign with others. That being the case – why not simply ask people to share it? Provide sharing options and a mini-call to action at the end of your email; a little reminder of the ability to forward an email or share it on social media could go a long way.
And if possible, why not even share your campaign on social media yourself? This way, your campaign will likely get in front of a different audience than your email subscribers. You’ve worked hard on creating the campaign, why not get the most mileage out of it? [Sidenote: social sharing options are not available for all email marketing platforms, but forwarding is possible for everyone!]
Share With Shareability in Mind
This one might be easier said than done, but hopefully your earlier research will help you here. Focus on creating content that people will want to share and discuss. Cover important industry news and relevant discussion-worthy topics in your field, and don’t shy away from airing a slightly controversial opinion here and there, but strictly about your industry. Never go into touchy topics like religion or politics. You want chins wagging in a friendly and positive way, not angry heated discussion!