How to make your marketing emails go viral

6 MINS Team

Do you want to create marketing emails that “go viral” — that get forwarded to subscribers’ friends, and their friends? Viral emails, like viral videos, don’t happen on their own, nor do they happen often. According to a study reported in MediaPost, the average commercial email got one forward for every 370 total opens, while emails categorized as “viral” got one forward for every 21 opens. 

In this article, we’ll be going over what makes a viral email marketing campaign, its benefits, and how to craft an email marketing strategy that has the potential to go viral. 

What is Viral Email Marketing?

Viral email marketing is quite similar to email marketing, except that viral emails are designed to be shareable with friends and contacts. While it may not be the most conventional approach, viral email marketing is proven to boost your business’s reach beyond its email list.

An email is considered “viral” when it gains a high level of attention due to shares and exposure. It may be something with a catchy subject line, a compelling offer, or an engaging story. The key characteristic of viral email is its ability to resonate with a large number of people which prompts them to share it with others, leading to a snowball effect of widespread dissemination. Whatever it is, viral marketing is a powerful tool, and it aligns perfectly with email.

Characteristics of a Viral Email Marketing Campaign

Relatable – People naturally want to share relatable content. Why? Because it makes them feel seen and heard. When your email subscribers feel a strong connection with the emails you send them, they’re more likely to engage and share your emails with others. This will amplify the reach of your emails, expose them to a wider audience, and potentially attract new subscribers who can relate to the message.

Helpful – One of the key traits of a viral email marketing campaign is its ability to be helpful. When an email offers practical advice, useful tips, and life hacks, it tends to gain much more attention, especially when it addresses widely shared interests. Keep in mind that your audience wants useful information first and foremost.

Visually appealing  -Humans are visual creatures by nature. By incorporating visual elements — images, videos, or infographics — you convey your message in a way that’s easily digestible and memorable for your readers. In fact, it’s your best way to make an email campaign more attractive and shareable. Harness the power of visuals in your email campaigns and witness a significant boost in engagement.

Benefits of Viral Email Marketing Campaigns

Amplifies reach – When an email goes viral, it has the potential to reach a significantly larger audience than a standard marketing email. Recipients who resonate with the content are more likely to share it with their friends, family, colleagues, and social media networks, thereby expanding the reach of your message beyond your existing customers.

Increases brand awareness – When done well, your marketing emails can generate buzz and attention around your brand. It introduces your brand to new audiences who may not have been previously familiar with your products or services when your email spreads across various channels. This increased exposure can boost brand awareness and visibility while keeping your budget in check.

Enhances engagement – Effective email marketing campaigns have the power to captivate and engage recipients on a deeper level. When people find your content valuable, entertaining, or relatable, they’re more likely to interact with it, whether by sharing it, leaving comments, or taking part in discussions. This heightened engagement strengthens the connection between your brand and its audience, leading to increased customer loyalty and advocacy.

7 Effective Strategies To Make Your Marketing Emails Go Viral

Strategy 1: Segment your customer list

Most people are familiar with hyper-focused and personalized marketing efforts using PPC campaigns. But did you know you that email marketing channels can do the same?! Go beyond basic personalization by tailoring your email content to specific segments within your audience. For example, you could segment customers by their behavior, such as sending a specific email to customers who shopped at your last sale or visited your business in the past three months. You can also segment customers based on demographics (i.e., age, sex, income) or by location. When your existing customers receive content that speaks directly to their individual needs and interests, they’re more likely to engage and share it with others.

Strategy 2: Craft attention-grabbing email subject lines

The subject line is the first impression your email makes on your subscribers. To increase open rates and maximize the potential to go viral, craft attention-grabbing subject lines that pique curiosity, create urgency, or provide a clear benefit. Incorporate personalization, emojis, or humor to make your emails stand out in crowded inboxes. Remember, compelling subject lines can entice recipients to open and share your email.

Strategy 3: Ask for it

When an ecommerce retailer wants customers to shop for a sale, what do they do? Send an email that includes the call to action “Shop Now.” The same tactic works for getting forwards and shares. Explicitly display a “Share With Your Network” CTA in the main body of the email (not hidden way down at the bottom) to encourage your readers to spread the word and share your email with their network.

Strategy 4: Leverage current trends and events

Stay up to date with the latest trends, events, and cultural moments relevant to your target audience. Incorporate these timely topics into your email content to make it more relatable and shareable. For example, imagine you’re a fashion retailer and there’s a buzz around a popular celebrity’s red carpet appearance. You can create a viral email campaign that showcases similar fashion styles or offers tips on how to recreate the celebrity’s look. By aligning your brand with popular conversations, you can tap into the collective enthusiasm and entice them to share your email with others who share the same excitement.

Strategy 5: Make your emails unique

Think about what triggers an immediate response and action when you receive an email. Maybe it contains something unique or interesting that grabs your attention. You want your email campaign to have a similar effect on your readers, so think beyond the conventional and explore innovative ideas that can capture your readers’ attention and spark their curiosity. People are naturally curious about things, so pique their curiosity and entice them to read more of your story.

Strategy 6: Offer an exclusive deal

When crafting a viral marketing email strategy, it’s best to think of a way to incentivize your audience to share your email. It can be anything from a voucher to a month’s free subscription or early access to an upcoming release. Remember, people love to share exciting deals and opportunities with their loved ones. By strategically incorporating offers into your email campaigns, you get your audience to share and create a viral effect that propels your brand’s visibility and drives new customers.

Strategy 7: Make it easy to share

The possibility of your emails going viral may fall short if your content lacks easily accessible social sharing buttons. Social sharing enables your readers to easily share your content with their friends and a wider audience through various social channels.

Position the sharing buttons strategically, ensuring they are easily visible and accessible. By providing convenient options to share the content on various social media platforms, you encourage readers to share your content or send it to a friend.

Amplify Your Brand’s Presence with a Viral Email Marketing Strategy

Experiencing a viral moment, even just once, has the potential to lay the foundation for long-term success within your niche. Incorporating the above strategies into your email campaigns paves the way for your emails to make a lasting impact, extend their reach, grow your subscriber list, and amplify your brand’s presence in the digital landscape. 

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