How to make your email campaign go viral

“Going viral” is the holy grail of marketing; having your campaign be seen by thousands, or even millions, might be a marketer’s dream come true.

However going viral can mean different things to different people, dependent on your goals, resources and budgets.

I like to look at going viral as being seen and shared by as many people as possible. In this blog I will look at how you can do exactly this with your email campaigns using simple strategy and functionality that every good ESP can offer you.

Build your email database

Going viral isn’t something that you can jump into in the early stages of your email marketing. To begin, effort needs to be made to grow your email list so that the high opens, clicks and shares you receive when you go viral generates even higher ROI.

Of course it is always recommend that you grow your list organically as much as you can. There are lots of ways to grow your email list, such as simple newsletter sign up forms on your website, social media promotions, offering of free content or just making your emails as sharable as possible.

Begin by pinning down your list growth strategy and then you can move onto using your list data effectively.

Targeting the right subscribers

Once you have a healthy email list, it’s time to dive into your data. Utilise behavioural retargeting to segment recipients based on when they last opened or clicked an email. This will ensure that the people you are emailing are highly engaged with your message.

Behavioural re-targeting last clicked and opened recipient data can also be combined with other filters to create sophisticated email segmentation such as all “females that are between 24 and 35 and have not clicked an email in the last month”.

This will help you create campaigns that are highly targeted to the exact interests of your list.

Stronger branding

Branding is essential if you want your emails to go viral. After all, what is the point of having a highly shared email if no one knows where it comes from? Include your business name, logo and branding within all your emails. The more branded your email is the more instantly recognisable it would be.

Your branding doesn’t have to be too ‘in your face’; there are lots of subtle ways to make your email recognisable. Consider your email from address and sender name, subject line and snippet so that you establish your brand in the inbox immediately.
Within the email body ensure that your template, logo and the font all create a strong representation of your brand. Below is a branding example of our own newsletter.

Content from outside of the box

Once your email template is perfectly branded, you need to make sure that the content you are including is also useful and engaging to increase the chances of recipients sharing.
Use your list data to hone in on what your recipients care about and then use content which will really appeal to them, educate them and make them want to share the knowledge.

This means you have to (excuse the cliché) ‘step outside of the box’ when it comes to your marketing content. Don’t copy what everyone else is doing; instead do something unique that will really catch your readers’ attention.

Sharing made easy

Make your emails easy to share. You may have some great content, however if you don’t make it simple for recipients to forward and share then your campaigns are far less likely to go viral.

To help make your emails sharable, concentrate on offering sharing options for your key social networks as opposed to a long list of them. Provide calls to actions when you want your recipients to share; after all if you don’t ask you may not get! Also in general make your emails mobile friendly so that the experience of sharing and forwarding is easy on every device.

Incentivise your share

People love freebies. Viral email marketing works best when consumers are able to get something out of forwarding a message to their friends.

There are lots of options to incentivise; run competitions, offer money off vouchers or product give-aways, donate to charity of even feature your users in some way to make them feel special!

Use promotional functionality

You can take incentives to the next level by using promotional functionality and integrations that any good ESP should be able to offer you.

This type of functionality enables you to easily run viral promotions, contests, sweepstakes and giveaways which feed directly into your email platform. These promotions are a great way to engage prospects and customers, whilst offering something highly sharable. It also has the added benefit of helping to build your email list organically!

It’s not a magic art..

There isn’t necessarily an art to making your campaigns go viral; it takes a good understanding of email marketing and email functionality, combined with a solid focus on making your emails, content and campaigns as share-worthy as possible.

This is something that every marketer should be focusing on, once you have that cracked, you should see the success of your campaigns soar!

Becky Hesilrige

Becky is the Content Marketing Manager at Pure360. One of her main aims is to build relationships with prospects and customers via informative and thought-leading content. Her passion for all things digital started at University where she studied Sociology and conducted her dissertation on online communication and relationships.