Go Viral! Don't Be Afraid of Viral Emails

April 01, 2013

What have you heard about viral email?

Was it that it is obnoxious?

Similar to an actual virus?

The most horrific means of communication in known history?

Save the drama for your mama, folks.

We aren't talking about an ex, we're talking about a means to an end. Traditional pass-along emails don’t have to be an outdated and scary thing of the past. The truth is, viral emails are a very effective way to engage potential consumers and to promote a product or service, whether it is through a captivating video or an infographic with statistics that actually mean a lot to a variety of people.

Erm.....what is a viral email?

A viral email is a message that gets sent along in a very word-of-mouth manner when people forward it on to friends and family. Viral marketing benefits from emails that "go viral", meaning that they are circulated, sometimes even enjoying international success.

Not every email is created equal, but a successful viral email is one that is memorable. Can you recall each and every one of the chain letter emails you've received over the past 10 years? You know, those emails you were told to send on to 10 friends ... we hope you did that. You don't want 7 years of bad luck now, do you?

Let's be serious... Is there one viral email that stands out in the pack? One you truly remember with complete clarity? And how exactly does an email truly "go viral"?

Research.

What kind of email would benefit your cause or company the most? Are you a fun company that is motivated enough to attempt to create a video that will go viral overnight, or do you simply want to share a video that will encourage others to pass it along? Perhaps your company has a short-term deal that needs to be circulated. That requires a simple call to action and an attractive graphic to garner the attention of customers. Know your audience, then get to work.

Give the people what they want.

Don't create unnecessary content or wordy text that potential customers will have to struggle to decipher. Give the people what they need instead of what you think they want. Provide a way for the people to connect with your company, whether it is a phone number at the foot of the email, an email address with an arrow (again, make everything as clear and easy as possible) or links to your social media pages. A call to action that says 'Do Business with Us!' or 'Ask a Question' will facilitate discussion.

Timing is Everything

Conduct time tests to see what time of the day/day of the week is the best for sending out your email. Every industry is different in terms of how and when business is done, so testing is vital. How frequently you send out information is another important consideration; too many emails can potentially annoy the recipient and lead to someone hitting the UNSUBSCRIBE button. Consider the information and how you can provide it most effectively, whether it is once a week on a specific day at 9AM or twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Is your info time-sensitive? Consider all details before pulling the trigger on your viral email plan.

Still skeptical? What questions do you have about viral email marketing campaigns? Let me know in the comments!

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