Email can be a core element of your viral marketing strategies.
One of the advantages of promoting viral email messaging is that it is the most popular form of online engagement for consumers, especially for mature consumers who actually have the cash to buy your products. If you're targeting a teen audience, focus on social media and text message campaigns. But if your target is a slightly older audience, think long and hard before you discount the idea of viral email marketing.
Even though it can be effective with certain demographic targets, viral email marketing is never a slam dunk. There are several ways to execute viral email marketing. Some of them are effective and some aren't. And some email strategies can even irritate your customers and turn them off from using your products or services.
Knowing how to achieve viral success through email requires an intentional approach. It isn't difficult. You just need to be careful about how you use emails to generate viral buzz. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Email forwarding. Depending on who you ask, "refer-a-friend" email marketing is either a top-tier viral resource or a plague on the virtual marketplace. The emails are unsolicited, but are sent by friends and acquaintances rather than directly by your company. Some businesses offer discounts to customers who are willing to forward a viral email to a certain number of friends and have tools in place to personalize the email so it includes the forwarder's name in the subject line. The risk is that you might offend potential customers with something that feels a lot like spam. If you decide to go the email forwarding route, make sure you have analytical resources in place to evaluate the viral effectiveness of your campaign.
- Email taglines. Another way to use emails for viral marketing is to include viral messaging in the signature section of outgoing emails. If you can recruit others to do the same thing, the bottom of thousands of emails a day will contain brief messages loaded with viral potential.
- Multi-channel component. Email marketing alone probably won't be capable of carrying your entire viral campaign. Successful viral campaigns often use email as an element of a larger viral strategy. One of the nice things about emails is that they can contain hyperlinks and embedded elements that further promote the viral concept. With that in mind, use emails to direct readers to other online assets that encourage interactions with the viral concept.