I recently returned from the second annual Email Evolution Conference (EEC), where presentations, panel discussions and personal conversations showed that marketers are beginning to understand how email and social networking can work together to better engage with customers and prospects.
Many sessions touched on the growing importance of social media—going where your customers are—and integrating email into a company's social marketing efforts. To underscore this, many attendees were posting live Tweets (updates on Twitter) under their employers’ Twitter brands.
Social media is clearly exploding like nothing the marketing world has seen in years, probably since the Internet explosion itself. Email will not disappear anytime soon, but the growth in social media adoption does provide both challenges and opportunities for email marketers.
Are Your Emails 'Shareworthy'?
So, what does it all mean for you? To start with, you should look at the emails you send in a new light: Are they "shareworthy”?
In other words, does your email content encourage your subscribers to share your emails with their tribes (friends, family or peers) on their social networks?
Ever since Silverpop went live in 2008 with its "Share-to-Social" function, which lets email subscribers post email content on their social networks, I've been thinking about what actually motivates someone to share content.
My latest Email Insider column, "Are Your Emails 'Shareworthy'?" outlines six reasons that people share:
- They want to contribute to the conversation.
- Sharing serves their self-interest.
- They want to help others.
- Sharing validates their self-worth.
- Sharing with likeminded people makes them feel part of a community.
- Sharing prurient or shocking material makes them feel less guilt at gawking.
Once you understand why people share, you can tailor your content around the attributes you think would prompt people to post your emails to their networks.
Factors That Contribute to 'Shareworthiness'
However, you can't just count on appealing to your subscribers' altruistic or ego-feeding natures to have your emails shared. Your emails must also address these key factors:
- Trustworthiness that makes a subscriber willing to attach his or her personal brand to your content
- Tribal interests, e.g. what "tribes," or interest groups, comprise your list and what motivates them
- Simplicity of message
- Ease of sharing
- Social adoption and acumen of your subscribers
- Obvious value for the sharer and shares
- Rewards or incentives that tap into reasons why people share
- Well-written, timely and relevant content
I go into more detail in my current Email Insider column, "Are Your Emails 'Shareworthy'?" Watch for a follow-up post with advice on creating emails that your subscribers will want to forward, post and tweet. In the meantime, feel free to post your comments below or mention emails that had truly "shareworthy" content.