When email marketers measure email campaign performance, they look at deliverability, open, and click rates. But a truly engaging email is the one that your customers want to forward to their colleagues, friends, or family. This way you increase your reach, brand awareness, and might even grow your email list. A study conducted by Litmus shows that 95% of marketing emails have been forwarded to at least one person. But how do you get people to share and forward your emails to others? In this article, we will go over the main reasons why marketing emails get forwarded.

Personalized emails

We are happy when brands wish us a happy birthday, give us special coupons and discounts, and offer products based on our preferences. Personalized emails are forwarded 4.5 times more often than standard emails. Therefore, if you have not yet personalized your newsletters, it’s time to do it. Use the data you have on your customers. Keep track of their purchase history and activity on your website. To get more information about their subscribers, many sites offer to fill out a small form upon registration. You can also ask your customers to tell you about their preferences, family composition, hobbies, etc. Then you can create more useful and relevant content for them, and your subscribers will be more likely to forward your emails to other users. Read more | Email Personalization & Design: What, How, & Why? (Featuring 10+ Email Experts) Here are two ways you can collect data about subscribers:

Ask your subscribers for their data

Sometimes, the simplest solution is the most effective. You can conduct a user survey after the registration process, to avoid disturbing your users and creating a long sign-up form. Here’s an example from an SEO tool called SE Ranking. In the first days after registration, a pop-up with a form appears inside the platform asking clients to share their personal information (business, needs, job titles, etc.). SE ranking survey Based on this information, the company segments their client database and sends more relevant emails depending on the type of business or the role of our customers.

se ranking personalized email

Example of a segmented letter addressed to agencies

This simple approach resulted in an increase of 26% in open rates for the personalized emails, according to the brand’s retention manager Anastasia.

Use your ESP’s insights

Your email lists are probably hosted on an ESP that you use to send out email marketing campaigns. Every email service provider offers a range of features allowing users to collect and analyze data about their subscribers. You can use this information to segment your lists and send out more personalized emails. In Mailchimp for example, you can automatically create different email segments based on your subscriber’s locations. example mailchimp location Segmented email campaigns generate up to a 760% increase in revenue. So if you haven’t segmented your email lists, now is the time to do it. Read more | How to choose the best ESP for your business?

Emails with a forward to a friend CTA

People often do what you tell them to do. Tell them to click on the link, they will click. Ask them to forward emails to others, they will likely forward them. A clear CTA will always nudge part of your audience to action. However, remember that your email is one of many your subscribers receive every day. And many people open their inboxes on-the-go. Therefore, such emails should be short and include a clear forward-to-a-friend link. Design your email so that it will only take one click to forward it to another person.

Immune-support to complement your daily multivitamin.

forward-email-natures-way-immune-support-to-complement-your-daily-multivitamin The “Foward email to a friend” button is usually included in the email footer. However, the brand “Intelligent Change” invited their readers to forward the newsletter in a more natural and personal way, by including a call to action in the email body. Here’s what the email looks like.

Celebrating Women


Add a subscribe link

One of the main goals behind getting people to forward your emails is to build up your emailing list. For that reason, make sure to include a subscribe link or button at the end of your email. In the email example below, the company even included a Subscribe button for people who receive the forwarded email.

Make Taco Bell Fire Border Sauce at home

top-secret-recipes-inc-make-taco-bell-fire-border-sauce-at-home The New Yorker followed a more muted approach, closer to their brand voice and style.

Daily Humor: Learning to Appreciate the Small Things


Emails that are naturally shareable

Segmentation, triggers, personalized emails and CTAs will only work if the content of your email itself makes users want to share it. There are several types of emails that are shared more often than usual.

Event invitation emails

Concert announcements, marathon dates, reviews like “Things to Do This Weekend in New York” are likely to be forwarded by your subscribers. First of all, everyone wants to know about new events. Plus, usually, people go to different events with their family or friends. Therefore, if your subscribers find out about an interesting event from your email campaign, their natural response would be to share it with their loved ones. Another category of those who will more likely forward your emails with announcements are members of a specific community. For example, if a marathon runner receives a letter about the start of registration for the next marathon, they will certainly forward this letter to their friends and other runners. kidsclub titanup event email

Updates and cancelations

Anything that can affect your subscribers’ plans will definitely grab their attention. For example, your client is planning a vacation with their friends and has bought plane tickets. If their flight has been canceled, they will most likely send the notification email to their friends. The same goes for cancellation notifications of any reservations, orders, payments, and so on. flight cancellation email

Engaging resources and helpful content

Tips and tricks, service updates, and similar types of content are likely to be shared with others. If you create pertinent and valuable content for your target audience, they will willingly share it with their friends or colleagues. This approach works especially well for various professional services. For example, Gettyimages newsletters with helpful articles and digests will encourage subscribers to forward them to other designers they know. helpful resources in email

New products, offers, store openings

49% of consumers said they would like to receive promotional emails at least once a week. This shows a genuine interest in discounts and product updates from customers. And when a customer finds your emails interesting, they are more inclined to forward them. Promotional emails will be especially interesting for fans of your brand – those who follow your updates and make frequent purchases. For example, the announcement that Calvin Klein is holding a final sale will appeal to many customers who love this brand. And many of them will forward such an email to their friends to tell them about the sale, too. discounts in email

10 things to remember when creating emails that will be forwarded

Of course, even if you follow all the tips above, there’s no guarantee that your emails will go viral. It depends on a multitude of factors. But you can still try your best and enhance your mailings. Consider this:

  1. Write catchy subject lines. Your subject line is the first element of your email campaign that will attract your subscribers’ attention. Make sure it speaks to your subscribers.
  2. Be concise. Nobody likes long emails, and nobody will forward such emails either. In fact, studies show that short, one-subject emails not only perform better but are also more shared.
  3. Design mobile-responsive emails. Remember that most people open emails from their smartphones. Make sure your emails look great on every device and email client.
  4. Use an ESP like Mailchimp, Marketo, or any other email service provider. ESPs allow you to send HTML emails to a large number of subscribers. They help you increase your deliverability rates.
  5. Add clear CTAs. Your buttons should be actionable and easy to find.
  6. Add social media share buttons.
  7. Send relevant emails. People receive dozens of emails every day. They don’t want to waste their time on generic content and will never share it. Develop your own style and brand voice. Come up with creative content and your subscribers will look forward to new emails and share them with friends eagerly.
  8. Incentivize email forwards. For example, develop a referral program, give special promo codes for people to reward them for sharing your emails.
  9. Evaluate and improve. Always keep track of your mailing results, open rates, and clicks.
  10. Forwarded emails break! That’s what we will be discussing in this next section.

Forwarded emails can break

Every email marketer, designer, and developer knows that forwarding emails can break them. Forwarding emails will break the HTML and makes columns, buttons, and spacing and margins messed up.

Read more | Why my email templates look messed up when forwarded?

Make sure you add a “Forward to a friend” link directly from your ESP if they support this option.

Another way to avoid broken emails is to include a “View on browser” link that your subscribers can easily copy and send to their friends and family.

If you are using the forward option to send your marketing team emails, during the review and approval phase of email creation, you can simply use Chamaileon’s embedded features, such as:

  • Sending test emails
  • Generating a preview share link
  • Inviting your managers to review your email and leave comments through our Review & Approval workflow.

Let’s Sum It Up

Creating a viral email is a million to one chance. It needs creativity, relevance, useful content, personalization, and many more components.

Experiment, add new features, videos, links, etc. After all, it all comes down to giving subscribers what is interesting and important to them. Then they will definitely share your emails with others.