Social sharing gets a lot of attention — in large part, because it’s relatively easy to measure — but the all but invisible email forward can be just as powerful for brands. Whereas social sharing is public, diffuse, and powerful at driving top-of-the-funnel awareness, email forwards are private, targeted, and excel at driving bottom-of-the-funnel action.
To better understand email forwarding behavior, Litmus (my employer) used its Email Analytics tool to measure the forwarding activity from more than 400,000 email campaigns. We then analyzed more than 200 campaigns from the most forwarded 1% of emails and compared them with an equal number of campaigns from the middle-of-the-pack median, looking at differences in tactics and email topics.
The findings, detailed in The Viral Email report, sometimes reinforced common sense but other times revealed counterintuitive approaches. Here are five key tactics for spurring email forwards, including two not included in the report.
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