25% of Shared Emails are Shared Because of Content

March 5, 2012By

Email is important.

Companies of all kinds understand the importance of an email list.

As a result of the profitability of emails to certain types of customers, companies are always looking to increase the number of subscribers on their file. There are lots of ways to do this. The company could simply offer something unique and interesting in their emails. They can add email sign-ups on their website. They can encourage their social media followers to subscribe to emails.

Another common way for companies to increase email subscribers or to just increase brand awareness is by having current subscribers forward emails to friends.

There was an interesting study shared on eMarketer concerning this very thing.

From Emails with Discounts Shared Most Often:

According to Q4 2011 research from email marketing software provider Emailvision, more than a third of email marketers around the world said email promotions that included a discount got more shares than any other type of campaign.

I find this interesting, but not surprising. Discounts always get shared. People want value and certain segments of consumers only look for deals.

But what if you don’t want to attract the customers that only want deals?

There is something more interesting in the data in the linked article that may interest you.

25% of Email Sharers Share Content

If you look in further in the article you notice that:

Humorous marketing emails ran a relatively distant second, with just under 21% of marketers saying these emails got the most shares.

Coming in last in the study was Controversial Content at 5.6%.

Now, on their own, these two segments don’t seem like much. But 25% of all emails shared is a big deal. Even if this is one study it still shows that one fourth of all content is shared not because of a discount or promotion.

For companies that write and want to gain subscribers and attention without giving away the farm there is hope. People will forward content, but it has to be interesting content. In fact, it has to be funny content most times and other times it has to be controversial or stunning.

The funny thing you probably understand. We all know someone that shares emails forwarded on to thousands of people of the photo of the cute animals. There are millions of examples. These emails do well. They rarely have branding attached to them.

Perhaps there is a strategy there, though, for someone like a wedding photographer. A series of blog posts or emails could include funny outtakes from weddings. It could be a daily blog post and a weekly email newsletter. People would subscribe to that list. People would also forward the photos to their friends especially if they were involved.

Controversial content does well too. People share it because it’s interesting and polarizing. Something I’m always trying to do (with only some success) is to include more controversy in my writing. It brings in people from both sides of an argument and can really work to grow interest in a blog and in an email list. The proof to that is right here in this study.

People love a good controversy and they share it with others.

Just checkout the most emailed articles at The New York Times. There are tons of controversial articles being shared. There are also interesting articles being shared. If it’s interesting, people will share it.

If you add a bit of controversy to your blogging and email you will probably get some shares from your current subscribers.

And your list will grow.

What are some other ways to increase subscribers with content?