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In The News
Technique: How To Make Your E-mail Go Viral

April 20, 2009

Published by DM News.
Written by Amy Chubbuck

Below you can read an excerpt from a DM News column that collects expert opinions on specific subject matter. Amy Chubbuck, Senior Account Executive at Knotice, was asked to contribute her opinion on how email can become viral.

An e-mail becomes viral if the recipient feels compelled to forward it. Sometimes the recipient needs to have an incentive and sometimes they don't. Sometimes the content is so intriguing, compelling, shocking, or funny that people can't help but click the forward button. As we all know, some of our closest colleagues, friends and family forward e-mails way too often. But, just because something is viral does not mean it's doing anybody any good.

A good viral e-mail strategy does not focus on buzz-building as the ideal targeted outcome. Buzz is great, but if it's not ultimately translating into a sale or some conversion event, clients will not be happy. A good viral e-mail approach takes the form of a well-timed refer-a-friend program.

When thinking about viral, a lot of effort is put into the content, the offer, and the incentive – which are all important. But timing is a critical, but often overlooked piece of the viral e-mail strategy puzzle. For instance, if a customer is happy, the likelihood they would participate in a refer-a-friend program is much greater than if they are unhappy.

There are many indicators you can use to determine good timing. For instance, if a Web site visitor just gave a great product rating on your site, and you have their e-mail address, they are an ideal candidate for a refer-a-friend offer. If someone just completed a survey and gave you high marks, that's another example of a great opportunity for a well-timed refer-a-friend offer.

On the flip side, timing can also work against you. If someone visited your customer support page a few times in the past week and gave a negative product review or have an open trouble ticket, perhaps its best to save your refer-a-friend offer for another day.

Approaching e-mail marketing in the context of the overall direct digital marketing strategy (e-mail, Web site, mobile, etc.) is also a good strategy. But remember, the quality of the data, combined with the ability to turn it into action, unlocks even more timing possibilities.

THE TAKEAWAY: E-mail marketing efforts can be wasted if the timing isn't right

You can find the entire article here.

About the author: Amy Chubbuck is an Senior Account Executive at Knotice Ltd., a direct digital marketing solutions company. Contact her at

About Knotice
Knotice (pronounced "notice") maximizes the ROI of direct digital marketing – interactive marketing communications that can be addressed to a specific individual – through process automation, increased relevance and improved performance. Working with clients throughout North America, Knotice guides marketers toward efficient, effective application of highly-targeted marketing communications over today's primary digital channels. Founded in 2003, Knotice is headquartered in Akron, Ohio, along the banks of the Ohio-Erie Canal. For more information visit

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