Creating an email campaign that is easy for others to share is important to help get the word out. See one example of how NOT to do it, and how to fix it.

I was asked by one of our clients to “retweet” an email communication that came from their Corporate / National Organization. Unfortunately, we were unable to (easily) do so due to the poor design and approach of the overall campaign. This article describes what could have been done to make it easier for others to help promote the campaign.

Our client is the local chapter of said corporate organization, and maintain their own marketing and online/social presence. We help manage their website and online and social marketing. One of the local board members simply forwarded us the email and asked to retweet (or post, share, link to) the message to their local client base. They wanted to help spread the word, and provide value to their users. The email was sent from Constant Contact one of the popular email marketing platforms.

Easy enough, right?

Five mistakes to avoid when email marketing

Five mistakes to avoid when email marketing

Not so fast. As an online marketer who manages content and marketing across multiple platforms for this client, we typically have the following options at our fingertips when sharing a campaign:

  • No Email Archive Link – I could have visited the email archive link and shared it on the Facebook Wall and Twitter Feed. Most modern email templates / designs include a link back to an online version of the email – essentially a webpage version of the email, which is shareable in itself.
  • No Website Article, Post, Page (To Link to) – I could have visited the corporate website blog or news or announcements section and posted/tweeted the direct link back to the article, just as if we were sharing/spreading our own campaign. There was no such announcement, event, page, blog post related to the campaign.
  • No Social Media Post – I could have visited the national organizations Facebook page or Twitter feed to “share” or “retweet” the post? This would have been the easiest for not only us to do, but for our client as well. Social media was essentially designed with sharing in mind.

Due to the poor design and approach of this campaign, none of these options were available.

Additional Campaign Design Issues

Aside from the sharing issues noted above, there were a few other issues with this campaign.

  • Timeliness – The campaign invited users to apply for a “sponsorship” type of activity, where a few select individuals would essentially win a 4-day trip to mexico as part of a marketing trip with national group. This invitation was emailed only 4 days prior to the submission deadline. It’s alot of work to plan/block out a 4 day vacation to begin with, let alone the application process itself. Further, the trip was only 4 weeks away, making it further difficult to people to plan for.
The timing of this campaign was very compressed, likely reducing the number of actions.

The timing of this campaign was very compressed, likely reducing the number of actions.

  • Broken Email Links – In addition to the lack of links and sharable content noted above, the email itself was broken. None of the footer links in the email itself worked. There were the typical Facebook, Twitter icon/link links in the footer, but not a single one of them. Ironically, the “Share / Forward This Email” button was also broken.
Broken links in the email footer made harder to quickly get to their other platforms. Plus, it just looks bad.

Broken links in the email footer made harder to quickly get to their other platforms. Plus, it just looks bad.

On The Flip Side

I don’t know the extent of additional marketing activities that are tied to this particular campaign. They may have a very active and engaged email list, where the content, instructions and items within the email by itself were enough to effectively market this campaign and spread the word. This could have been a simple email blast only to a select few people.

Next Best Thing (At a Minimum, Do This)

If one does not have the time, expertise or money to create and manage a complete online campaign, the email blast should have at least been made with an Archive Link for others to share, link to, etc. Even Constant Contact mentions the benefit of having an archive link:

You can share the URL for your archived emails or your archive homepage on your website, in social media posts, and in other emails.

In Closing

Campaigns take alot of work. There are alot of moving parts and different platforms to consider and plan for. The overall campaign strategy must be accounted for and planned accordingly to maximize their effectiveness.