Suffering from communication overload, consumers developed inner firewalls, rejecting brand messages. An efficient way to sneak beyond these firewalls is the peer-to-peer endorsement. Friends are the only ones who do not force them to buy something. Exploiting pre-existing social networks, viral direct e-mailing provides businesses with exponential increases in brand awareness, at zero distribution costs.
Your own e-quake through direct e-mailing
First and foremost, don’t mess up your subject line! When your SEO copywriter composes the title, you spend 80 cents out of the advertising dollar. So, no puns, lyrical titles or highfalutin language. David Ogilvy was confessing that once he used the word "obsolete" in a headline targeting housewives only to discover that 43% of them didn’t have the slightest idea what it meant. Better still, in another title he employed the term "ineffable" only to discover that he himself didn’t know what it meant.
The Bulk folder is another assassin. To keep away from it, don’t place the following words and symbols in the subject field: "free", "cash", "money", "guarantee", "discount", "loan", "buy", "win", "save", "prize", "%", "$", "™", "*". The new generation spam filters also scan the body copy, assigning a score depending on keyword density. Once you hit a spam threshold, bang… the Bulk (or the Matrix!) has you.
Avoid negatives in the subject field. The speedy reader can just miss the "no", and your amazing brand tagline "We use no templates" changes into "We use templates". No prospect would take money out of his pocket for a "me-too" website, killing brand singularity.
For the direct e-mail body, beware of superlatives, generalizations and platitudes. Stuff your copy with factual information, stats and poll results. You can always resort to datamonitor.com, Reuters, CBS, BBC. And don’t worry about the length of your e-mail – renowned studies have shown that readership plummets up to 50 words per copy, but decreases very little between 50 and 500 words.
The God-sent benefits of the viral campaign
A viral marketing study published in Business Wire (2006) and conducted by Sharpe Partners, an interactive marketing agency, found that 89% of adult Internet surfers in the United States forward compelling e-mails to their friends. Furthermore, 63% of the respondents share content at least once a week, while 25% pass along the attractive e-mails daily or almost daily. Sharpe Partners’ study also concluded that 75% of the interviewees spread the content to a maximum of six other recipients, only 5% refusing to pass along content containing clear brand promises.
Checking the type of content, humorous material proved most popular, 88% forwarding jokes and cartoons. The other conspicuous viral categories were news (56%), followed by health care and medical advice (32%), spiritual material (30%), games (25%), business and personal finance info (24%), hobbies / sports (24%).
For an amplified viral effect, you can always try rich-media e-mails. Containing high-quality graphics, Flash animations, audio-video material or banners, they are more dynamic and forward-tempting.
Viral direct e-mailing is heaven-sent for SMEs for the following reasons:
- No distribution costs. Your business will reach much broader targeting at almost no expense, since individuals forward the brand proposition willingly. Time is the new currency.
- Viral marketing is not intrusive or interruptive advertising, unlike most traditional techniques. A TV commercial annoys the viewer by pausing the movie or show he was interested in. That’s why people learned to use commercial breaks as bathroom breaks. Pop-ups, superstitials, interstitials, floating ads are even more aggressive, forcing Internet users into watching them, and attracting negative brand attitudes through this pushy approach. According to the Yankelovich 2005 study, 7 out of 10 Internet users are looking for ways to block, opt-out, or eliminate advertising.
- More effective targeting. When forwarding an e-mail, the sender knows best which of his friends, family members or work colleagues is more likely to enjoy the message based on common interests and hobbies. The targeting will not be simply demographic, but also psychographic, preventing you from pestering people with no affinity for your brand.
In the name of flawless SEO copywriting and viral spread, implement these strategies to your success.