Is Your Email Shareworthy?

I’ve been talking about the power of integrating email marketing and social media for many years now. I often refer to email marketing as Batman and social media as Robin.

If done well, the combination of email with social can be extremely powerful.

As Jason and I talk about in The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing, there are three ways email and social go together:

  1. Social Connecting: Asking email subscribers to connect (follow) you on social networking sites
  2. Social Sharing: Asking email subscribers to share email content on social networking sites
  3. Social Promoting: Using social media sites to promote email

I think most marketer’s are doing a pretty good job with social connecting. Nearly every email I see includes some form of “like us” or “follow us” or “subscribe to us.” Social connecting is a great to introduce your email subscribers to your social networks and increase followers.

Many marketers are starting to grasp some social promoting tactics, though as Chris Penn wrote, it may not be in your best interest to share your email newsletter in social media.

However, the one area I really see most marketers struggling is with social sharing.

Sure, they ask their subscribers to share by dropping “SHARE THIS” icons all over their emails. However, not all emails are shareworthy.

What Makes an Email Shareworthy?

That’s the #1 question that people ask me when I discuss social sharing? What makes an email shareworthy?

Other than order confirmations or email receipts containing personal information, nearly all emails have the potential to be shareworthy. The key word, of course, being potential. When creating an email and asking your subscribers to share, it’s important to remember a few guidelines:

  1. Answer the why: Why should I share? What’s in it for me? What’s in it for those I share with?
  2. Make it easy: If your subscribers have to click more than a few links/buttons in order to share your email, they are just not going to do it.
  3. Make it obvious: I can’t tell you how many social sharing icons are buried in the footer of the email. If you want subscribers to share, make sure they can see the sharing options.
  4. Allow subscribers to share content block as well as entire email: Sometimes an entire email is shareworthy while other times it’s just an article, blog post, or section of the content that folks want to share. If your email service provider has this feature, use it!

The Perfect (Missed) Social Sharing Opportunity

Over the weekend, an email from Fine Cooking landed in my inbox. The subject line jumped off my screen: “Share the joy of Fine Cooking…” As you know, a compelling subject line is very important.

I immediately opened the email from Fine Cooking and saw this (below):

Forget for a second the fact that my wife and I have been subscriber’s of Fine Cooking for several years now, I was excited to share my love for the magazine with my friends!

There was only one problem: There was no easy way to share this email with my social network.

Sure, I could have forwarded it to a few friends. I could have clicked on the “view in browser” link, copied the URL, and pasted it into Facebook, Google+, and Twitter – but that would have been too much work

This Fine Cooking email is the perfect example of a shareworthy email, yet I could not (easily) share on social media.

Notice that Fine Cooking already had a built in “why should I share?” (#1 above) with its “Save $9.95″ when you give as a gift. However, they missed the boat entirely on #2-4. It was not easy to share. It was not obvious to share. And I was not able to share certain blocks of content (or even the entire email).

Are YOU Creating Shareworthy Emails?

If so, I’d love to hear more about them so I can share them with this community (see what I did there? Share!). Please “share” in the comments below. I’m always looking for good examples!

DJ Waldow
Waldow Social

P.S. Have you heard the news? Nick Westeragaard and I have started a podcast! The Work Talk Show is a weekly podcast featuring a talk show format along with crazy smart guests who operate outside the lines of what work has traditionally looked like. We have “irreverent and insightful” conversations on work habits, work-shifting, virtual teams, productivity, travel, tools, technology, work-life balance, and everything in between as we take a look at how work gets done today.

Speaking of email marketing and social media going together like Batman and Robin, did you know that my buddy Jason Falls and I just wrote a book called The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win?

Yup. It’s true.

In the book, we dedicate an entire section to email + social. We also talk about growing your email list, and breaking “the rules” of email marketing. Break the rules and grab your copy today, right now. Here –> AVAILABLE NOW!

Reminder: There is no such thing as “best practices” when it comes to email marketing. Best practices are those that are best for your audience.

Email & Social – An Unstoppable Force to Boost Your Marketing Programs

I had the honor of speaking at one of my absolute favorite marketing events last week – the MarketingProfs B2B Forum (sign up for the 2013 event now!).

Better yet, I was able to talk for 57-ish minutes about one of my favorite topics – Batman (email marketing) and Robin (social media). If for some crazy reason you were not in Boston to see the live talk, you can view the slides below:

Email & Social – An Unstoppable Force to Boost Your Marketing Programs from DJ Waldow

Can’t see the slides? View them on Slideshare.

Oh. And one more thing. I realize that sometimes just seeing/reading slides is not quite the same as being there live, in person. You kinda miss out on the story behind each slide, the asides, the humor and wit (ha!) and, well, let’s be honest … it’s just not the same.

Good news? The kind folks at MarketingProfs are hosting a virtual “Best of B2B” event this Friday (October 12th). Guess who’s talk made the cut? That’s right!

Details and registration information is all online, of course.

While not free, it’s pretty close – only $49.95 (or “less that five bucks for each hour of awesome” as they say on the event site. Even better? If you can’t make the “live” (virtual) even on Friday, it will be available for 90 days.

Bonus: If you use this link (or any from this blog post), and enter in the code WALDOW10 at checkout, you’ll save $10 off registration. Doing the quick math, that’s now $39.95 (or less than four bucks for each hour of awesome).

Bonus #2: If you do choose to register for the “Best of B2B” virtual event on Friday, I’ll be doing 15-minutes of live – yes live, not taped – Q&A!

Pretty good deal, right?

See you there … virtually.

DJ Waldow
Waldow Social

Speaking of Batman and Robin, did you know that my buddy Jason Falls and I just wrote a book called The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win?

Yup. It’s true.

We talk quite a bit about Batman (email marketing) and Robin (social media). We also talk about a few ways to “break the rules” and still win.

Break the rules and grab your copy today. AVAILABLE NOW!

Reminder: There is no such thing as “best practices” when it comes to email marketing. Best practices are those that are best for your audience.

Stop Sharing Your Email Newsletter in Social Media

The following is a guest post from my colleague, mentor, good friend, and former co-worker (boss), Chris Penn … who also happens to be featured quite a bit in The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing.

Mr. Penn is the Director of Inbound Marketing at WhatCounts, an email marketing company based in Atlanta, as well as co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp New Media Community Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. He is an adjunct professor of Internet marketing and the lead subject matter expert and professor of Advanced Social Media at the University of San Francisco. He’s also the author of Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer.

Here’s a long-cited, long-preached best practice, so commonly accepted that it’s even built into many email service provider platforms:

Share your email socially!

We at WhatCounts did it for the longest time until recently. Our clients have done it, our competitors have done it, and now it’s something of a shock to be saying not to do it.

You read that right: stop sharing your email newsletter in social media.

Why on earth would we recommend that advice? How does that make sense in a world where email+social are the digital marketer’s peanut butter and jelly?

Two words: engagement cannibalization.

In our recent research for our series on engagement and how individual ISPs are measuring engagement, we stumbled across these notes by Hotmail and Gmail: engagement metrics are now being widely used to determine the legitimacy of the sender and the deliverability of the message. Hotmail has publicly stated and outlined that they have four metrics they are paying attention to:

  1. Messages read, then deleted
  2. Messages deleted without being read
  3. Messages replied to
  4. Frequency of receiving and reading a message from a source

This begs the question: if you share a newsletter socially, meaning that it’s viewable on the web from social media posts, does that then mean that your most engaged fans (who follow you, Like your Facebook page, etc.) will read straight from social and not open the email?

We know from our own data that we started aggressively sharing our newsletter on every social outlet in April of this year, much more so than we’d done in the past. Here’s what we used to post on social media sites:

This week's email...

Here’s the style we’ve since switched to:

This week's...

How did the new sharing design go? While we’re still collecting longer-term data, our initial results show about a 1% increase in open rate. That doesn’t sound like very much, but when your list is 60,000 people, that’s an extra 600 people opening it up!

Anecdotally, these results match up with the experience many digital natives have: once they read the content in one location, there’s little reason to read it again in another. Sharing it socially would mean not needing to open it in the inbox – and thus dampening inbox engagement.

So what should you do? Test, of course. Try a week or several weeks of letting people know that you’re publishing your newsletter, but don’t give them a link to the actual content. Make them go to their inboxes and drive up your inbox engagement numbers, then see if that impacts your ability to get email delivered to the entirety of your list.

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts

Note from DJ Waldow:

This is one of the many reasons I respect Chris Penn. He does not “break the rules” just for the sake of being a rebel. Instead, he tests. Then – and only then – does he have the data to show what works best for his audience. Remember: Best practices are those that are best for your audience.

Speaking of breaking “the rules” and being an email marketing rebel, you do know that my buddy Jason Falls and I just wrote, The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win. In this book, we dedicate an entire section to email marketing + social media. We also feature quote a few case studies from today’s guest poster, Mr. Christopher S. Penn.

Break the rules and grab your copy today. AVAILABLE NOW!

How to Grow Your Online Community Using Email Marketing & Social Media

As my friend, colleague, and founder/CEO of Blue Sky Factory, Greg Cangialosi said over four years ago, email marketing is the digital glue of social media.

I could not agree more.

In fact, I often refer to email marketing as Batman and social media as Robin.

In a 17-page guide I wrote last month for eConsultancy – Online Communities Part Three: Growing the Community – I uncover exactly how email marketing – the “digital glue” of new media – can be used to grow your online community.

Note: This is part three in a four-part series. The first report, Starting a Community, focused on establishing communities. The second report, Engaging Your Community Across Multiple Platforms, developed on that base and explored ways to engage, grow, and leverage your community.

This third report:

  • Dispels the myth that email marketing is dead
  • Discusses how email marketing is the digital glue of social media
  • Explores ways in which email marketing and social media go together like Batman and Robin to help grow online communities

Part 4 of the Online Communities series – Leveraging Your Community; Feedback, Support and Sales is coming later in the year, and will dive into ways to take advantage of the online community you’ve worked so hard to build.

The report is available for free (yes FREE) … if you register for eConsultancy as a Bronze member. Assuming you type relatively quickly, the registration process should take no more than 67 seconds. If you use Google Chrome’s autofill feature, it will take you less than 17 seconds. I promise.

Register and grab your free copy of the report now.

Register to get free report now.


DJ Waldow
Waldow Social


Looking for an email marketing book that’s not your average, boring “You MUST do this” type advice? Look no further. My buddy Jason Falls and I just wrote, The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win. In this book, we dedicate an entire section to email marketing + social media.

Break the rules and grab your copy today. AVAILABLE NOW!

Pinterest and Twitter Love Email Marketing

Email is dead.

It used to bother me when I heard someone utter that phrase or when I read a blog post proclaiming that email marketing is dead. No longer. Now I use it as a conversation starter, as an opportunity to educate folks that not only is email not dead, it’s alive and thriving.

There are a ton of studies out there proving that email marketing is far from dead. One of my favorites is from my friends at ExactTarget (read more & download the study). In fact, Jason Falls and I discuss this fallacy (and then dispel it) in the Introduction of The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing.

In case you needed a bit more proof that email is not dead, check out what two of the most popular social media sites, Pinterest and Twitter, announced recently. On May 14th, Twitter shared that they would begin rolling out an email digest – The best of Twitter in your inbox. A few days ago, Mashable wrote about Pinterest’s plan to send a “curated newsletter” to users.

As it turns out, Pinterest and Twitter love email marketing.

Wait. I thought email marketing was dead? Social media is going to replace it, right? Nope. In fact, nearly all social networking sites send out some type of email marketing message to it’s subscribers. Some of them are updates (like Facebook). Others are more detailed (like LinkedIn). Now, both Twitter and Pinterest are sending curated content to users via email marketing.

This also plays into my belief that email marketing and social media go together like Batman and Robin.

The New Twitter Email Digest

Let’s say you wanted to opt-in to the new Twitter email digest. How would you go about it? Here’s what the folks from Twitter said about opting in to this new email:

We’re rolling out this new email out to everyone over the next few weeks, so keep checking your inbox for new messages from Twitter. Like other Twitter email notifications, you can manage your preferences for this new digest in your Notification Settings.

So, again, how do you opt-in? Twitter is leveraging what my friend Janet Roberts calls a “soft” opt-out approach (another “rule breaker” we address in The Rebel’s Guide). They are rolling it out to everyone. The only way to turn it off (opt-out) is to “manage your preferences” in your Notification Settings. Here is what that looks like – notice the pre-checked box in front of all email options.

The bottom checkbox – “A weekly digest of Stories & Tweets from my network” is the new one Twitter just added. So, again, if you do NOT want to receive these new weekly digest emails from Twitter, you must go into your Notification Settings and uncheck the box.

I just started receiving these email digests from Twitter and I have to say, I kinda like them. Below is a screenshot of the top half of one of these emails from this week. Note: This example is from my 2-year old’s Twitter account. Don’t ask.

Here is what Twitter had to say about the content of these digest emails:

This new email digest also features the most engaging Tweets seen by the people you follow, even if you don’t follow those who wrote them. You can see who from your network retweeted or favorited these Tweets and click “View details” to retweet, favorite, reply or view the conversation around them.

As you can see from the screenshot above, Twitter does a very nice job of fulfilling on that promise. I really love that they show me stories of what the folks I follow are saying. The emails also show other people I follow who have shared this particular article or blog post – good “social proof.”

What happens when you click?

  • Clicking on the headline takes the reader directly to the article.
  • Clicking on the avatar brings people to the actual tweet about the article.
  • Clicking on “tweet this story” auto-populates a tweet (assuming you’re logged in) with the article headline and its associated URL.

Pretty neat, huh?

However, the bigger story here, and what I really love, is that this Twitter digest is making email more social. The inbox is becoming (slightly) more interactive – a trend I see playing out more and more as email and social begin to integrate more.

I’m very curious to see what impact these types of emails will have on social sharing. Twitter is, for all intents and purposes, using email marketing to power the social media channel. They are curating content from Twitter, dropping it into an email digest, which then redirects clickers back to … Twitter. For those folks whose articles get somehow magically selected (I’m not entirely sure how Twitter decides the content), there is an opportunity for more eyeballs on their articles.  Again, pretty neat.

The New Pinterest Curated Newsletter

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to share here (yet) as this service is quite new. I have yet to receive an email from Pinterest. Then again, maybe that’s because I have Pinterest email updates turned off. I posed this question on Twitter yesterday:

Andrew Burch replied saying that he just created his account and the email digest was sent automatically. If that’s the case, it appears that Pinterest, like Twitter, is turning this feature on by default. Andrew was kind enough to capture a screenshot of how the Pinterest email appears on his iPhone (see picture here - Celebrity Breastfeeding Mamas? Ha!).

What Do You Think?

As an email marketing guy, I just love (LOVE) it when social networking sites understand the power of email marketing. Clearly Pinterest and Twitter see the value, but what about you? How are you integrating email marketing and social media?

Also, I’d love to get your thoughts on email marketing becoming more social. Is this something you see happening more and more? Is this the next trend in email marketing?

Please share in the comments below. As always, I’d love to hear and learn from you.

DJ Waldow


As mentioned above, Jason Falls and I just wrote a new book about breaking the rules of email marketing! In the book, we talk about the fact that email marketing is not dead. We also dedicate an entire section to “the power of pairs” – using email marketing and social media together. In The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win, we share with you all sorts of email marketing “best practices” individuals and companies are breaking each and every day … and still finding success.