Disclaimer: I am not an email marketing expert. This post was inspired by observations with my own email marketing campaign. If your email newsletter uses your blog post content, then consider testing this!
What I am going to suggest might go against every tenet of social email marketing anyone has every suggested—what if you took the social share buttons OUT of your email newsletters? I can hear the arguments already starting—“share buttons encourage engagement with recipients,” “social share buttons let my network do the content promotion for me,” “share buttons help my content get seen by more people” and so forth.
Now, I’m not saying we should so away with social share buttons entirely. I think share buttons on a blog are incredibly important, both from an SEO and user experience point of view. If a visitor wants to share a blog post, of course I want to make it as easy as possible for them to so even. Even removing one or two clicks in the process can make a big difference in how many times a blog post or article gets shared on the various social sites. And we all know that the more times a piece of content is shared the more valuable it becomes in the eyes of the search engines (thanks to social signals) and the better it will do in the SERPs. Whenever I start working with a client that doesn’t have share buttons on their blog that is one of the first recommendations I make.
But I’m not taking about share buttons on your blog; I’m talking about the share buttons in your email newsletters.
A few months ago I toyed around with the idea of removing share buttons from my company’s email newsletters, just to see what would happen. I use our company (Brick Marketing) blog posts as the content in my email newsletters as the point of the newsletter is to share useful SEO related information with my audience, give old blog posts a second chance at life and drive more traffic to my blog. I was worried that without the share buttons my newsletters wouldn’t get a much traction, but I decided to test it for a few weeks, just to see what would happen.
After a few email newsletters had gone out I checked out the numbers and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw—the blog posts were getting more shares than they had ever gotten before! I realized that the social share buttons in the newsletter weren’t doing me that much good. I wanted readers to share the individual blog posts because that had more SEO value for my site in the long run. Sharing the newsletter was still good because it introduced my brand to a bigger audience, but my site wasn’t reaping the benefits of those social shares. Since the newsletters are stored in an archived subdomain on the email marketing company’s site, my blog wasn’t the one getting the links and share signals. But, by removing those share buttons from the email, people that wanted to share my content could directly share the blog post. I made it the only way they could share, and even if that meant fewer people were sharing the newsletter as a whole, my blog was getting the extra links!
Taking the social share buttons out of your email newsletters might not be the best idea for every company. For instance, if you send out a promotional email you want people to share that offer directly with one another, so share buttons make a lot of sense. In my case, I wanted to get readers sharing the content that was within the newsletter, not necessarily the newsletter itself. By removing the share buttons, I ensured that people who wanted to share my content could only do it in a way that directly benefitted my blog.
I’m not saying this will work for every company, but it might be worth a test!