The Email Diva has been pondering social networks, and came to this obvious yet surprising conclusion: Among adult women, pass-along email is the primary social networking medium. This phenomenon presents an opportunity for both charitable and commercial enterprises.
Every day, I get funny, touching and/or cause-related emails from my network of friends and colleagues. I frequently disparage these emails, depending on their level of cheesiness, but I open and read them nonetheless. Some I forward along.
Charitable causes are particularly well-suited for this market. Commercial enterprises can align themselves with charitable organizations, as P&G did so brilliantly with the Tide ColdWater Challenge.This initiative had all the important elements for a woman's social network: a charitable aspect (money was donated to the National Fuel Funds Network to assist families with their utility bills); a money-saving aspect (among the product benefits touted was that users would use less electricity by washing clothes in cold water) and an environmental aspect (product users would also consume less energy).
The strategies for creating a successful social networking campaign can be found in WOM 101by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. The most applicable are: 1) Encouraging communications -- developing tools to make telling a friend easier and 2) Giving people something to talk about -- information that can be shared or forwarded.
Among the most memorable (and most likely to be forwarded) emails are those that employ comics-strip graphics. I received via email a comic strip by cartoonist Wiley Miller on Holocaust remembrance that was particularly powerful. Someone in my extended social network had saved the comic strip from 6/11/2002, or perhaps it has been making the rounds since then! The cartoon aspect made it visually engaging while the copy delivered the punch. As with all good email, the graphics and text worked in perfect harmony.
I'll add the Email Diva's tip for this medium: it has to tug at the heartstrings. Tell a personal story. If it doesn't make the first few women who see it tear up, you haven't hit the mark. It's not something you can fake; it must be genuine.
Here's hoping you can genuinely tap into the power of women. Happy Mother's Day and
The Email Diva
Send your questions or submit your email for critique to Melinda Krueger, the Email Diva, at email@example.com. All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.