Like this? Then Pass it on.

If I get another chain email from my mother I’ll block her email address. There. I’ve said it and I’ve said it out loud. I don’t like them but I can see why some people do, and I can see why these styles of emails are passed on.

Let’s see if we can get that share-ability factor working for you…

In this post I am writing about those things that speak directly to my mother:
If you know what motivates potential customers to pass your content on, you have a much better chance of getting them to keep doing so in the future.
This means more traffic, a higher profile and more chance of reaching your ideal customer.
And we all want that, right?

Why is it that people are willing to continually pass on content from certain sites to friends, while not at all for other sites?

Here are 3 of the main factors that come into play when it comes to why people pass on (or share) certain pieces of content and not others.

1. Thinking with their hearts rather than their heads

Really great marketing gets people to take action by having them think emotionally rather than logically.

Let’s take a look at the Fenton video.


In the video a dog owner loses control of his dog, a Labrador called Fenton. The dog starts to chase the deer and the owner is getting frustrated. Fenton’s owner gets so annoyed he says “Jesus Christ” quite loudly a few times.

If a video gets someone really shocked and outraged about something, they will post that video on their Facebook wall. Again if people found it funny –  a strangely named Labrador getting yelled at as it herded deer across Richmond park… they’ll share it on Twitter.

It wasn’t necessarily that the video presented anything shocking, but the fact it managed to get the watcher in an emotional state and they shared the video with their friends and colleagues.

If you can get your content to really get people fired up, they’ll often be more likely to share it via their network.

How do you know when it’s the right kind of emotionally charged content?
…When people start creating video responses to the original video.

Did you see the  JK Wedding Dance video?


Lots of views and shares, it was uplifting to see such dancing down the aisles! 70 million other people thought so too.

And then came the Divorce.


The video response to JK Wedding Dance was the JK Divorce by a video production company, and so far that has achieved over 9 million views. Why? Because people are cynics? No,  because the response was emotionally charged and connected to the first video.  If you don’t have a dog willing to chase the deer, you can create a video response to a viral video or a parody. We have all seen variations of the Downfall excerpt of Hitler in his bunker.

Even Fenton has video responses


If you do decided a video response or parody style response is for you do check out the legal options first.


2. Wanting Their Friends to Have a Good Experience

When was the last time you saw a really great film? What did you do as you come out of the cinema? The chances are you were talking about the film and that so-and-so would also love to see the film. You are already mentally rehearsing how you will share the great film with friends who have yet to see it.

This marketing principle is very basic. It’s the same reason why we recommend restaurants and contractors to friends: we want them to have a good experience.

If you create a website that helps people in a niche industry do things faster and cheaper, there’s a good chance your content will get passed around simply because people want their friends to save money.

To make this process easier, it often helps to have “bite sized” chunks of information.

For example, if your garage has a website filled with blog posts about how to repair your car, instead of having someone just pass on your website url (which is not emotionally charged), it’s much easier for them to pass on an infographic specifically about “how to repair your car”.

Some people fear sharing too much information but the truth is you cannot share too much information – it’s what demonstrates your expertise, it’s what makes you stand out from the crowd.

The key thing to remember is that sharing information not only helps identify you as an expert but also builds the customers confidence in your service. How many Haynes manuals do you have? Yet you still take the car to your local, highly recommended garage.


3. Reciprocal marketing: You Helped Them; They Want to Help You

Have you ever had the experience of getting such great customer service that you wanted to return the favour? For example, you go to a restaurant whose service is so great that you feel like you want to bring more people to their establishment just because you want to help them out. A warm welcome, great food, attentive staff and you are already thinking of family and friends that you could bring along to sample their culinary delights.

If your clients get the sense that you’re really looking out for them and that you really care about them and their experience, they’ll often be willing to return the”favour”.

Ordinary service doesn’t elicit this kind of loyalty: being extraordinary does.   If you provide exceptional service, this kind of marketing can be one of the most powerful marketing weapons in your arsenal.

Many viral campaigns work just based on using one of these principles.
Few campaigns activate all three principles, but those that do really take off.

The next time your mother passes along one those emails, think about why she did and what you can take from the subject. Is it because it’s

  • Emotionally charged?
  • Makes you want to share a good experience?
  • Reciprocal?

How can you take the content and adapt it for your business?

About the Author: Sarah Arrow is a UK based business blog coach  and managing editor of Women’s Business magazine, Birds on the Blog

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.




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