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Crafting A Viral Email Message

I’ve put together a viral email message for the Harry Potter Charity Program that’s part of our Performancing experiment.

I’d really appreciate any constructive criticism so that we can hold this up as a successful model for creating legit viral email campaigns and also make our charity effort successful. Once I’ve gotten everyone’s feedback, I plan to get this ball rolling and I’ll ask all Performancing members to help out too.

Subject Line:

One Million Harry Potter Books For Charity

Message:

Hi! I’m helping raise money for charity and want your help. All you have to do is buy a Harry Potter book.

Pretty simple, huh? The only requirement is that you’ve got to buy the book by through the following website:

http://harrypotterthedeathlyhallows.net/

When you go to that site, you’ll actually be buying the book through Amazon. However, it is extremely important that you first go to the website listed so that your book purchase is counted.

With your help, we can raise over $1,000,000 for charity. For every Harry Potter book, movie or video game that is purchased through this site, they are donating $1 to charity.

If you could forward this email to at least three friends, then together we can help raise over a million dollars for charity.

Author: ryancaldwell

14 thoughts on “Crafting A Viral Email Message

  1. Reading those three emails I still wonder about how the money goes to charity.

    “For every Harry Potter book, movie or video game that is purchased through this site, they are donating one dollar to charity.”

    One thing is that the word “they” could mean Amazon so you might want to explain that portion better.

  2. First thing I’d ask. To me, it matters.

    Second: the thing that makes this the MOST viral is that it is offering a desirable product (the newest HP book) — it takes a lot to overcome the big “ick” I feel about this sort of email, otherwise!!

  3. Just playing with the copy a bit. Here’s my suggestion.

    —–
    Did you know that you can help raise money for childrens’ charities by purchasing a Harry Potter book?

    Simply go to the website, http://www.harrypotterthedeathlyhallows.net, and click on the picture of the book cover. You’ll then be able to purchase the book through Amazon and the promoters of this drive will make a $1.00 donation to charity.

    In addition, if you will forward this e-mail to a few of your friends, you will play a big part in getting the word out to make this campaign a huge success.

    To be sure your purchase benefits a childrens’ charity, you must make your purchase by first clicking on the book cover on http://www.harrypotterthedeathlyhallows.net.

    Thank you for your participation and for caring.
    —–

  4. I prefer number 1 over the other three.

    Primarily, because it does not say, ‘we set up a website . ..’

  5. don’t explain the Amazon gig in the email, bring them to the site and explain it there.

    also have a ‘tell-your-friends’ widget on the blog.

    and yes, it can be viral as long as you tell them to spread the word – and you don’t have to give away the whole farm in the email for it.

    anyone here receive Mark Joyner’s emails? wait, I’ll forward you one – he sends em out as notification for his blog posts.

  6. Ok. I’ve discovered some things.

    The message above did not work. But these messages did.

    Message One:

    Did you know that you can use the Harry Potter Books to raise money for charity? All you have to do is buy a Harry Potter book.

    Pretty simple, right? The only requirement is that you've got to buy the book by through the following website: http://harrypotterthedeathlyhallows.net

    When you go to that site, you'll actually be buying the book through Amazon. However, it is extremely important that you first go to the website listed so that your book purchase is counted.

    With your help, we can raise over one million for charity. For every Harry Potter book, movie or video game that is purchased through this site, they are donating one dollar to charity.

    If you could send this email to at least three friends, together we can make a big difference.

    Message Two

    We've setup a website where you can provide help to children just by buying yourself a Harry Potter book The only requirement is that you've got to get the book through the following website: http://harrypotterthedeathlyhallows.net

    When you go to that site, you'll actually be buying the book through Amazon. However, it is extremely important that you first go to the website listed so that your book purchase is counted.

    With your help, we can raise over one million for charity. For every Harry Potter book, movie or video game that is purchased through this site, they are donating one dollar to charity.

    If you could send this email to at least three friends, together we can make a big difference.

    Message Three

    We've setup a website where you can provide help to children merely by getting yourself a Harry Potter book. The only requirement is that you get the book through the following website: http://harrypotterthedeathlyhallows.net/

    When you go to that site, you'll actually be getting the book from Amazon. However, for your book to be counted, you'll need to get it through the site listed above.

    Our goal is to get the word out about this, so if you'd be kind enough to send this message to a few of your friends, we'd appreciate it! Thanks.

    Is there a preference between these three?

  7. He’s been refining this marketing capability for many years. Following the rules, keeping things above board etc. (opt in and opt out links and more). I’m not terribly keen on their web site design for their own company, but for email marketing they may be a good fit. They have some sort of trial offer for an email message that I haven’t experimented with. See MercuryMessages.com

  8. Switch the message to a web page and send a short teaser in the email mentioning the Harry Potter book and the chance to help a charity. Remove ‘money’ and numbers and dollar signs from the email. Keep it short, yea

    The teaser should send traffic to the web page, which you can use to elaborate on the charity and everything associated with the process

  9. When I send out this message, it gets caught by spam filters. Any suggestions?

  10. By my estimates, I believe 1/3 of the proceeds are going to advertising expenses and 2/3 to 2 charities(1/3 each), as planned up front on a contribution cost basis.

    It is very common for organizations like the United Way to disclose the percentage that actually makes it to the charity as opposed to the percent of funds that go to admin and expenses.

    Separate item

    I think it would probably be good if the site through up a privacy policy (I have a few boiler plates available). Then in the email, you can include a link to the privacy policy.

    Invitation Plugin

    I am also wondering if there is anyone that has created an ‘invitation plugin’ for wordpress yet.

    One of those things where a person can submit the email address of 3 friends, to have an invitation sent to those friends. If there is no such plugin yet, that might be a good plugin for Performancing to tackle.

    Picture
    Lastly, I think it might help if the a small maybe about 300×300 picture of the Harry Potter Charity image were included in the email.

  11. Actually, we are spending all the extra money on advertising the program. So I don’t think that’s a problem.

  12. The other concern is that most people don’t realize that by going to your site you also get money for doing so when people order the book. You’re telling them the reason to go to the site to order the book, more than one dollar is gotten from Amazon, money that goes to the site owners. If that is clearly spelled out, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise you face a backlash when people figure this out.

  13. One obvious concern is whether this will be trapped by spam filters. Any thoughts on how we can avoid that?

Comments are closed.