Sharing Links for Email 101

Adding sharing links in emails, can help create pass through and lift the content views significantly. Today, enabling sharing on Facebook, Twitter and through email are the most common, though Google+ may soon make sense for certain audiences.

 

General Suggestions:

  • To be able to share something, it must live on the Web. If the content only appears in the email and there is no campaign landing page, article or Web page that corresponds to the content, then sharing is not possible. The URL you share is the link to the Webpage.
  • Share the article or content, not the whole email. If the whole email is hosted somewhere you can share it, but people don’t like to share marketing vehicles. Instead put the sharing links in line with the content so that someone is sharing the particular piece of content that interests them.
  • When writing copy for a sharing link, be sure to use the customer’s voice, or be as concise as possible. The customer is the one doing the sharing; you’re just helping them make it easier.

Creating the Links:
You can’t use the same buttons that Webpages use, since JavaScript doesn’t work in most email clients. Instead you need to create your own hyperlinks. There are a couple of conventions, but the simplest to use are the following:

Twitter
http://twitter.com/home/?status=CONTENT_AND_URL_HERE
Content must be under 140 characters. The user will be asked to login if they aren’t already. Be sure to put a URL in the content. Note: spaces, and special characters like hash tags must be encoded. See below for encoding tips.

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=URL_HERE

Email
mailto:ENTER_AN_EMAIL_ADDRESS_HERE?subject=ENTER_SUBJECT_HERE&body=ENTER_BODY_COPY

Google Plus
https://plusone.google.com/_/+1/confirm?hl=en&url=URL_HERE

Email and Twitter support custom copy. Facebook and Google+ pull data from the Webpage, and then allow the person doing the sharing to add their own comment.

 

Encoding the URLs

  • Replace each space with %20
  • Replace each # with %23
  • Do not use smart quotes or smart single quote marks,  “  or ‘ . Instead, use a traditional straight up and down quote or apostrophe like ‘ or ” .
  • Avoid superscript like ½ 3rd  instead use 1/2 or 3rd
  • Don’t use ?, & or % to represent what they usually mean. They are all used to indicate other things in URLs. If you need to use one of these characters, or any other special characters like a trademark, registration mark you can look up the appropriate codes at http://www.w3schools.com/tags/ref_urlencode.asp Most codes are a % followed by two digits. Example: $ is %24
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