Home | Email Marketing | Forward to a Friend: Enabling Subscribers to Share Your Emails

Forward to a Friend: Enabling Subscribers to Share Your Emails

Do you have an email marketing message that you want your subscribers to share with their contacts? It could be an upcoming sale or an event that your company is hosting, and you want as many people as possible to know about it. As it turns out, there are a few methods you could implement in ClickDimensions to help your subscribers share your emails with their own contacts. In this post, I will show you how to set up one of the simpler methods.

Before we get started, here’s something to keep in mind: we never want to collect the contact information for an individual who has not opted in. So, with respect to permission-based marketing, my setup is going to allow my recipients to share the email directly with their friends via a mailto link.

You will need an email built in the ClickDimensions freestyle email editor and a landing page built in our freestyle landing page editor to get started. A subscription page is an optional element.

Step 1: Build the Email

To build my email, I used the ClickDimensions drag and drop editor initially so that I could use the formatting features available in it. And right above the footer, I added a content area that has my share link.

However, I need to have a freestyle version of this email available so that I can access the source code of the email. So, I cloned the email send record for my drag and drop email and changed the clone’s Editor Type field to freestyle.

This saves a copy of my email (built in drag and drop) with the freestyle editor so I can access the source code in Steps 2 and 3 of this blog post. If you’re already building emails in the freestyle editor, you can skip this and move on to Step 2. You can also find alternate methods of archiving emails to landing pages here.

Step 2: Create a Landing Page

I am creating a web version of my email from the freestyle email because I want to include a static version of the email that anyone can access but that does not have a specific person’s email address or other contact info on it.

First, I will go to my freestyle email send, open the editor, select the Source button and copy all the source code.

Then, in Settings > Web Content, I will create a new freestyle landing page. Once the record is saved, I will click on the Design button and then select the Source button to paste in the code from my Freestyle email. This is a really easy and clean way to get my email code over so that it’s a mirror copy of what’s in my email, as you can see in the image below.

Now, I also need to make a slight change to my web version here. As we saw in Step 1, I have a link that says, “Share this email with a friend,” but that isn’t going to make sense to the forwarded individual.

Instead, my link should encourage the forwarded individual to sign up for our newsletter by linking to one of my subscription pages. You can create a special subscription page if you like for this type of scenario, or you can use one of your regular subscription pages.

Since this is a landing page, I can also remove the unsubscribe link section. With both changes in place, the footer of my page looks like this.

Once I have saved my landing page, I am going to click the Embed button, and then copy the Embed as Link URL to use in my mailto link in Step 3.

Step 3: Adding the Mailto Link

With the customized web version of my email set up, I’m going back to the freestyle version of my email to alter my forwarding link.

If I click on the Source button of the email, I will search for the Share link—you can use Ctrl+F to search for the specific words you used in your link.

Now in the <a> tag that precedes the Share text, I’m going to alter what’s in the href attribute to look like this:

For the mailto link, I left the recipient email portion blank and only added content for the subject and body of the email. There are other content options for mailto links, which we show here.

Once that’s in place, I will save the editor and then I can either do a test send or clone the email and send the clone to myself. And when I click on that share link, I have the following email created from my email inbox.

The To field is blank so the original recipient can select which of their contacts they want to send this to. Once their friend(s) receive the email, they can click on that link and be taken to the web version of the email that we created.

With these three simple steps, you can quickly generate this sharing method for your email campaigns and encourage more people to subscribe.

Happy Marketing!

About the Author:

Carolynn Carriger is the Operations Content Administrator at ClickDimensions.


  1. Allison Joyce April 6, 2018 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    Hi! It would be much better if the system created an HTML web page out of each email send. I have used other systems that do that, and it’s very convenient and saves marketers time.

  2. Kat Williams June 28, 2018 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    How is the Share Link created?

    • mm
      ClickDimensions Marketing July 3, 2018 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Creating the link is a two-step process shown in Steps 2 and 3 of the post. So that webpage you’re creating in Step 2 is a copy of your email and what you will be sharing in your email. But in Step 3, you will use that webpage’s link as part of your mailto link so that when your readers click on it, an email draft automatically opens in their inbox with the webpage link and they simply have to insert their friend’s email address in the To field.

  3. Trish July 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Does this mean I’ll need to have 2 email sends everytime – one for the web version, one for the email version?

    • mm
      ClickDimensions Marketing July 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Trish! When you create your web version of the email, you’re just cloning the original email (built in Drag and Drop) into the Freestyle editor. This can be done from either an Email Send or an Email Template. You don’t need to build or maintain that Freestyle clone though because once you’ve grabbed the source code from the Freestyle clone, you will place that code into your landing page. So you can delete the clone if you wish. It’s really just a stepping point to easily get you to that customizable web version.

  4. Brittany Serhus July 6, 2018 at 9:21 am - Reply

    Will I be able to track the forwards or is this just to encourage people to forward the email? If you can track the forwards, do we get the persons email address or just a total number of emails forwarded?

    • mm
      ClickDimensions Marketing July 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your question, Brittany! This set up is mainly to encourage/allow forwarding to occur so there isn’t any tracking happening on the friend’s email address. However, since you’re directing them to a landing page, you would be able to access the page views/visits for it and gauge engagement there. The Email Stats report would also give you the number of clicks on that forward to a friend link so you could see how many times the original recipients accessed it.

      One thing to keep in mind with this set up is that part of its focus was on not collecting the email addresses. With growing regulations on sending emails, we wanted to present a method that allowed for the emails to be forwarded but without the email addresses being collected when they haven’t had an opportunity to opt in.

      • Wannita May 20, 2019 at 2:54 am - Reply

        I followed the steps and the mailto functionality worked. However the only issue is the formatting, specifically the spacing between the ‘blocks’ in the template. There seems to be no issue when the email template is in Drag and Drop but when I changed the Editor Type to Free Style and used this email template in the email send, the spacing looked off and made the email look horrible (in Outlook and Gmail)! Are there any workaround or troubleshoots that you can suggest?

        • mm
          ClickDimensions Marketing May 23, 2019 at 12:05 pm - Reply

          Thanks for your comment! The intent of the post is to show you how to mirror your email in a landing page so the reason you’re cloning a drag and drop email to freestyle is just to grab the source code to use in the landing page. It’s recommended that you send the email from the drag and drop editor instead of the freestyle clone.

  5. Wannita July 25, 2019 at 12:10 am - Reply

    Thank you! If the Drag-and-drop template is to be used in the email send, I’m stuck on the part of where I should add the custom mailto link in the email send. How do I embed this link in Drag-and-drap template?

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