Our Forward to a Friend tool uses the *|FORWARD|* merge tag to lets your subscribers easily forward and share your campaign. Below, you'll learn more about the Forward to a Friend link, as well as how to customize your forms and add the Forward to a Friend link to your campaigns.

In this article:

About Forward to a Friend

The Forward to a Friend tool is super simple for you and your subscribers, but it's made up of a few parts: the forwarding form and email, the link you put in your campaign, and the tracking information on your reports. In a way, it's a link or button, a form, and an action.

It's a good idea to include this link in all your campaigns, especially if your subscribers are likely to share your content via email in addition to or instead of social networks. When a subscriber clicks the Forward to a Friend link in your campaign, they'll fill out your custom forwarding form to share your campaign with a single email contact.

How It Works

The Forward to a Friend link makes sure that your subscribers' data and accounts stay private, by sharing a link to your archived campaign. Merge tags and update profile links are tied to the original subscriber, but an archived campaign only shows default merge tag values and links.

As soon as a subscriber clicks Send Email on the forward form, it counts as a forward on your Reports page. Once a campaign has been forwarded using the Forward to a Friend link, we'll display Forwarded opens on that page, too.

The Forward to a Friend link offers two big benefits to you as a sender. First, it prevents your subscribers from being unsubscribed by people they forward to. This is because the link does not forward the campaign your original subscriber received, so their information is not available to be accidentally unsubscribed by the recipient.

By contrast, if a subscriber forwards a campaign using the forward button in their email client instead the Forward to a Friend link in your campaign, the new recipient gets the subscriber's campaign instead of the archived one. That version shows the original subscriber's data, and the new recipient could accidentally unsubscribe the subscriber from your list.

The second benefit is that having subscribers use this link protects you from spam complaints. If someone were to hit the "report spam" button on a forwarded email, they would be reporting spam sent from the email address that did the forwarding, not your MailChimp account. So you don't have to worry if one of your recipients forwards the email to someone who doesn't want it.

If you're forwarding to a whole bunch of people (like a listserv, or a list outside of MailChimp) the Omnivore system will detect that in other ways besides abuse complaints.

Customize Your Forms

Part of the Forward to a Friend tool is the form your subscriber fills out to send the archived campaign link to their email contact. You can customize the color schemes for both the form and the email the new recipient will receive. MailChimp's translation feature is also available.

  1. Navigate to the Lists section.
  2. Click Signup forms.
  3. Select General Forms.
  4. On the Signup form drop-down menu, choose either Forward to a Friend form or Forward to a Friend email to edit.
  5. Click the Design it tab to make changes to the color scheme.
  6. To translate your form or email, click the Translate it tab and select a language or Custom to type your own labels.

How to Add Forward to a Friend

Once your form and email have been customized, there are four ways to include the Forward to a Friend link in your campaign.

Add Forward Link Using the Link Tool.

  1. Navigate to the Design step of the Campaign Builder.
  2. Click the text content block you want to edit.
    Campaign builder pencil icon
  3. Add the text you want to link, such as Forward to a Friend, and highlight it.
  4. Click the Link icon in the toolbar.
  5. Type or paste the *|FORWARD|* merge tag into the Web Address (URL) field.
    Pop up screen for Link
  6. Click the Insert button.
  7. Click the Save & Close.

Add Forward Link in the Source Code

  1. On the text block toolbar click the Source < > icon to view the source code.
    Source code button
  2. Add the following code where you want your forward link to appear.
    <a href="*|FORWARD|*">Forward</a> this email to a friend
  3. Click the Source < > icon to return to the visual editor to review the design.
  4. Click Save & Close.

Add Forward Link in Your Custom Code

If you've custom-coded a template or campaign, you can also add a Forward to a Friend link to your own HTML. Copy and paste the following code wherever you'd like the link to appear.

<a href="*|FORWARD|*">Forward this email to a friend</a>

Add Forward Link in Plain-Text Campaign

When editing a Plain-Text Campaign, type the merge tag in as regular text.

Forward this email to a friend: *|FORWARD|*

We'll populate the link automatically once your campaign sends.

Troubleshooting and FAQs

  • Merge Tags Are Empty
    In the archived version of your campaign, MailChimp will display default merge tag values instead of subscriber-specific content. If your merge tags appear blank in archived and forwarded campaigns, you may need to set your default values.

  • A Single Subscriber Report Shows a Lot of Opens
    If you have a few subscribers who look like they're opening your campaign 15 or 100 times, they may be forwarding your campaign through their email client. Because of the way campaigns and subscribers are linked, each forwarded open counts as an open on that subscriber's record . Encourage subscribers to use the embedded Forward to a Friend link, and MailChimp will track those forwards in your campaign reports.
  • Preview Doesn't Show *|FORWARD|* Link
    The *|FORWARD|* merge tag generates a link to where your archived campaign is hosted online. Since you haven't sent your campaign yet, the archive isn't available for previews and test emails to display the correct link. The tag functions as expected when you send your campaign to a managed list (not test email addresses).

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