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Email remains a valuable tool for marketers to get more than a two-second message out to customers. Yet as email spam increases, people tune out more and forward less.

To prevent the tune out, follow these six steps to ensure your customers can’t help but tune in, and to such a degree that those emails will practically forward themselves.

1. Be emotional: if Facebook’s analytics have taught us nothing else, it’s that people forward and share emotional things. It doesn’t matter if you are selling soap (see the viral Dove commercial for proof here), emotions equal clicks, forwards and shares.

In email marketing, we often focus on the details, the value proposition, the facts, because it is a forum that lends itself to such information. Solid, factual content is great, but it needs an emotional lead.

2. Give them something: James Stewart once said, “Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.” Partners in a venture or effort gets a stake, something in return for their efforts.

Do the same in your email marketing: give them a chance to win, to show off, to make a big decision, to help effect a change. One of the best pieces of marketing advice ever written was the observation that people want to help.

If you give them a way to help, you’ve engaged their loyalty in a manner that is hard to undo. Give them something beyond just the chance to buy your product, and you’ll find they share that opportunity with others—and buy your product.

3. Be cute: Everyone knows the Geico gecko. He’s sassy, eye-catching and funny. And he makes something totally unpleasant to think about—car insurance—amusing.

Depending on your product and the tone of your email marketing campaign, an emotional foil like the gecko can provide big returns.

The gecko is fantastic use of basic psychology and a great way to get people to forward your emails and product information with something positive in it, even if what you are selling is quite serious.

4. Ask them to share it: Too often, we forget to give the audience a task. If we were actors on a stage, and we wanted applause at a certain moment, we would ask the audience to cheer and clap and do so ourselves.

In email marketing, be sure to ask. You can even include a simple gif composite image showing someone forwarding the email.

Tell them why you want them to forward the email: so their friends and loved ones can benefit, because your funny mascot needs more friends, so they can increase their odds of winning with extra entries. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the “why” is, so long as there is one.

5. Be honest: A forthright, honest tone, with links to your site to back up your point, is a great way to win loyalty and forwards. If your message has information in it, though not too much, your potential customers will respect that you are working from facts and ideas.

If you write your email marketing campaign around these five tips, you will find that your efforts seem to replicate themselves.

While it may require a little more planning and effort at the beginning, these techniques eliminate extra work and lead-chasing later on and better engage and educate your customer, too!