Email Marketing Engagement: 8 Strategies for Keeping Your List Alive & Lucrative

This article was contributed by Scott Cohen.

The key to a successful email marketing strategy is “engagement”.

Your email marketing would mean nothing if you are unable to get your subscribers to open and click on your emails. And it is a challenge… because your subscribers are literally bombarded with emails each day. It can be quite alarming for the email marketers that the number of emails sent every day is expected to reach the astronomical figure of 246 billion by the end of 2019.

To make sure that your email does not get lost in the multitude of emails in the inbox, you should be wary of certain factors that can ruin your email engagement.

Related: See here for 6 brilliant email marketing strategies

4 Reasons Why Your Emails Have Low Engagement

1. Content-heavy Emails

How many times have you deleted an email just because it had too much irrelevant text packed in it? That’s exactly what your subscribers would do if they receive such an email.

See the email below.

Content Heavy Emails

It can get quite overwhelming for your subscribers to receive such an email in their inbox. It is better to use concise copy supported by relevant images rather than a huge wall of content.

2. Rendering Challenges

Nothing is more frustrating for your subscriber than a broken email. It just ruins the email experience and leaves them wondering what the email wants to convey.

Have a look at the example below.

Broken Email Rendering

Make sure that you test your emails across all email clients and devices for proper rendering.

It is recommended that you design the emails in such a way that your subscribers do not have to pinch or zoom the email to read the content or view the images.

3. High Email Frequency

Sending out too many emails irritates subscribers. It is one of the most common reasons why they unsubscribe. Let your subscribers change their email preferences so that they can adjust the number of emails they wish to receive from you.

4. Concealing the Unsubscribe Button

It is always better to get an unsubscribe rather than a spam complaint. Never conceal your unsubscribe button or manipulate your subscribers with misleading copy. It’s okay if your subscribers unsubscribe. As a workaround, you can redirect the unsubscribe link to a preference centre in case they would like to change their email preferences.

How to Improve Email Engagement

Having discussed the factors breaking your email engagement, the next question is how you can improve your email engagement. Keep reading … for the answer!

  1. Segment your list to send personalized and targeted emails

Your email list is filled with people. Take into consideration their demographics, buying habits, and engagement patterns. Based on this information, you can segment the list to send personalized emails that is relevant to their buyer persona. Many email marketers use segmentation synonymously with personalization. That’s obviously not the case.

Use segmentation so that you can send related offers that is in sync with their previous purchase history. You can also send out location-specific emails to increase engagement through relevance. Context in content is king and segmenting allows you to do exactly that.

  1. Write an interesting subject line with relevant copy

Draft the right subject line that matches your brand personality and entices the subscriber to open the email. You can even use emojis too as a fun element.

Write persuasive copy that defines the purpose of your email and provides value for the customer. It should offer a solution to a problem your customer could be facing. Your copy can be a great story, an interesting example or a testimonial that you have received from your customer. Send out something that compels your subscribers to get in touch with you.

  1. Incorporate Interactivity in the Emails

Email interactivity takes user engagement to a different level as it inspires purpose through innovation. It effectively helps in capturing the subscriber’s attention and keep them glued to your emails. Using interactive elements like GIFs and Cinemagraph can bring you higher click-through rates and more email conversions. It triggers the curiosity instinct in the minds of your subscribers and tempts them to interact with your brand. You can use hamburger menus, accordions and sliders to offer all the important information in the inbox itself, giving the feel of mailable microsites. You can even create urgency by including a countdown timer in the email.

It makes the user experience all the more pleasant by enabling effortless consumption of information. User engagement is better as it allows you to convey substantial content in limited space.

Applications in Various Industries

  • Ecommerce store owners can use accordions to showcase their different product categories.
  • Sliders can be used by banks, automobile companies, retailers, and travel websites to display various offerings at one go.
  • Retail industry owners can promote their limited time discount offer by using countdown timers. You can effectively execute event email marketing through counters.
  1. Include Social Sharing Buttons

Email marketing and social media marketing should not be individual marketing strategies. Integrate social media marketing in your emails by adding social sharing buttons to leverage the power of both. Make sure you bring about a consistent user experience across all the channels. This will help you with better brand visibility.

  1. Consistency is the key

Follow your branding guidelines in all emails. Whether it is the logo, color scheme or font style, make sure it is the same throughout your emails. Every design element in your emails should be aligned with your brand personality.

  1. Design a prominent CTA

The design and placement of your CTA determines the level of email engagement. Define the goal of your email and strategize your CTA accordingly. It should be prominently placed right in the first fold. Multiple CTAs may distract the subscribers, so it is better to have a single CTA with an actionable verb like “SHOP NOW”. You can send out minimalistic email designs that make clever use of white space. The CTA should be in a contrasting color so that it is easily visible.

According to a case study published by ContentVerve, using first-person language in CTAs the clicks by 90% irrespective of the product. As an example, “Start my free trial” fetches better results than “Start your free trial.”

You could add the word “now” to create urgency and generate higher click-through rates.

eg. “Start my free trial now”.

  1. Automate your email marketing

Email automation allows you to engage with your customers at minimum effort. Setup email automation once and it would automatically send out the relevant email to the subscriber. Whenever a subscriber signs up, send out an onboarding email that welcomes the subscriber and sets expectations for your emails.

You can send out drip emails to nurture the prospective customer and convince them to make a purchase. However, make sure that you do not send too many emails under the pretext of creating better engagement.

Try educating the prospects regarding your services or products and target their pain points. Promote your USPs and highlight how you stand out from your competitor. Send out emails that match the buyer’s journey and lifecycle stage. The email should be in a conversational tone rather than a sales pitch. Watch the prospect’s actions closely and offer information that can aid faster decision making for them.

  1. Test your emails and evaluate the results

Carry out A/B testing by creating alternative versions of an email to figure out what’s working the best with your subscribers. Try sending out your emails at a different time and change the frequency too.

According to your target audience, the best time and frequency for sending the emails would vary. Trial and error works the best here.

The next step is to evaluate the results.

In the world of marketing, efforts are nothing without RESULTS!

Evaluate your email metrics, including open rate, click-through rate, bounces, and unsubscribes. These metrics can help you understand whether your email campaigns are successful or not.

Modify your subject lines or preheader text if your open rates are not up to the mark. If you are unable to get enough click-through rates, it could be because of a sloppy email copy. Try imparting a visual appeal to your emails. Track down the number of click-through rates generated and measure the proportion of your email conversions.

In case you are getting too many unsubscribes, it could be time to send fewer emails with more engaging content.

You can send out re-engagement email to subscribers who have been inactive for a considerable period of time. (let’s say 30 or 60 days depending on your industry and target audience)

If they still do not engage with your emails, remove them from your list. As difficult as this seems, it is important because maintaining your list hygiene is of utmost priority for email deliverability.

Email Marketing Tips Summary

Email engagement is all about creating a relationship with your subscribers instead of ‘selling’ and marketing your offerings. Use the power of persuasive words. Give people grounds on which they can prioritize your emails and send out emails that are worth your subscribers’ time and money.

If you have any other ideas, do share in the comments!

Author Bio: Scott is the VP of Marketing at InboxArmy, a full-service email marketing agency that specializes in providing email marketing services from production to deployment. Check out Scott’s email marketing tutorials & articles on Inbox Army’s Email Marketing Blog.


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