Engagement is at the heart of successful email campaigns. Even if you have neatly drafted alluring emails to be sent out, it won’t make a difference if nobody engages with them due to a flat subject line.
On the flipside, while an email with a better subject line may hook people in, the actual email needs to interest people to engage with the website or product it is discussing.
Here, we discuss how engagement-based email marketing works, how to utilise it, and how it can help nurture and foster relationships with those who matter to your business.
First off, you need data. You need to objectively see what is working, what isn’t, and where to improve.
This can only be achieved through email tracking. A business which has a detailed cross-section of its email marketing is always going to perform better than those who are shooting in the dark with hopeful campaigns.
Namely, you should focus on the following metrics:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
- Spam complaints
- Forwarding rate
By analysing the data, you can then see what aspects you’re nailing, and what aspects you’re lagging behind on.
For example, if you sent off several emails with a high open-rate but low conversion and click-through rate, this is a strong sign that you are using effective subject lines but have poorly-written or uncompelling copy.
Spam complaints and high numbers of unsubscribers on the other hand, tend to point to content that strikes the user as annoying or the tone is seen as overzealous.
Once you know which metrics are lagging and which are flying, then you can build a plan into your strategy moving forward.
Subject lines need to be powerful. Whether an email inbox is well kept with a few emails or a disorganised chorus of hundreds of different brands asking for attention, having a crisp, clear, and effective subject line is the best way to pass the first hurdle: getting your email opened.
Subject lines are at the heart of driving engagement. The best subject lines are short, descriptive and positive. Of course, you can explore different styles, but it should always be underpinned by these three qualities.
Be as creative as possible – embed partial coupon codes, use emojis, etc. Generally, outside-the-box thinking correlates with higher levels of engagement.
Nobody wants to spend time reading stuff they find irrelevant or, worst of all, boring. As with most other digital marketing campaigns, content is key to communicating in a way that drives reliable engagement.
Best practice in content – a snappy headline, economical body copy, and a CTA – can be seen in most good emails.
The body content should lead off fluidly from the subject line. In a way, they work in tandem, so try to avoid a disconnection between subject line and body copy. If an email veers wildly or isn’t cohesive, your email is more than likely to result in spam complaints and unsubscribes.
Much like a blog post, you want your CTA to funnel people to a specific place. Again, a good CTA should embed itself in the tone and style of the copy; you don’t want it looking completely out of place, but at the same time, it needs to catch the eye.
Make it visually stimulating so it sticks out with a phrase that hooks them in. For example, if your email is dealing with a specific problem or frustration point in your market, then have a CTA that focuses on the solution with phrases like “We’ll help” or “End this frustration for good”.
Overall, the email needs to mimic the qualities of effective content. Leaving enough room to be creative with subject lines and imagery is important too.
Cluttered, clashy, and messy emails aren’t fun to read. In fact, reading them feels like work – nobody wants to work to read an email, so ensure each one you send follows basic design principles and remains easy to digest.
Strong imagery, short paragraphs, and on-brand graphics are effective ways to ensure readers remain engaged until sign-off.
Test your emails on mobile devices too. The majority of e-mails are read on mobile, so having an awkward-looking design on mobile but an impeccable one on desktop simply doesn’t cut it.
Segmentation and Personalisation
Personalisation pays back. Subject lines with personalisation see a 760% increase in e-mail revenue, meaning segmentation target lists can help to increase levels of engagement significantly.
Segmentation refers to the process of personalising e-mail lists for specific groups of people or target personas. Lists can be segmented based on occupation, location, gender, marital status, hobbies, etc.
Once segmented lists have been built up, you can then even run personalised campaigns for each type of user to maximise engagement. How do you personalise emails, though?
Keeping things personal is more difficult than it sounds. The majority of marketers see it as a major goal, but also a major challenge. Segmentation does the hard work, but you need to back this up with automation and content that feels personal to a large number of people.
Adding names to subject lines is all well and good, but the content needs to feel tailored to them. Personalisation is where data and good content meet. Trust the segmentation data, but also remember to give it the best chance of success by creating email campaigns that speak directly to every single person you’re targeting.
Those reading your emails in each segmentation list all have something in common – find it.
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