Email engagement is a huge key to email marketing success. Low email engagement will lead to fewer and fewer of your future campaigns landing in the inbox. High engagement leads to more and more campaigns avoiding spam filters and hitting the inbox instead.
So let’s check your engagement levels and I’ll hand off tips to boost email engagement in the form of opens, clicks, conversions, and replies. The main focus is to get your emails opened, otherwise, the other engagements never get a chance to happen.
What to Look for in Email Engagement Patterns
One of the toughest tasks for email marketers is making sense of email metrics. Lots of numbers and ESP dashboard features to learn and utilize, right?
But there are some basic patterns you can spot fairly easily.
- Are your open rates falling, rising, or plateaued?
- How’s your click-to-open rate?
- Can you spot suspect opens or clicks (giant spikes could be bots)
You don’t have to be a data scientist to make use of metrics like those. As long as you track those and other major metrics consistently, you’ll be able to take actions to improve engagement.
Digging deeper into your email metrics will help you boost email engagement even more. Examples:
- Seasonal opens
- Click rate on editorial sends vs. promotional sends
- Subject line A/B testing
Email engagement is within your power to increase by using statistics easily available in your email service provider’s dashboard.
#1 Tip to Avoid Low Email Engagement
Simple but true. Don’t email people who did not sign up to receive your emails.
People are busier than ever and often have no time for emails they DID sign up for, much less emails they didn’t want in the first place!
Emailing those who didn’t want on your list will drag engagement way down.
Few opens, fewer clicks, and nearly zero conversions are only going to drag your deliverability through the mud. ISPs see your engagement levels as clearly as you can. So this hurts your sender score.
Email people who want your messages. Use double opt-in forms so you are certain they want your emails.
Now, let’s talk open rates.
More Opens— the Key to Email Engagement
Inbox Mailers has perfected timing with triggered emails using our giant Network Effect. If you need to kickstart your open rates, please schedule a Demo of Inbox Mailers. This tool is the fastest way to boost your open rates. The simplest too.
Now, are there certain types of emails that get more opens than others? Indeed! Campaign Monitor did a large survey on the topic.
First, know this. Triggered emails get high open rates because they connect to your subscribers through the subscribers’ own actions. Example: They start a checkout but don’t finish and this triggers an abandoned cart email.
Also, transactional emails get high open rates typically, because shoppers like shipment updates (for example). Another example: Think about how often you open emails with your utility bill inside.
Campaign Monitor’s Findings on High Email Engagement
Full survey here.
CM found the top email type that gets opened is personal correspondence.
Your brand can’t replace an email from ‘mom or aunt Katie’. But this finding makes a case for emails with a personal vibe and or personality.
Number 2 on the survey – A promotional offer, sale, or discount from a familiar brand. Make it clear in the subject line that your email contains such offers when that’s the case.
Number 3 – New product alerts from brands the subscriber loves.
Number 4 – Weekly newsletter the subscriber anticipates each week. Be consistent with your sends!
Guess what the survey revealed about all those emails that never get opened?
Top reasons for not bothering to open an email, much less engage with it:
- Reader doesn’t recognize sender
- Email appears irrelevant
- Too many emails in the reader’s inbox
*These reasons closely matched top reasons respondents gave for unsubscribing too.
Email engagement is a process with steps that can’t be skipped. You can send amazing newsletters and dynamic deals that never get opened unless you set your email strategy up for success first.
- Pick your ‘From Name’ carefully – ensure it’s easily recognized.
- Warm up your IP slowly to avoid internet service providers blocking sends due to high numbers of emails right away (Inbox Mailers does warm-ups in about half the time BTW).
- Welcome emails set the stage for all your future emails (write welcome emails with intention + care).
- Before your first send, use tools to ensure your email list contains good email addresses (avoid temp emails, old addresses, & spam traps).
What about lasting engagement?
Email Engagement after Subscribers Lose Interest
So you’ve set your email marketing up for success but what happens when email engagement slumps?
It may have nothing to do with the quality of your campaigns since we know email lists naturally decay by about 23% yearly.
Building, revamping, and rebuilding your list is a constant must. And some readers will stop engaging with emails no matter what. Those email addresses eventually have to be deleted. Sad, I know!
But unengaged readers hurt your email deliverability. ((You should try reEngaged— up to 30% re-engagement has been shown— before cutting subscribers loose though))
Campaign Monitor found email engagement varied by specific industries.
Percentage of respondents who made a purchase after receiving a re-engagement email:
- 56.5%- big-box retail stores
- 50.5%- independent retail stores
- 45.7%- restaurant
- 42.8%- entertainment
Other industries (like fitness) were far less successful with re-engagement emails.
Case Studies on Email Engagement
After taking part in and reviewing case studies on email engagement over the years, every success story involves deliverability.
Brands that monitor deliverability and use best practices, which evolve, get the best engagement in their campaigns.
Email marketing can only show max ROI when deliverability is the focus. Lots of moving parts with deliverability, as we’ve already discussed above.
Key point, many brands have destroyed their hard work with mistakes that get their emails marked as spam.
- Letting spam trap addresses sneak onto their list
- Buying another company and combining both companies’ email lists (those other users never signed up for the new company’s list!)
- Adding too many addresses at once (Example: 2,000 additional sign-ups from a big event)
Email engagement is endangered by low deliverability. To ensure your brand keeps getting high open rates, click-through rates, and sales, deliverability must always be a top focus.
Stick with me…
Email Engagement via List Segmentation
Segmentation discussion isn’t going to shock veteran email marketers. But the importance of segmenting your subscribers can’t be overstated.
When messages are crafted for the perfect group on your list, what happens? Engagement goes up.
FYI→ various ESPs offer unique ways to segment so check those features out on each ESP to give you segmentation ideas to test.
Emailing a 35%-off coupon for a coat to someone in San Diego probably won’t produce a sale! But a coupon for sunglasses or shorts has a great shot.
Same with new product alert emails to readers who haven’t opened an email from you in 90 days. A product update alert on a product or lead magnet they initially showed interest in could work better.
Want a quick boost in email engagement?
Use a campaign just for your most engaged subscribers. Those top 10% – 20% of openers and clickers will send positive signals to ISPs when subscribers receive this special campaign. You could see 50%+ open rates since your unengaged readers are NOT receiving this campaign.
*Read more on Engagement Segmentation here (powered by the 80/20 rule).
Other tactics to ramp up engagement:
- A/B test subject lines
- Put more time into subject lines
- Use preview text
- Ask readers to reply to campaigns (give them good reason to reply!)
- Do surveys for engagement (mix in fun ones here-n-there)
- Have a goal with each email (i.e. Want multiple clicks or one click in particular?)
- Test emojis in subject line for higher open rates (seasonal emojis even🦃🎄🎃)
- Birthday emails – who can resist opening?
- Prime readers for engagement (Temptation is one priming concept)
Email Engagement Summed Up
Engagement will keep getting harder as inboxes get fuller.
Good list hygiene keeps you ahead of the inbox competition, as does well-thought-out list segmentation.
And you’ll never regret spending extra extra extra time on subject lines. A/B testing is time-consuming as well, but will also boost engagement consistently.
Email marketing is competitive. Lots of moving parts too. Look for tools that simplify engagement. I believe Inbox Mailers to be the simplest, most effective tool to increase email engagement because this technology leads to higher open rates immediately. Higher open rates unlock all other engagement factors!