So, you’ve got subscribers on your list, but the results aren’t what you’d like. Your engagement rates are declining and recipients are unsubscribing. What do you do? How can you engage your audience from the start, right through to the point at which they decide to leave your programme? Take a look at our 7 tips to increase your email marketing engagement and plug some of the gaps in your strategy.


  1. Start the relationship off right and set expectations

Your sign up form is the first impression users have of your email programme and the promise that it holds. You know how great your content, brand and products/services are, but these subscribers haven’t yet been introduced to the wonders they hold! You need to give subscribers a reason to hand over their email address and show the value in what you have to offer. By being open, honest and transparent from the point of sign up about what you will send them, when and what the benefits are, you can start to build the trust and the relationship from the start.


  1. Send a welcome email

Your welcome message is the first communication subscribers receive from you, so it’s important to continue the work you started on your sign up form and continue to build the relationship and trust in your brand. You can use this initial message as an opportunity to reinforce the benefits of your programme and start to show the value of your communications.


  1. Follow up and build an on-boarding programme

The first 30 days of a subscribers membership to your email programme is an important time. By creating a series of emails to be triggered to recipients within this time, following on from the welcome email, you can use this as a chance to build their knowledge of the benefits of your brand, products/services and the email programme.


Instead of sending one email containing everything you want the subscribers to know, consider breaking these down into a series of perhaps 3 emails each exploring different elements of your website (how they can get the most out of your website or any resources you offer for example), the email programme and your products/service. Provide value in these communications before jumping into trying to make a sale to build engagement, trust and respect first. For retailers, this can also work well, although a follow up focussed around a discount or other offer to gain a conversion may be given sooner and prompted, particularly if this was the ‘hook’ used to add the subscriber to your database.


  1. Give subscribers what they want, not what you think they want

Unless you ask your audience what they would like to hear about from you, how do you know your communications will be hitting the mark? We highly recommend sending out a survey to your list to find out more about them, or offering a Preference Centre to allow them to amend their details and interests. This information can be used to inform the campaigns you send as well as the content to put in them to gain the most engagement for your campaigns by providing relevance and value to your subscribers.


  1. Use technology to make your life easier

ESPs are there to not only send your campaigns, but also to make your life easier by providing technology to allow you to break your audience down into smaller segments, change content automatically depending on who is receiving it and a wealth of other features.


Explore the range of ESPs out there and find out what they provide and how you can use this technology to not only make your life easier, but also to increase your revenue. For example, you can use technology to create automatically broadcast campaigns triggered by the information in your database, such as a recipients birthday or (with additional tracking) when someone abandons their basket on a retail site.


  1. Test, Test and Test again

Even for similar businesses, different copy, designs, content and more can work better for some than for others. It is therefore important to make sure you are continuously testing different elements of your campaigns (one at a time so you can see the results of each test individually) to ensure that you are making the most of each and every send opportunity.


The best place to start is with A/B testing – taking two versions of your creative with one element different (such as the subject line, call to action copy, or a piece of copy used) and sending this to a smaller subsection of your database. After analysing the results of this test you can then decide on a ‘winning’ version (whether that be in terms of the highest number of opens, clicks or conversions for example), which can then be rolled out to the remainder of your database. Alternatively, you could run a straight 50/50 split on your whole database and use the learning’s for future campaigns.


  1. Create a re-activation campaign

Inevitably there will be some subscribers who lose interest in your communications and disengage from your programme over time. This may be classified as inactivity with your email programme or website within a certain amount of time such as 3 or 6 months (this will differ depending on your business and customer/email lifecycle).


When you have classified this timing for your business, you can devise a series of emails designed to reactivate the subscriber and encourage them back to engagement with your programme and brand. This could be through value added means, information or even a special offer discount.


If these subscribers do not reactivate after receiving this series of emails, consider removing them from your database; inactive users can cause multiple problems for your email marketing programme if not re-engaged.




Post written by Kate Barrett of Shine a Light Media.

Kate has over 10 years experience working directly on client email marketing programs, she have a proven track record of increasing results; from opens and clicks to conversions. Speaking, blogging, research and DMA membership mean that she is always up to date with the latest email marketing news to feed her passion!

Kate is helping the Goal Setting Collective work on the goal of building their list – why not join the collective so you can benefit from what she has to say?

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