5 Steps to Drive Higher Email Engagement

May 15, 2018 Jason Trout

When email is done right, it can be a one of the most powerful marketing channels for a business or organization. Whether your goal is to attract more leads, sell more widgets, or retain more customers, these five tips can help drive engagement for your email marketing efforts.

1.) Grab attention in the inbox

Relevant content in your emails is crucial to driving engagement and conversions. But what if your subscribers never open your email? Email inboxes are full of messages competing for attention, so your email must stand out to entice subscribers to open it, to discover the great content you’ve worked so hard on. 

When crafting your subject line, ask yourself, “why is the email worth opening?” Make sure that reason is communicated in the subject line. 

Is there a time-sensitive offer inside? Creating a sense of urgency or even curiosity can boost open rates. 

And let’s not overlook the importance of the preheader. The preheader text is the text your subscribers see after or below your subject line in their inbox. The length varies from around 40 to 90 characters, depending on the email client, the device, and even the subject line length. Because of this variance, include the most important parts of your preheader at the beginning, so that if a portion of the preheader gets cut off, your subscribers still see the content that matters. The preheader text should support your well-crafted subject line. It’s another opportunity to create a sense of urgency and provide clarity about what the reader will gain by opening your email.

2.) Personalize your message

Ever open an email to see a greeting such as “Dear valued customer”? If you were that valued, wouldn’t they at least know your name? 

Simply using a subscriber’s name increases email open rate. More importantly, it strengthens the chance that the reader will consume the full email, and increase the likelihood that they’ll take actions that you want them to take — such as visiting your website, filling out a form, or buying a product. 

What else do you know about your subscribers? What are their interests? What products do they buy? Using dynamic content within emails catering to your subscribers’ specific interests boosts engagement and conversions. 

3.) Know your audience

Gone are days of the one-size-fits-all email blast. A key component to modern email marketing is segmentation. Subscribers expect to receive emails that are relevant to them. If a message doesn’t resonate with them — or simply doesn’t apply to them — they’ll quickly disengage or unsubscribe. Instead, use the data you have on your subscribers to ensure that they only receive emails that are relevant to them. 

One easy way to start sending more relevant messages is to allow your subscribers to tell them what they’re interested in through a preference center. Provide email categories for subscribers to opt in and out of email topics and types, so that they know what to expect in their inbox. And when they receive your email, they’re more likely to open and read it.

4.) Think mobile first

According to a Return Path study, 55% of email is opened on a mobile device. And this percentage will continue to rise. With most of your subscribers opening your email on mobile devices, mobile optimization cannot be ignored. If an email is hard to read or doesn’t render properly on mobile phones, email engagement metrics will suffer. 

Design email templates and emails with mobile in mind, and properly test your emails before the big send — this ensures your subscribers will have a great experience regardless of what device they use to read emails.

5.) Remove the Guesswork

Robust email marketing platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud provide plenty of actionable analytics to improve email engagement. Don’t know which subject, preheader text, or content will perform best? No need to guess. Testing and optimizing your emails is easy with the Email Studio’s A/B testing tool. This will allow you to test content with a small portion of your audience to see what’s resonating, and send the high performing content to the remainder of your segment. 

These are just five of the countless ways email marketers can drive engagement with email marketing. With the wealth of subscriber data you hold,  combined with automated testing tools, and the five small steps outlined here can make a meaningful impact on your email marketing efforts. Visit the Appirio hub for more email marketing resources (and much more).

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