Email Engagement is the greatest challenge email marketers and bloggers face. Sometimes, that can seem overwhelming.
This is because you have put in a lot to get subscribers. It’s possible to transform the art of building a list into a discipline. You’ll get great responses and soon you have a respectable mailing list.
This means that you have won an important part in the battle.
Now comes the next step: email engagement.
There is no magic bullet that will instantly increase email engagement. You can improve your chances of getting more emails opened by using best practices and being open to learning new things.
Remember, email is the best way for you to tell your subscribers who you are. Email engagement is one goal that you should pursue and one that you must master. Here are 5 ways to increase email engagement.
1. Come up with an irresistible subject line
You already know this. And this topic has been almost beaten to death across blogs, e-books, webinars….everywhere.
Yet, it is one of the most important things that you can do. Make sure you have a great subject line for your email. This is because your subscribers will use the subject line to decide whether they want to continue reading or delete.
While there are many things you can do, the American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) via Copyblogger offers the best advice. The formula for writing great subject lines for email is known as the Four U’s. It is outlined below:
- Be USEFUL
- Provide URGENCY
- Be UNIQUE
- Do the above in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way.
Naturally these are not the only things to look at. A headline that clearly explains the benefits of opening an email could make it more effective. You can add humor to the message if you have the right context.
Ann Handley uses a smart twist – and you can’t resist opening the email!
The point is this: Would you click on your subject line? You’re on your way …
2. Use email tools, including spam checking software
It is vital to create a compelling subject line. What next? What can you do to ensure that the copy, layout, and design of your email are optimized? It will improve your email engagement.
Rather than leaving such things up to chance, experienced marketers and bloggers who reach out to their subscribers prefer to use tools that allow them to run a variety tests and offer suggestions for improvement.
How do such tools work? The email is entered into the system. Then, you can view your email across multiple email clients (Gmail Chrome and Outlook, iPhone, Apple Mail, etc.).
You can view the email to make any necessary adjustments so that your final email is perfect before it goes out to subscribers.
These tools can also be used to analyze emails for SPAM and blacklists. These tools can show you how your email would look if you didn’t insert the image.
Email automation tools keep getting smarter and better. Smart marketers will use them to stay ahead of the rest.
3. Plain text? Images? Links?
Is your email plain text? Do you need one image? Do you need multiple images? What about links? What number of links is too many to ensure optimal email engagement?
Marketing professionals don’t agree on this one. Neil Patel uses plain text mails with no images. (top left). GoDaddy only uses one large image (top left below).
TechInAsia uses different approaches at different times. It uses plain text, but inserts links to announce events (bottom left). Predictably, its newsletters include a variety of images as well as story titles, both linked to the full story (bottom right).
Images and links might work – depending upon…
All these methods work well.
This means that there is no single rule you can blindly follow. Your email layout should be based on how engaged your recipients, the news and contents that you share with them, and your reputation as a sender.
So, what should you do?
As I said in the beginning, experimentation is key. Split testing, also known as A/B Testing, is the way to go. One version of an email design can be run with only a portion of your subscribers. You can measure the response (complaints and unsubscribes, open rate, etc.) Next, run another version using another segment of your subscriber base and measure. Then compare the results.
A/B Testing may not always give you clear answers, but it is a lot better than shooting blindly. This is about getting to know your target audience better. You’ll feel a lot more confident after a few iterations.
4. Have a clear CTA (and keep the landing pages spruced up)
Marketing emails should have a clear purpose. How can you make sure your recipients know the actions you want?
One of the biggest mistakes in email marketing is failing to include a clear CTA (Call To Action)
You must clearly state what actions your readers should take. Are you asking them to save the PDF? You can also sign up to a webinar. Or perhaps try your service free? Perhaps you would like them to complete an online survey. Make sure you are clear. A prominent place to display the CTA button is recommended.
The landing page follows. The landing page is where visitors land after clicking on a link. It’s the first impression they get. Visitors will leave a cluttered, text-heavy and outdated landing page. A well-designed, thoughtfully designed landing page will help your visitors reach the next level in your sales funnel.
It is impossible to show you how to create amazing landing pages in this post. You can learn a lot from these free guides, but you should also do your research by looking at landing pages on successful websites. Keep improving and learning from the best.
Remember that a clear CTA and a great landing page are not just a marketing requirement. You owe your subscribers this.
5. Never ignore SPF, DKIM and DMARC
You might not have been paying much attention to these three, and a few of you may not even know what it means. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are email authentication software that were created primarily to combat spam. We wanted to highlight them, even though they have more to do than just deliverability.
SPF is a list that allows you to send emails from a specified domain. DKIM (DomainKeys-Identified Mail) verifies that your email contents have not been altered or tempered since they left the sending server (the one allowed by SPF entry).
Finally DMARC (Domain Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance is an authentication protocol. DMARC is activated by an unauthorized sender who sends a message pretending to be genuine (phishing).
The technical details of setting these authentications up are beyond the scope this article. However, any committed marketer knows how important it is to send authenticated emails. Emails that aren’t authenticated run the risk of getting rejected.
These are not the only things that you should work on to improve email engagement. Please share your views below in the comments.