Email marketing is an effective sales and customer engagement strategy but doing it correctly takes work. You need high-quality, relevant content with excellent email deliverability rates and compelling calls to action to achieve the best digital marketing return on investment (ROI).
Subscriber engagement is crucial to successful email marketing campaigns. Engaged subscribers receive, read and act on your messages, helping boost sales and grow your business. We’ll explore eight best practices for engaging your email subscribers and highlight excellent email marketing services that can make your campaigns effortless.
How to engage your email subscribers
According to Litmus data, email marketing has the highest ROI of all digital marketing strategies, returning $36 for every $1 spent. It increases brand awareness by keeping your business in front of your target audience. It also promotes your content and generates sales leads.
Consider the following eight tips for engaging your email subscribers and reaping the benefits of email marketing.
1. Use a healthy, valid email list.
High subscriber engagement starts with building an email marketing list of quality recipients in your target audience. Here are some crucial considerations when managing a quality email list:
- Don’t buy email subscriber lists: Buying lists is not an option. It’s a waste of time, money and effort and legally skirts a fine line. Data privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 require proactive opt-ins for email lists. Furthermore, since “bought” recipients didn’t consent to receive your emails in the first place, they are likely to mark you as spam, preventing future emails from getting through and tanking your reputation.
- Maintain your email list: Even high-quality, organically grown lists need maintenance. Remove undeliverable addresses, which may be fake email addresses or once-good addresses that are no longer viable. “Abuse email addresses,” which belong to people who habitually mark emails as spam, are another danger you should remove. Low-quality email addresses will affect your sender reputation ― the scoring system email service providers use to determine spammers vs. legitimate senders. A bad sender reputation will dramatically impact your deliverability.
- Clean your list: Consider cleaning your email list using a reputable email validation service. Typically, you’ll upload your email list to the platform. Within hours or even minutes, depending on how many contacts you have, you’ll identify problematic addresses. Remove them without hesitation.
- Use email address verification: To keep your list clean longer, set up a real-time email verification application programming interface. Once it’s active on your signup forms, this software checks the validity of every new email address before it goes on your list.
Email etiquette is crucial to avoid alienating customers. Ensure you’re striking the right tone, being clear and professional and responding to inquiries promptly.
2. Remove inactive subscribers.
Removing subscribers may seem counterintuitive. You want your email list to grow, not shrink. However, unengaged and inactive subscribers don’t help your cause. They skew your metrics and hurt your email open rate. Emailing inactive subscribers is a waste of time and resources.
Furthermore, inactive subscribers can easily turn into what’s known as “recycled spam traps.” Recycled spam traps are abandoned email addresses ― think your old AOL address from decades ago ― that internet service providers recycle and use to lure and block spammers. If your marketing email inadvertently goes to a spam trap, you could be mistaken for a spammer.
Before removing inactive subscribers from your list, create an email re-engagement strategy to prompt them to get back on board.
3. Use double opt-in and make opting out easy.
Another way to boost email engagement is to ensure the people on your list want to be there. The double opt-in email marketing subscription method is an excellent way to ensure your subscribers are genuinely interested in receiving your content. With double opt-in email marketing, every subscriber clicks a confirmation link to allow you to email them.
Being transparent about the opt-out process is also crucial. According to the Federal Trade Commission CAN-SPAM Act, every marketing email or newsletter should have a visible, effective way to unsubscribe. If you make it hard to opt out, someone could mark you as spam out of frustration or because there is no other option.
4. Get to know your audience.
Connecting with your target audience is one of the biggest email marketing challenges. Knowing your audience is critical to effective email marketing. You don’t want to send annoying emails to your recipients ― you want to send content that resonates with them.
There are two elements involved in getting to know your audience:
- Gather as much information about your audience as possible: To make your email marketing more effective, gather as much information as possible about the people who sign up for your list. Build customer personas using surveys with questions that reveal more about them and their preferences. Ask relevant questions about their needs, demographics and ideas to create better-targeted campaigns.
- Send personalized emails to your list: Next, start sending personalized emails. Use subscribers’ names in the subject line and email body and add additional personalization criteria like location, past shopping behavior and other relevant information. Email personalization increases subscriber engagement because people are more likely to respond when they feel like an individual and not just a number.
5. Connect with your subscribers by writing conversationally.
Your audience doesn’t want to be talked down to or sift through industry jargon or legal disclaimers. Your email newsletters and promotional emails should have a professional, conversational, friendly tone that engages your readers.
Your social media manager or marketing team should be able to generate engaging copy for your email marketing campaigns. If you’re on your own and are new to copywriting, take a class, read articles about copywriting and subscribe to newsletters for writers.
6. Make your subject line and preview text count.
If anything matters when it comes to increasing engagement, it’s the first thing people see: your subject line and the short piece of copy that follows (the preview text). Here are some subject line and preview text tips:
- Don’t be spammy in your subject line: Choosing subject lines that people perceive as spammy can harm engagement and even get you marked as spam. Double-check subject lines to ensure they don’t contain spam trigger words, such as “clearance,” “cheap,” and “fast cash,” which will land you in the spam folder. Free online spam trigger-word checkers can be helpful.
- Ensure your subject line is compelling: Does your subject line compel people to open your email? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and give an honest answer. If you’re unsure, your subject line likely needs more work. While summing up the content of your email, subject lines should also pique curiosity and entice.
- Ensure your preview text is compelling: Your preview text should also be enticing. Those few words people see right after your subject can make all the difference in your open rates. Does your preview text further explain your email’s content? Does it make it even more irresistible?
Consider hiring a digital marketing expert or email marketing manager to handle all aspects of your email marketing campaigns.
7. Be consistent in your email marketing.
Some email marketers make the mistake of only sending newsletters or messages when they have something to sell or another motive. Your email marketing efforts should be a give-and-take. Some messages may include offers, but some should share helpful information.
Being consistently present in your recipients’ inboxes is the most crucial factor. Your emails should arrive like clockwork. In doing so, you communicate that your brand is steady and reliable. You’re not a flash in the pan ― you have staying power.
Sticking to a schedule also increases your deliverability. By consistently sending your newsletters and messages, you become like a trusted advisor or friend to your readers, controlling spam complaints.
For most businesses, weekly emails are ideal. In certain instances, once a month is OK. Anything less than this risks hurting engagement and getting spam complaints.
8. Find joy in your email marketing.
Joy is contagious. People can tell when there’s passion behind something and it draws them in. If you enjoy creating newsletters and messages, your readers will pick up on it. Enjoy what you write and it will translate into soaring engagement.
The best email marketing services
The best email marketing services help businesses engage subscribers with consistent, attractive emails. They help manage your list and provide email analytics, so you can give subscribers more content that resonates with them.
Consider the following email marketing services to help you get started or improve your email marketing campaigns.
- Mailchimp: Mailchimp is an excellent email platform that’s particularly helpful if you’re just starting out. It’s free for up to 10,000 sends and 2,000 contacts and is easy to use. It includes customizable email templates, the ability to segment your list with tags and list management tools. If you upgrade to a paid plan, you can access various sophisticated email features like A/B testing, multiuser accounts and analytics.
- Constant Contact: Constant Contact is a robust, affordable email marketing service with monthly plans starting at $9.99. It has an extensive library of email templates broken down by function and industry, along with many stock images and email designs. It allows you to design, schedule, send and analyze email campaigns easily. One nice feature is that it goes to your website automatically and grabs your logo, color scheme and social media profiles, saving you time during setup. Read our in-depth Constant Contact review to learn more.
- Freshworks Freshmarketer: Freshmarketer features artificial intelligence-powered insights to help you optimize your email communications. It also integrates with other marketing tools like Shopify, short message service and Trello, allowing you to centralize customer communication in one system. Its personalization features help you send relevant emails based on customer purchase history and demographics, which can supercharge engagement. Our Freshmarketer review lists additional features and functions.
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud: Salesforce is an all-in-one marketing platform and customer relationship management (CRM) system with an email marketing component. Because it’s all one system, no third-party integrations are necessary and it can seamlessly use customer data and customer service history to personalize emails. It can even automatically personalize your emails to boost engagement. With monthly plans starting at $400, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is more suitable for established businesses. Learn more by reading our complete Salesforce Marketing Cloud review.
Jennifer Dublino contributed to this article.