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One Simple Way to Start Boosting Your Email Engagement Right Now

email engagement

Email marketing, while sometimes considered outdated, has actually been exploding in popularity over the past few years. It remains one of the most effective ways for brands to communicate with customers and promote their content, while also driving traffic, leads and sales.

But while email can be very effective, any business that's tried an email campaign knows that engagement is often very low. According to Mailchimp, open rates for marketing emails are rarely above 25 percent, and click rates are usually less than 3 percent in any industry. Luckily, a new survey suggests that engagement can be increased with a simple adjustment in strategy.

Simplify Your Emails, Get More Engagement

The new report from marketing research firm Ascend2 includes a survey of 273 digital marketers from businesses of all types, ranging in size from fewer than 50 employees to more than 500. The respondents chose "improving email engagement" as the top priority when email marketing, edging out lead quality and even sales revenue:

email marketing priorities

So what's the best way to get this desired engagement? According to the surveyed marketers, single-topic email campaigns are the most effective tactic for getting recipients to engage. The tactic beats other strategies by a fairly wide margin:

email marketing tactics

This means that simpler, more streamlined emails that focus on one topic or one customer action are more likely to generate some sort of engagement. This makes sense, as the average person receives well over 100 business emails per day, making succinctness extremely important. If your emails contain too much information or are trying to get the reader to take several different actions, it's likely your recipients will decide they're too busy for your email and trash it after just a quick scan.

Single-Topic vs. Newsletter

One of the most common forms of email marketing involves sending company newsletters, which often contain multiple topics. Typical email newsletters include "round-ups" of recently published content, promotional offers, company news and upcoming events. This approach seems to make sense - after all, your newsletter subscribers have willingly signed up to receive these types of emails from you, and newsletters have traditionally been in this format since well before the internet even existed.

However, if you're just not seeing the engagement you'd like from your newsletters, try splitting up your information into separate emails or simply narrowing the focus of what you send out. For example, instead of sending out a newsletter that has a live event registration link buried below recent blog posts and other company announcements, send out a much shorter email that focuses only on the live event signup, making it very clear what the purpose of your message is.

You could also focus an entire campaign around one goal, sending out a series of emails to your subscribers that center on them taking one specific action. While this may seem like you're breaking the number one rule of email marketing - providing value - you may actually be increasing your engagement rates while providing value by minimizing the time you're asking your subscribers to spend with your emails.

To put it bluntly, you want to "get to the point" as quickly as possible. Try using just a bit of persuasive content, followed by a clear, simple call-to-action. Streamline your campaign by making sure every element of every email is concise, on-topic and serves to accomplish your goal. This means optimizing your:

  • Subject line
  • Preheader
  • Body content
  • Logo and overall design
  • Call-to-action
  • Links to website
  • Social share buttons
  • Contact information

In some cases, you may want to consider going as far as eliminating website links, social buttons and certain design elements that could potentially be considered superfluous in order to streamline your message as much as possible.

List Segmentation

Of course, taking this approach will mean sending out more emails at a higher frequency, running the risk of annoying your subscribers with too many emails or sending them information about things that aren't relevant to them. This is where list segmentation comes in. Break up your email subscribers according to their interests, and send your single-topic emails to recipients for which they're most relevant. All decent email marketing services provide tools for creating email signup forms that allow users to choose the types and topics of emails they'd be interested in receiving during signup. They also allow you to segment lists based on internal data, including:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Seniority level at organization
  • Education level
  • Purchase history
  • Previous email clickthrough history

You certainly don't have to eliminate your "catch-all" newsletters from your email strategy entirely, but by simplifying your messages down to a single topic and sending them to the most interested people, you may quickly start seeing an increase in your email engagement.

Integrate Single-Subject Emails Into Your Campaign

Of course, streamlining the content of your emails should be combined with many other strategies to optimize customer engagement in your email campaigns. Check out this great list of dos and don'ts from email marketing tool Campaign Monitor:

email customer journey infographic(Source: CampaignMonitor.com)

T.J. Anderson

Posted on 9th March, 2018 by T.J. Anderson

About T.J. Anderson

T.J. is a Chicago-based content editor and writer, as well as an SEO and marketing specialist.

View all posts by T.J. Anderson

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