Every small business owner knows the dreaded feeling of laboring over an email campaign, going through multiple rounds of edits, and firing it off to your list of subscribers — only to hear crickets.
The above scenario is a tough yet necessary reminder of the hard truth of email marketing: Just because you send it doesn’t mean your audience will care. Maintaining (and hopefully increasing) email engagement is a battle every business owner must face. But if you combine human psychology, the right email automation platform, and A/B testing, you can draft campaigns your audience wants to read.
In fact, according to the 2021 HubSpot State of Marketing Report, the vast majority of marketers (77%) have seen an increase in email engagement in the past year. Below, we dive into several must-read tips on how to boost email engagement.
6 Ways to Boost Email Engagement With Your Audience
Have you seen a decline in email engagement metrics in recent months? Below, we share six ways to increase engagement and ultimately drive sales for your company.
1. Ask Your Audience About Their Interests
The best way to boost engagement is to write about things your audience wants to read about. The easiest way to ensure you do just that? Ask them.
Send out a survey to your audience or create a poll on Instagram asking which subjects correlate with your target audience’s interests. Or, consider doing a fun “This or That” social media poll where you offer a variety of subjects paired against each other. Lastly, allow subscribers to opt in to certain subject areas, then segment your list based on their interests. That way, you only send readers email campaigns they’re most likely to read.
Collect as much data as possible on your audience, then develop a content strategy around that data. Long story long, remember this: When in doubt, don’t guess. Your content is meant to better serve your audience — so involve them in the decision-making process.
2. A/B Test Your Email Subject Lines
Disclaimer: Metrics like click-through rate, click rate, and conversion rate are better measurements of engagement than your email open rate. Why? Because your open rate is highly dependent on the quality of your subject line — not the actual body text of your campaign.
With that being said, think of your subject line as the “gatekeeper” of your campaign. If you don’t write a high-quality subject line, your readers never get the opportunity to connect with the rest of your content. Therefore, you should test various subject lines to see which resonate most with your audience.
Remember: Different readers will connect with different aspects of your campaign. Therefore, you might want to segment your audience based on unique interests, then write different subject lines to those segments — even if the rest of the campaign remains uniform.
3. Don’t Get Frustrated by Unsubscribes
All too often, markers get hung up on unsubscribe rates, thinking it’s a sign of poor engagement. And while a severe spike in unsubscribes should make you rethink your digital marketing strategy, a few people leaving your list isn’t cause for panic.
People will exit your email list over time — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If someone is never going to buy from you, recommend you, or engage with your email content, what’s the point of having them on your list?
When an unengaged subscriber leaves your list, it gives you the opportunity to tune in to your most engaged readers. Allow these potential buyers to influence your marketing strategy rather than trying to better serve those who will never support your business.
4. Pay Better Attention to Why Readers Joined in the First Place
Most businesses offer a compelling opt-in to entice readers to join their list. And while many marketers will state that implementing a double opt-in will decrease spam complaints and unsubscribes, we’d like to take things one step further. Rather than using an opt-in as a way to improve your sender reputation, look back and ask yourself, “Why did readers join our list in the first place?”
Many marketers make a highly coveted piece of content to draw in new subscribers, then fail to offer the same high-quality content later on. If giving away a freebie successfully added new readers to your list, see if you can offer a similar freebie to keep your audience engaged. If you create a new downloadable recipe book, workout routine, or research report for new subscribers, don’t forget to send the same materials to current subscribers as well.
5. Create a Solid Welcome Series
Treat a new subscriber joining your list the same as you would a new customer entering your store. Would you allow the individual to wander around by themselves, refusing to answer questions or introduce yourself? Of course not! First impressions matter, which is why a welcome series is so important.
A welcome email — as the name entails — welcomes someone to your list. It’s an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business, explain the types of email communication they should expect in the future, and answer any frequently asked questions. As a best practice, you should always send your best-of-the-best content to new readers. Send a list of your most-read blog posts, viral social captions, or an e-book that subscribers found particularly helpful. Remember: This content might not be new to you, but it is new to someone who just joined your list.
All of the above is a lot to pack into a single email, so break out your content into a multi-series campaign. Send three emails spaced several days apart, with a clear call-to-action (CTA) at the end of each blast. That way, you don’t bombard new email subscribers with too much information.
6. Keep a Close Eye on Email Engagement Rates
When it comes to marketing automation, every decision you make should be backed by data — not your own gut instinct.
As you tweak your email marketing campaigns to boost engagement, be sure to follow up and look at changes in performance. Most marketing platforms come with built-in metrics, allowing you to track changes in opens, clicks, conversions, bounces, and unsubscribes after each campaign.
While it can be tempting to conduct a complete overhaul to your email marketing strategy, remember that too many changes all at once can be difficult to track. Therefore, try to implement one to two changes per campaign, so you can notice what worked and what didn’t.
Increase Email Engagement With Gumbamail
What’s the point of sending emails that don’t get read? Keeping a close eye on email engagement helps refine your marketing strategy and land more sales for your company. By A/B testing subject lines, segmenting your list, conducting audience surveys, and tracking email metrics, you can create a deeper connection with your readers.
To boost email engagement, you’ll need the right tools. Gumbamail is an affordable, easy-to-use email marketing platform that works in conjunction with your existing Gmail account. Gumbamail comes complete with 800+ pre-designed email templates, a drag-and-drop email builder, and advanced analytics to track engagement in real time. Plus, Gumbamail comes with a forever-free plan, with paid plans starting at just $9 per month.
Ready to see how Gumbamail can help boost engagement? Download the free plugin today.