It’s a well-established notion that email newsletter marketing provides the best highest ROI than anything else in the digital marketing landscape. In fact, email marketing is so versatile that it can do it all: convert leads, re-engage existing customers, and strengthen brand positioning and loyalty.
If you have invested heavily in email marketing campaigns and your emails are going in vain: unopened or unnoticed, well, you are not alone as a report from Campaign Monitor suggested, “Increasing customer engagement rates was the most important goal for 58% of marketers and the most significant barrier for 44% of marketers.”
Things are not as grim as they seem to be. A few fixes here and a few touch-ups there and your subscribers would start flocking in to engage with your email newsletter. How to make that happen? Well, let’s have a look at some exciting tactics to do so.
Make your audience vote
Nothing is better than going to your audience and asking them what they actually want. A brilliant way to peep into your audience’s mind is by inserting a poll in your newsletters and asking them about the type of content they wish to receive and eventually consume. Even if the sample size is small, you’d still be getting a direction (though broad) to create and execute a better newsletter campaign that drives more engagement.
Having a poll is necessary because your audience consists of subscribers from different demographics, especially if it’s a large number of subscribers. Some might just want to be updated about discounts and sales, while others may be interested in upcoming products. Hence, it’s better to let consumers dictate what they want to consume. It is a sure shot methodology to spike your email engagement rates.
Are you looking to create that perfect newsletter with some exciting polls? Well, don’t forget to use professionally crafted email template services like Pardot email templates or Salesforce email templates. They would really up to your email marketing game.
Here is a brilliant example from ‘Would you rather.’ The emailer gives the subscribers to choose from two options, which seem to be the answer to a riddle. Well, notice the revelations of choosing each option. This sort of email newsletter definitely elevates the subscribers’ experience and eventual engagement.
Another great way to boost subscriber engagement is by asking your subscribers to participate in a survey about your product or service. Here is an example from Tailor Brands persuading their customers to provide their valuable feedback. This sort of practice not only improves subscriber engagement but also creates a positive sentiment around the brand as the customers feel valued when asked to provide feedback about their experience. Most importantly these surveys where buyers vote are a great way to have insights into how your customers feel about the brand and what are their expectations.
Do NOT overdo the copy
Nowadays, the subscribers’ average attention span is shrinking, and honestly, no one has time to read your essays. So, it’s really crucial to keep your email copies crisp and short. The eyeballs just scan the relevant information and move on. So, if your copy requires too much effort to be understood, then your efforts have gone in vain.
To further boost the subscriber engagement, make sure that your emails are easy to read. Delivering your messages through pictures and short copies is always the best practice. To-the-point communication is effective and efficient as well.
Here is a minimalistic yet marvelous example of how a short and straightforward copy can make all the difference in the world and elevate the vibe of your entire newsletter. Not to mention, see how beautifully the visual elements (font style and size in this case) have been leveraged to further draw more and more eyeballs to the section where they matter the most. Such emailers are bound to have high subscriber engagement rates.
Every email marketing campaign revolves on how to make people take action. Hence, CTAs or calls-to-action become the most critical aspect of an email newsletter campaign, especially when customer engagement is at stake.
To make someone click on the CTA button (or whatever form it is there in the email), it needs to be clear, both in terms of content and visual appeal. To make my point more evident, let’s have a look at this email from Google. The CTA button is given the due respect it deserves with a significant visual highlight right in the reader’s line of sight. This is how CTAs should be written and placed in email marketing campaigns.
Use web-safe fonts
Overall formatting is a crucial element while creating highly engaging newsletters. Most importantly, you need to ensure that your newsletters have high readability, are in line with your branding (in terms of brand colors and logos), and are mobile-responsive.
That being said, using a web-safe font in your newsletter is another big bet that offers higher returns when it comes to subscriber engagement. The font is the defining parameter of any content piece, and an illegible font would frustrate your subscribers. It’s all right to try being fun and creative but going overboard with fonts may leave you with an off-brand font if the browser doesn’t recognize it. So, it’s better to stick to what works for everyone, at least for the fonts.
You can go for Arial or Times New Roman which almost all of the major email clients use. Here is a brilliant example of this practice by Fortnum & Mason. The brand intricately inserts at least one web font in their email text. Observe how seamlessly the font goes with the overall design language of the email, oozing the visual appeal.
Take it personally
Most email marketers write emails in the third person. At first glance, it sounds formal and sophisticated but in the long run, it makes the emails monotonous and renders them without appeal. The relatability factor fades away and eventually, subscribers find your content disconnecting and dismal.
On the other hand, writing in the first person and putting your name in the end indirectly elevates the content quality since you got to stand by the values and message your email delivers and the content you create. This practice establishes a personal bond with the subscribers and also helps the brand in the long run.
Seeing the sender’s name at the end would earn you the recipients’ trust, which would lead to much higher engagement. Here’s a good example for the point I’m trying to make. You see, this email looks and sounds more like a personal well-thought letter than a robotic (read automated) email which you already receive (or send) in bulk. Hence, personalizing your emails is another great way to establish a connection to garner higher engagement rates.
You might argue that the more personalization translates to a rising inefficiency. It is true to some extent. However, there is no point in sending thousands of emails without a single subscriber responding to it, isn’t it?
A/B test your emails
If you are in the digital marketing game, you cannot afford to miss out on testing your email newsletter campaigns. The focal point of testing should be your subject lines, send times, and content.
A usual A/B test shoots two versions of an email to your subscriber base. It can also be sent to a specific segment of your subscribers, with one defining factor changed. The performance between the two versions helps you identify your message’s strengths and weaknesses and how to proceed further with your emails.
Having trouble analyzing your email marketing campaigns? Then, look no further than Mailchimp email experts or Marketo certified associates. Their professional expertise would help you with the testing of your campaign and elevate the entire appeal of your email marketing campaign.
Bonus Tip: TEST your emails before hitting the Send button
Use tools like Email on Acid or Litmus to test your emails for flawless renderability. It will let you preview your emails on different devices and email clients. In addition, you can also send out test emails to specific devices to be doubly sure that your emails render well for all your subscribers, regardless of their email client and device.
With the evolving dynamics of digital marketing, customer engagement has become indispensable to customer acquisition and customer retention. However, it can still be an eyesore if you don’t completely know your customer base, what do they respond to, and how you can connect with them in a more engaging way.
As per a report, “44% of marketers said they face when looking to increase overall customer engagement through using the right content, design, email personalization, segmented lists, and email marketing automation.”
Hence it all boils down to the right content and then nailing its distribution. As a marketer, you need to deploy these tactics, to revisit and re-evaluate your customers’ journeys to determine the scale and size of the change. Your engagement efforts must keep up with the rapidly transforming customer behavior and expectations or else, the entire effort will fall apart. If re-engagement is something you aim for, you need to stick with one strategy that delivers consistently.
Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing PSD to HTML email conversion companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.