You’ve done the hard work of targeting your audience, attracting them to your website and persuading them to sign up for your mailing list. Your next (and most important) step is figuring out how to keep them happy and engaged with your content.
These days mailbox providers focus massively on protecting their users from spam and unwanted emails. They use data on how your audience interacts with your emails (opens, reads, clicks) to determine where to send your emails: the inbox or spam and promotion folders
By consistently focusing on engagement, you’ll build up more trust with your audience over time. And when your audience trusts and likes you, their behaviour and interaction with your emails will also earn you trust from the mailbox providers, making them much more likely to deliver your emails safely to the inbox.
Here are our 9 tips to help you get as many people as possible opening your emails and interacting with you.
1) Give Your Audience A Good Reason To Open Your Email
Think carefully when creating the subject line of your email. The subject line and the first few words of your email are all that someone will see when deciding whether or not to open your email – so make them good!
Questions and statements are always a good tactic when it comes to enticing a reader to open, as it arouses their curiosity.
Most email marketing platforms allow you to add preheader text – the bit of text that shows beside (or under) the subject line before the email is opened. If you do nothing, this may be the first line of the email or “Having problems reading this mail? Click here”. You can use preheader text to highlight the most intriguing part of your email instead.
2) Make Your Emails Personal
People are more likely to open and read your email if it sounds authentic and looks like it’s been sent directly from you to them.
The more pretty pictures and banners there are at the top of your email, the more likely people are to switch off and subconsciously think “this is a marketing message”.
Research has shown that for most audiences, emails that look like plain text that have been sent directly from a personal email address (rather than a generic address such as “email@example.com”) are much more likely to get a positive response.
3) Encourage Interaction
Always have a call to action within your email. Whether it’s clicking on a link, connecting with you on social media or hitting the reply button, interaction makes them feel connected with you.
Replying to an email is one of the highest signs of engagement as measured by the major mailbox providers, so encourage this wherever possible. It can be as simple as asking a question at the end of your email and inviting people to reply. (This is also a nice way to learn more about your audience!)
4) Make Every Email Count – Make Sure It’s Relevant
Make sure that you’re only sending content that’s interesting and/or useful to the right people on your list.
It’s ok to talk about yourself and what you’ve been up to if it helps build a relationship with your readers and they can relate to it – but if you’re constantly talking about yourself, it will get a little boring for them. Much better to make your emails all about them than all about you.
Similarly, if you talk about dogs in every email, that’s great – as long as the people on your list are actually interested in dogs!
5) Segment Your Database
Ask questions where possible to find out what your audience is interested in. For example, if you have a gardening business, it would be useful to find out whether a new contact is a professional gardener looking for advanced tips, or a newbie looking for a starting point. This would enable you to send either group of contacts much more relevant content.
A good place to ask is often in the form where you collect email addresses. Here’s an example of one of ours:
You can use tagging features to tag contacts based on their answers, and anything else that you can infer from their behaviour.
Identify the people who engage most with you – the people opening your emails and clicking on links. You can then use this information to decide what to send to whom.
6) Keep In Regular Contact With Your List
However often you’ve agreed to email your list, stick to it, as they’ll come to expect that regular email.
As a minimum, we’d recommend mailing your engaged contacts once a week, or even more frequently than that. (We see great results from our clients who mail their list every single day!)
If you don’t contact them for months on end, then send a bunch of emails in one go, expect to see more unsubscribes and spam complaints, and don’t expect to have a high open rate!
By the way, if you are going to increase your email frequency, make sure you warn your list of your intent to do this and if it’s a drastic change, ramp this up slowly over a period of time.
7) Make It Easy to Unsubscribe
This might sound counterproductive, but you don’t want people cluttering up your database if they don’t want to hear from you, as it’ll lower your engagement score. Not only that, but if they can’t find an easy way to unsubscribe, they’ll hit the spam button instead, which can only mean bad news.
Additionally, email laws around the world require every email sent to contain a way to unsubscribe from that email list, and that it must be easy to find and uncomplicated to do.
8) Don’t Put Lots of Blank Space at the End of Your Emails
This is an age-old practice that Internet Marketers have used over the years to try to minimise the number of people seeing (and clicking) the unsubscribe link. But you run the risk of getting more spam complaints and it may violate the acceptable usage policy of your email marketing platform – so don’t do it!
9) Clean Your List Regularly
If people haven’t opened any of your emails or clicked on any links for 3 months or longer, remove them from your list. Abandoned email addresses can be turned into spam traps, which can get you blocklisted if you continue to send emails to them.
The best practice is to send a “last chance to re-engage” message to these people, and if they don’t click the confirmation link in that email, it’s time to say goodbye to them.
You can also use a list scrubbing tool such as Klean13 to identify spam traps, bots, serial complainers and other toxic email addresses. Our EmailSmart Software lets you scrub your list using Klean13 without the need to download and upload CSV files or do complex deduplication – register for your free EmailSmart Score and get access to the EmailSmart Software here.
Above all, keep in mind that quality is much more important than quantity. As long as you’re making genuine efforts to understand and engage with your audience, and sticking to good, honest email marketing practices, you’re on the right track!