Few marketing channels are more effective than email, and the pandemic has only brought a spike in engagement. Take open rates, for instance: in the past year, they’ve increased by 31%, while unsubscribes are down 50%. With fewer places to go and more time to spend around the house, people are turning to email as a source of information and entertainment.
But are all brands making the most of the attention email is getting? If you feel like your email marketing isn’t working, consider the tactics below – they may be just what you need to reignite your engagement.
Email engagement: why it matters
Apart from the obvious reasons, email engagement matters so much because it brings you more engagement. It’s part of an algorithm you’ve noticed on social media, as well. The more reactions a post gets, the more it’s shown to people.
Email works the same: the opens, clicks, replies or forwards you get are all indicators that you send great content. As Internet service providers (ISPs) are working to make email better for everyone, they support senders with good engagement. So you’ll start to notice that:
- As your sender reputation improves, more of your emails will be landing in people’s inboxes,
- Your open rates will begin to increase,
- And you’ll be a lot happier with your conversion rate.
How do you get there, though? Let’s look at a few things you can start adjusting today.
How fresh is your email list?
If there’s one thing you must have when trying to boost your email results, it’s a fresh, healthy database. Even the best emails will fall flat when being sent to invalid or fake addresses, or to people who will label them as spam.
Many businesses struggle with data decay: email lists – especially in the B2B space – degrade every month. In the past year, due to the pandemic, as much as 25% of your business email list may have gotten risky, data scientist Christopher Penn suggests.
Sending to poor-quality contacts is a sign you don’t follow email marketing best practices, and ISPs will begin to direct your emails to people’s junk folders. In some cases, when you ignore bad data for too long, your email service provider may suspend your account. Furthermore, your sending IP or domain may be added to a blacklist, making matters even worse.
So, before you send your next newsletter, stop for a second and try to remember when you last validated your list. Has it been more than three months? Then take the time to run it through an email verifier and remove the bad email addresses. Sure, you’ll lose some contacts, but you would only sabotage yourself by keeping them on your list.
How engaging is your content?
If your database is up-to-date and you’re still not seeing a boost in email engagement, your content may need a revamp.
Oftentimes, it’s hard for business owners to tell whether their company’s content strategy is on the right path. You may feel like it needs to focus on your products or services, while your audience may expect less of that. Instead, your subscribers may be more eager to receive educational or entertaining content.
Start by taking a look at your campaigns in the past six months. What do your subject lines revolve around? How enticing are they? If you got those emails, would you click to open them?
If you’re not sure, try another exercise: out of all the emails you sent in the past six months, how many of them were purely self-promotional? If the answer is more than 20%, it may be time to switch to a less aggressive approach.
Use the Pareto principle and make sure 80% of your emails – or more – include content that’s useful to your subscribers. Reduce the number of self-promotional emails you send and instead, share insights and tips that help people overcome their challenges.
Keep things fresh and exciting, be of help, and you’ll see open and click rates rise.
How often do you send emails?
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see in email marketing: companies that send engaging content – but they send it once in a blue moon.
There are two main reasons why this (lack of) strategy won’t take them too far.
First, how can you build up email engagement if you don’t show up? It’s like wanting to grow stronger muscles while laying on the couch.
The average person receives 122 emails a day. We’re bombarded with thousands of pieces of information, and our brains erase old data to make room for new one. Many people will simply forget who you are when you return to their inbox, so they may delete your email right away or mark you as spam.
Think of email marketing as a marathon, not a sprint. One email every three months won’t help your subscribers and it won’t help you, either.
So, start by testing different sending schedules, depending on your business and industry. One email a week is great for many companies, but your audience may want to hear from you more often. If you can’t commit to a weekly email, send at least one a month to ensure you stay in touch.
Whatever your ideal frequency, stick to it once you find it. Emailing your list regularly is one of the best ways to build trust, familiarity, and engagement.
Corina Leslie is the PR Manager for email validation company ZeroBounce, an Inc. 5000 honoree. Most often, she writes about email marketing and public relations, and interviews marketers and entrepreneurs. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Engagement stock photo by Artur Szczybylo/Shutterstock