How to optimise your emails for improved engagement

Posted by: Nicky Lott


We’ve all been there. You’ve got a great new deal to offer your customers, and you know they’re going to love it.

You’ve written the perfect email, with a strong subject line and compelling call to action, and you’re confident that this campaign is going to be a hit.

But once you’ve pressed the magic button and the email has sent, you find yourself disappointed with the results. Your open rate and click through rate are both lower than expected and the soaring interest and sales you envisioned simply haven’t come to pass.

So what went wrong? Sometimes it’s not about what you’re offering, but how you’re offering it.

Try these simple tips and tricks to help boost those engagement rates back up to the level you’re aiming for…

1. Keep testing

The first hurdle is to get people to actually open your email. This comes down to knowing your customers – knowing when they want to hear from you, and what they want to hear from you.

The best way to do this is through A/B split testing. Try sending your email to half of your database in the afternoon, and half in the evening and see how the open rates vary. Data is a powerful thing, and you can learn a lot about your customers just by watching the numbers.

You can also send a split test based on subject line, trying out different calls to action to see what gets people to open the email. Test out product-led subject lines against price-led ones and see how your audience responds.

2. Cut your losses

The second challenge is to make sure you are only sending to people who care.

Millions of emails lie unopened in people’s inboxes every year, many of which will never be read. There is no sense in sending to thousands of unengaged email addresses in the vague hope that they might one day open up. Know when to cut your losses – apply an engagement segment so that you’re only sending to people who have opened within a certain time period, and start targeting the people who really care about your brand.

There’s no need to ignore your unengaged data altogether – once or twice a year try sending a reengagement email with a killer subject line and an exclusive offer to entice your lapsed customers back.

3. Content that shines

Thirdly, you need to generate great content. Knowing your customers and what they want to hear definitely helps when it comes to producing great content, as does knowing the best practices.

A picture says a thousand words: To start with, use impactful images. Instead of overwhelming people with text, say it with an image. Use charts to display data, use personal images to give people a unique perspective on your product or business, and create custom images to get your messages across.

Forget dull and uninspiring stock images; the images you include in emails should be the same as those you would include in a social media campaign – bright, eye catching and interesting.

Copy that converts: Next, write compelling copy. Try to tell a story in your email, communicating with your readers in a way that engages them and captures their imagination.

The key is not to say too much. One of the most common mistakes in email marketing is trying to cram too much information into a small space. Readers are overwhelmed, and resort to skimming over information, or worse clicking away. Keep your copy concise and stay on topic – choose a theme for your email and stick to it. If you have more to say, you’d be better off saving it for another email.

A positive outlook: Finally, be positive! Positive language helps to engage readers and encourages them to act. Positive words like ‘go’ or ‘jump’ spike our brain activity, motivating readers to click through or make a purchase.

When you’re planning your next email, use our checklist to make sure you are setting yourself up for the best possible results.

  • Have you planned your email for the best time of day and come up with a killer subject line?
  • Have you segmented your data so that you are only sending to engaged customers?
  • Have you looked at your content and included meaningful images, compelling copy and a positive tone of voice?

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