26 Real Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Email Newsletter

by Alyssa Rice

One of the most important things that can happen when you send email is that your readers engage with your email.

What exactly is email engagement? It’s when your readers open your email, keep it open for a while, click on a link in your email, forward your email to a friend, reply to your email, drag your email from a promotions tab to their inbox tab, respond to a Call To Action (CTA), and other positive behaviors.

So how do you generate email subscriber engagement? How do I get a reader to complete a call to action (CTA)? Read on!

1) Craft a great email subject line

This is where your reader begins their journey. If you do not capture attention here, they will not even enter your email. Here’s a list of 164 eye-catching subject lines.

2) Leave a cliffhanger

This is our #1 tip, even though we have it listed as the second item on this list. Do not reveal everything in your email. One of the goals of increasing engagement is to receive more clicks. Start to tell a story, leave it on a cliffhanger, and add in a “read more” or “finish the story here” links to get the readers to your website or blog. If you put it all out there in an email, then what’s the incentive for a subscriber to click through to your website?

3) Tell a story

You want to tell a story in the most creative and unique way possible. Do this through tips, tricks, success stories, news, and more. Add in personal experiences that pertain to your business. Better yet, include your employees and photos of your employees. According to PixelFish, customers “may feel more comfortable reaching out when they think they know who will be answering their call”.
The take-away here is to make your message personal. That alone adds interest. And it increases engagement.

4) Create dynamic visuals

How unappealing is an email with solely words? Dynamic visuals, moving pictures, and more will catch the eyes of your readers and will lead them to click on your links. Nobody likes to just see a blob of words. Canva is a great free tool to easily create great looking graphics to use in emails and on web sites.

5) Segment email lists into specific groups for increased relevance

When users sign up for your email list, do you ask for anything specific? Categories like gender, age, geographic location, and more can divide customers into different target markets. You can split these users into segmented lists. Paying customers could be on one segment. Free trial customers prospects could be on another segment. Certainly your messaging to these two groups will likely be different.
According to WordStream, click-throughs are 100.95% higher in segmented email campaigns than non-segmented email campaigns. The more you know, the more you can increase engagement.

6) Supply a conversation avenue and next step

You can create a “conversational avenue” with your clients. A conversation avenue is simply a way to empower your readers to continue the conversation. Many readers want to. You can ask them to comment on a blog, begin a discussion group, share their own story or experience, or plan to host a virtual Zoom meeting. This way, a more personalized relationship is made and will increase the chance of engagement. People like to have conversations, in whatever form that may take. Be open to expanding outward into new methods, platforms and technologies to enable conversations.

7) Include incentives

Create an incentive for engaging! Including a coupon or a free gift with an order is a great way to increase clicks.

8) Write about timely or breaking news and events 

Everyone wants to be the first to know. People cannot resist clicking on late-breaking information. This can generate high engagement.

9) Keep your text short

Nobody wants to read a long email full of text. Link out to your articles and website. Paragraphs should be no more than three sentences.

10) Include reviews and testimonials

If your business will benefit from including client testimonials in your emails, it will not hurt to include them. In fact, you will find that people will click on the testimonials and reviews to learn more from what your customers say about you. People often decide on a business based on reviews and testimonials.

11) Use triggered and event-based emails to keep subscribers informed

If you choose to promote a short-term sale, send out a “Price Drop” email announcing it. If an order has shipped, send out an email notification, plus tracking codes. If something has been left in a shopping cart, email them two hours later.

All these events can justify sending out a triggered email that will help engagement.

One of my favorite examples was when I purchased a wristwatch online. Afterwards, twice a year I got an email from the seller. Can you guess when? Spring and fall daylight savings time. “It’s time to set your watch ahead, and while you’re at it check out the new styles!”
How can you creatively integrate a triggered or event-based email into your campaigns?

12) Use humor in your emails 

Time and again we’ve run articles on how to save money, make money, get customers, and more. But when we include links in our emails to a good humor web site, people often click on those links! People often want some humor in their lives. Try it in your next email! 

13) Ask for comments, suggestions, opinions, and new feature requests  

People love to tell you what you’re doing right, and especially what you’re doing wrong. Let them get it out! Give them a voice and vehicle to do so.

14) Convenient reorder notifications

Considered to be a kind of transactional email, people love an email reminder that they’re running low, and need to reorder before running out. Send out polite reorder notifications, add in an incentive, and watch the sales roll in. Best of all, these notifications can be set up in advance, so there’s nothing you need to do to make the emails go out each time.

15) Offer actionable information

Include quick and easy tips and tricks that readers can go and do right after they read your email. This is valuable content for readers.

16) Cute animals, animated people, silly people, dumb jokes, stupid tricks, oh my!

Does this stuff really work. Yes!!! Do a split test and find out!

17) Free educational resources: smarter, faster, richer, better

One of the best ways to help people and generate clicks is to help them be smarter, do things faster, get richer, and find a better way to do something. As an example, look at the huge successes of online learning through Kahn Academy, edX, Coursera, Udemy, and more. If you can educate your readers with something very valuable, reader engagement will be very high. 

18) Send the same email again, but with a different email subject line

When you’ve succeeded with a great email campaign that gets opens and clicks, send it again! This has proven time and again to be a very smart strategy.

19) Appeal to our most powerful human emotions of greed, fear, and guilt

We often find these emotional concepts very difficult to ignore. It’s best to use these respectfully. Can you entice your readers to make money or save money? Fear and guilt are also powerful too. Look at the success of Ring home security systems, which helps address people’s fear around home security. 

20) Send from one person, write to one person

I don’t know about you, but nothing frustrates me more than getting a letter or email that comes signed by someone like: The Comcast Team, or Google Client Services, or Amazon Billing. I know there is a person somewhere with a name, use it! Conversely, when possible, write like you are writing to one person, not a list of 10,000. Also, in your email from address, some studies have shown that email coming from a person performs better than email coming from a company.

21) Send your email in responsive format

Emails sent in responsive format display properly in phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and more. This will help improve engagement, if people can easily read, engage with, and respond to your email campaigns.

22) Add a link to a short video  

Everyone loves video, but keep it short! Nobody has time to watch War and Peace director’s extended version cut.

23) Try sending your emails during non-business hours        

Data has shown that opens and clicks increase after hours. Why? Less competition for the email inbox.

24) Maintain the same email template and company branding

It is important that all emails and newsletters are branded with the same format to keep your brand consistent. Make sure to always include your logo and the same signature. This will help build trust with your readers, and sooner or later this will escalate to a click, search, inquiry, or purchase.

25) Use a consistent voice to assure and maintain your readers

Using the same tone and distinctive voice will allow your newsletter to stand out. For example, if you want your newsletter to have a humorous tone, maintain that so your readers expect a funny newsletter every time. If you write about politics, your readers will expect you to be edgy and controversial. If you write about religious or spiritual topics, be inspirational and uplifting. Your personality will outshine the other newsletter’s personalities, and when you ask your readers to take action they will be more willing to do so.

26) Don’t be afraid to link out to others

Business people and other web site owners are deathly afraid to link out to other web sites, resources, blogs, etc. After all, this sends people away from your web site, right? Not exactly. One reason the web is such as valuable resource is that good stuff gets linked to, and in doing so makes the world a better place. Certainly we can understand fears around sending email and web traffic to other sites, but if there is value in the link then it actually creates value for you, too.

These and other strategies have helped Net Atlantic increase engagement with our own newsletter.  Subscribe to the Net Atlantic newsletter, and you will see our ideas in action.


 

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