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Increasing Engagement Among Email Subscribers

Ever sent an email newsletter out only to be hit with a flurry of unsubscriptions? You are not alone. A small percentage of your subscribers is expected to opt-out from your communication each month. But their actions could also be directly influenced by your marketing strategy.

According to one study, close to 45.8% of email subscribers opt out because the sender sent too many emails. Another 31.6% of recipients choose to hit the ‘Unsubscribe’ button since they don’t find the content relevant. Nearly one-tenth of all subscribers choose to opt-out because they find the content impersonal.

While insightful content and adherence to a schedule can help bring unsubscriptions down, you will not meet your marketing objectives until your content engages and appeals to your target group.

How do you measure engagement

Typically, engagement is measured with the help of metrics like email open rate, and click rate. However, several marketing experts have opined in recent years that the open rate does not really matter. There are users who go through their emails one by one in order to delete messages. While this gets accounted in your open rate, such recipients did not engage with your content in reality.

Click rates are a relatively better metric. But like open rates, they do not always convey the true picture. All that the click rate metric conveys is that a recipient did read your email and click on a link. But what about the times you do not have a link in your email? Also, clicking on a link does not always indicate an interest in your offering or an intent to purchase.

The ideal way to measure engagement is to look at your campaign as a whole. A drip marketing campaign, for instance, consists of several messages sent over a period of several days in order to nurture your recipient into buying your product. Failure to engage your recipients over any one of these emails could increase opt-outs at this stage of the campaign and thus bring conversion down for the entire campaign.

Sustaining engagement

Most email marketing campaigns begin with the right objectives. Typically, a visitor to your website or landing page is lured by a lead magnet and is convinced to offer their contact details in exchange for access to your ebook or other marketing assets. Engagement at this stage is usually very high and only starts to dip further into the campaign.

To sustain high levels of engagement, it is important to give your subscribers a reason to look forward to your next message. This is similar to the psychological factors that contribute to people ‘binge-watching’ television shows. A highly engaging activity (like watching an episode of your favorite show) releases dopamine and this makes people crave for more. An ideal marketing message should give your recipients the same thrill that they get out of watching an exciting show on TV. 

A key component to achieving this is continuity in your messaging. When messages in your drip campaign are inter-connected,it gives reason for them to ‘crave’ for your next message. This sustains engagement and thus helps with high overall conversions.

There are a couple of ways to do this.

Surveys and Quizzes : Email marketing newsletters are, for the most part, one way communication tools. Surveys and quizzes improve interactivity and make the reader a willing participant in the communication.

A good way to inter-connect your email marketing messages is by enclosing a quiz question at the end of each of your messages and promising to reveal the results in the next message.

Tell a story : Story telling may not be possible for all kinds of drip marketing messages. However, this is one of the most effective ways to connect your messages and keep your recipients engaged. 

Baremetrics is a company that does this really well. Their blog (and in turn the email newsletter) is a collection of experiences running the company straight from the founders and the rest of the team. As a product that is used by startup businesses, this provides an engaging story that recipients do not want to opt out of.

Increasing recipient engagement 

Sustaining interest through your drip marketing campaign is just one aspect of engaging your email audience. There are other reasons why recipients may fail to continue engaging with your content. This could be due to many reasons:

  • The recipient is now already a paying customer and so doesn’t need to be pitched
  • The recipient has paid for a different product and is no longer active in the buying process
  • The recipient has no need for your product any more

These are different use-cases and continued engagement in each of these instances can only happen with a personalized approach. 

Create separate email campaigns based on customer-status: It does not make sense to send an email pitching your product to a recipient who has already purchased from you. Not personalizing your message based on the recipient’s conversion status brings down engagement and also opt-outs. 

It is important to change your marketing objectives based on your recipient’s status. Perhaps you could look at cross-selling or upselling for these recipients. This would require a significant shift in the nurturing process. 

Alternately, you could move your metrics and assess these recipients based on customer support. You may, for instance, share onboarding sequences or tips on product management and maintenance to these customers. This ensures high message relevance and thus continued engagement.

But all said and done, it is also worth asking yourself if continued engagement with a recipient is in fact necessary. If a customer has already made a purchasing decision and you do not have a specific marketing metric to assess their continued engagement, you may consider ending your marketing messages. 

The average customer is used to receiving hundreds of marketing messages each week and standing out of the clutter is a gargantuan task. It is only ideal that you reduce your customer’s inbox clutter when you no longer have to. This brings down your target pool and ensures continued focus on engagement and conversion. This brings better ROI in the long term. 

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