A Guide to Effective Email Engagement Strategies in 2024

Hamna Abid
Hamna Abid

Last updated on

January 29, 2024

Do you know that more than 375 billion emails are expected to be sent on a daily basis by the year 2025?

Yes, that’s right!
Emails make a great platform to reach out to both existing customers and potential leads. With proper planning, emails can even give you an average return of $40 for every $1 spent

But here’s the catch. 

Sending a bunch of emails in the dark will never give you results. Why you ask --- because without proper strategy your emails are either gonna bounce back, land in spam, or go unnoticed by your recipient even after landing in their inbox.

Your email campaigns need to be well-optimized so that your recipients are interested in them and want to engage with them. This is where email engagement comes into the picture.

So the next question that we might have here is…

What Exactly is Email Engagement?

Email engagement is one of the most important groups of metrics that describe the success of your email outreach campaigns whether it is for sales or marketing. 

It is the measure of how the recipients interact with your email marketing campaigns which are estimated by monitoring the necessary metrics such as how often are your emails opened, how many clicks your email content gets, how many people opted out, and so on. 

By monitoring these metrics you can determine if your email marketing efforts are going in the right direction or if you are lagging somewhere. Once you understand the key points you can work on improvising accordingly to achieve your desired results. 

Benefits of Email Engagement

Before jumping onto the ways to measure your email engagement, let’s have a 360-degree view of all the benefits you get out of maintaining a healthy engagement rate on your email campaigns.

  1. Email offers immediate outreach. You can send your message to your subscribers as soon as you have something to share, and they can access it at their convenience.
  2. Email has a better geographical reach. You can connect with people from all over the world through email, regardless of time zones or physical barriers.
  3. Email is more accessible. Most people have access to email on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktops, so they can check their inbox anytime and anywhere.
  4. Email allows targeted communication. You can segment your subscribers based on their preferences, behavior, demographics, or other criteria, and send them personalized and relevant content that matches their interests and needs.
  5. Email is budget-friendly. You don’t need to pay for postage, printing, or distribution costs when you send emails. You only need an email service provider (ESP) that suits your budget and goals.
  6. Email drives traffic to your website. You can include links to your website or landing pages in your emails, and encourage your subscribers to visit them for more information, offers, or actions.
  7. Email increases revenue. You can use email to promote your products or services, offer discounts or incentives, upsell or cross-sell, or generate referrals. Email marketing has an average return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every $1 spent.
  8. Email builds authority and trust. You can use email to share valuable content with your subscribers, such as tips, guides, blogs, videos, podcasts, etc., that showcase your expertise and credibility in your industry. You can also use email to solicit feedback, testimonials, ratings, or Google reviews from your subscribers or customers, and use them to improve your products or services and increase social proof.

How To Measure Email Engagement Metrics

Now, getting back to the metrics, here’s how you can measure email engagement on your email campaigns.

1. Open rate

Open rate refers to the number of people who have opened or viewed an email in any campaign. When it comes to open rates, the accepted metric for email marketing is generally somewhere between 11 and 35 percent.

This metric is often influenced by the factors like subject lines, preview text, relevance, target audience, frequency of your emails, and the timing of your email campaigns. While you have no reason to worry, if you are above the average open rate in your industry, being below the average rate can be a concern for you and an indication for better optimization. 

2. Click-through rate

Email click-through rate is one of the most critical engagement metrics that measure the number of clicks you receive on at least one of the links in your email. For example, if your emails were delivered to 50 people and 5 people clicked on even one link in your email, then your CTR is 10 percent.

Anything above 3 percent is considered to be a good email click-through rate and that is what most email marketers try to achieve. Your email click-through can be influenced by the design of your email, placement of CTAs/links, list segmentation for better relevance, etc. 

3. Conversion rate 

The email marketing conversion rate is a measure of the number of subscribers who complete an email CTA. Since it measures ROI (return on investment), it is regarded as an essential indicator. 

Anything above 10 percent is considered to be a good email marketing conversion rate. Because many conversions are sales-based, the email marketing conversion rate is an indicator of an email campaign's financial success. The metric is often influenced by how well you address the pain points of your audience, customization, relevance, etc.

4. Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate is a common KPI used in email marketing to determine the percentage of emails that were sent during a specific period but were not opened by subscribers.

It indicates what your email subscribers are doing with your email campaigns. According to Mailchimp, the average email unsubscribe rate across all industries is about 0.26%, and anything below this is good. But. when email marketing campaigns are causing high unsubscribe rates, it’s a sign to update your email marketing & engagement strategy.

So, let’s have a look at the best ways to optimize your email campaigns for better email engagement.

13 Ultimate Email Engagement Strategies

1. Segment your audience 

Segmentation is the process of categorizing your email list into smaller groups according to specific criteria. This enables you to send customized content that aligns with the interests and preferences of each group. Here are some ways to segment your audience:

  • Demographics: Segment by age, gender, location, and other demographic factors.
  • Behavioral: Segment based on past interactions with your emails, website, or products.
  • Purchase History: Segment by previous purchases or buying behavior.
  • Interests: Segment based on preferences or interests indicated by the subscribers.

Example: An online bookstore can segment its audience into readers of different genres such as mystery, romance, and science fiction. This allows them to send targeted book recommendations and promotions to each segment, increasing the likelihood of engagement.

2. Write compelling subject lines

Compelling subject lines are succinct, and attention-grabbing as they offer a glimpse into email content. More than 47% of your recipients decide to open an email based on the subject lines. 

So the best way to engage your audience is by using tendencies that can immediately grab human attention. You try adding humor to your subject lines, or curiosity, or you can even go for the FOMO strategy, which is to create the fear of missing out on something (maybe an exclusive offer).

Example: Using phrases like "Unlock Exclusive Access" or "Limited Time Offer" in subject lines sparks curiosity and encourages engagement.

3. Create a sense of urgency

Emphasizing a little more on our last strategy — creating a sense of urgency always works not only for the subject lines (as we have only limited characters to use there), but for the email copy too.

Your email copy offers a broader canvas to emphasize urgency, driving clicks and conversations. By conveying the scarcity of time-sensitive offers, you can encourage subscribers to engage promptly.

Example: Imagine you're a software company launching a limited-time discount on your premium subscription. Your subject line, "Last Chance: 50% Off Premium Subscription!" sparks curiosity. In your email, you can elaborate further: 

"Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to upgrade your experience with our premium subscription. This exclusive 50% discount is expiring in just 24 hours! Unlock advanced features, enhanced security, and priority support. Seize the moment and make the most of this offer before it's gone."

In this example, the subject line captures attention with urgency, and the email copy elaborates on the benefits of the premium subscription while reinforcing the limited time frame. This combination creates a sense of urgency that drives recipients to click through, learn more, and potentially convert.

4. Keep your copy fun, light and readable

When crafting your email content, it's essential to strike a balance between conveying your message and making it enjoyable to read. It should not be too long, or overwhelming to read.

Go for a fun and light tone to create a sense of friendliness and approachability, allowing your audience to connect with your brand on a more personal level. Break up your text into short paragraphs, utilize bullet points, and keep sentences concise. By doing so, you make the content easy to scan and digest, catering to readers who skim through emails.

Example: Imagine a fitness app sending an email with the subject line "Level Up Your Workouts!" The email copy could go on to say, "Hey FitFam! Ready to crush those fitness goals? We've got a lineup of exciting challenges, energizing routines, and high-fives waiting for you. Let's make sweat your best accessory!"  This email copy was fun and easy to read, right?

5. Optimize the preview text

Another factor that can help you grab more of your recipients' attention and boost your open rates is to optimize your email preview text properly. The preview text complements your subject line, offering an extra snippet of information to entice recipients to open the email. 

This is your opportunity to provide a sneak peek into what your email contains, arousing curiosity and giving subscribers a reason to engage. Whether you're promoting a sale, sharing a valuable resource, or offering exclusive content, use the preview text to provide a tantalizing hint that aligns with your subject line.

Example: If your subject line announces a new recipe collection, your preview text could read, "Discover mouthwatering recipes to satisfy your cravings!" 

6. Tell the story with graphics

Visuals are powerful storytelling tools for all forms of marketing and email marketing is no different. Incorporating relevant images, GIFs, and videos can effectively convey emotions, showcase products, and captivate your audience. 

Visuals instantly grab attention and often communicate messages more swiftly than text alone. When using graphics, ensure they are directly related to the email's content and enhance the narrative you're trying to convey.

Example: Here’s a great example by Ann Taylor of using visuals that can work in your favor while emphasizing the message you are trying to convey.

7. Use interactive elements

Interactive elements inject an extra layer of engagement into your emails, transforming passive readers into active participants. 

Incorporate elements like polls, quizzes, or clickable image carousels that encourage recipients to interact with your content. Interactive emails create a two-way communication channel, making subscribers feel involved and fostering a stronger connection with your brand.

Example: An online beauty store might send an email featuring a quiz titled "Find Your Perfect Shade!" where subscribers can choose their skin tone and preferences to receive personalized makeup recommendations.

8. Make CTAs prominent

Your Call-to-Action (CTA) is the bridge between your email content and the desired action. Ensure your CTA buttons are well placed and visually striking with a color that contrasts well against your email's background. 

Use concise, action-oriented language that clearly communicates what action you want the recipient to take. Place CTAs strategically throughout the email to guide readers smoothly toward your intended goal.

Example: Here’s how Grow.com invites readers to download a free cheat sheet. Although they are not directly soliciting customers to purchase their service, their ultimate objective is still to make a sale. Their aim is for you to peruse the cheat sheet and feel inspired to give their service a try. 

9. Personalize your email for each recipient 

Any marketing strategy, especially email marketing works best when they are personalized for each of your intended recipients. And personalization goes beyond addressing recipients by their names. 

You should tailor your email content based on their preferences, behaviors, pain points, interactions, etc. Leverage the data you have to recommend products, services, or content that align with their past interactions. This level of customization demonstrates that you understand your audience and genuinely care about their needs.

Example: A travel agency could send an email to a customer who recently booked a beach vacation, offering additional add-ons like snorkeling tours or spa treatments.

10. Conduct A/B testing

A/B testing involves sending two versions of an email with slight variations to see which performs better. Test different subject lines, CTAs, visuals, or even email lengths to determine what resonates most with your audience. This empirical approach allows you to fine-tune your email strategy based on real data.

Example: A clothing retailer might test two subject lines for the same sale: "Summer Sale: 30% Off" and "Huge Summer Discounts Inside!" By analyzing open rates and click-through rates for both subject lines, you can determine which approach is more effective and gain a better understanding of what your audience likes.

11. Consider trigger emails

Trigger emails are automated responses triggered by user actions or behaviors. These emails are highly relevant and timely, as they're based on specific actions such as signing up, making a purchase, or abandoning a shopping cart. 

Leveraging trigger emails enhances customer engagement by delivering content that directly responds to their actions. In fact, running triggered email campaigns result in an average open rate of 35.33%, CTR – 3.69%, and click-to-open rate – 10.44%.

Example: An e-commerce site can send a trigger email to a customer who abandoned their cart, reminding them about the items and offering an additional discount to incentivize the completion of the purchase.

12. Remove cold subscribers

Regular email list cleaning is very important to remove inactive or "cold" subscribers who haven't engaged with your emails for a long time. This improves your email deliverability and engagement rates, as you're focusing on a more receptive audience.

Whereas, sending out emails to an unengaged audience can lead to further decreased deliverability and a poor sender’s reputation. When cleaning your email lists, make sure you remove outdated and no longer existing email accounts along with the cold email subscribers to save your campaign from bounces and landing in spam.

You can also try for a last time to revive your unengaged audience, before removing them from your email list. You can also ask them to update their preference to understand the type of content they would like and engage with. 

Example: Here’s a simple example of a re-engagement email by Revolve.

13. Use statistics and case studies to appeal to the audience

Incorporate relevant statistics and data to lend credibility to your message and persuade your audience. Sharing industry trends, case studies, success stories, or research findings adds value to your content and positions you as an authoritative source.

Example: Check out this simple, classy, yet engaging email example from Litmus.

By integrating these strategies into your email marketing approach, you'll create dynamic campaigns that resonate deeply with your audience, foster engagement, and drive meaningful interactions. 

And implementing all these strategies to your email campaigns is a lot easier than you can think with the help of proper tools and AI. Here’s how…

Using AI To Boost Email Engagement

Harnessing the power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) can significantly enhance your email engagement strategies. It can help analyze data, personalize content, and predict recipient behavior, resulting in more relevant and compelling email campaigns.

1. Personalized Recommendations: AI algorithms can analyze a recipient's past interactions, preferences, and purchase history to generate personalized product recommendations. 

For instance, an e-commerce retailer can send an email suggesting items similar to those the customer has previously bought or shown interest in. This level of personalization increases the likelihood of engagement, as the content directly resonates with the recipient's preferences.

2. Dynamic Content: AI-powered dynamic content allows you to create hyper-personalized and adaptable emails that change based on user behavior or data you have about your subscribers.

For instance, an online streaming service can send an email showcasing different movie recommendations based on the recipient's genre preferences. This ensures that each recipient receives content that's relevant to their tastes, improving engagement.

3. Predictive Analytics: AI can analyze vast amounts of data to predict recipient behavior, enabling you to send emails at optimal times. By determining when a subscriber is most likely to open their inbox, you can increase the chances of your email being seen and engaged with. 

For example, an AI-powered tool might identify that a specific subscriber frequently opens emails around 7 p.m. and schedule your emails accordingly.

4. Subject Line Optimization: AI can help by analyzing data on subject line performance and providing insights into what types of subject lines are more likely to resonate with your audience. It can even generate subject line variations for A/B testing to determine the most effective option.

For example, there are many AI-based subject line tester tools that can analyze your subject lines, score them, predict the engagement rate, and provide suggestions on how to improve them for better open rates. 

5. Content Generation: AI writing tools can assist in creating relevant and engaging email copy. These tools analyze your brand's tone and style, generating content that aligns with your messaging. 

For instance, you can use ChatGPT, Jasper, Phrasee, Shopia, etc to get inspiration and craft catchy content for your emails. However, it's important to review and customize the content to ensure it fits your brand's voice accurately.

The Full-proof Email Engagement Strategy

Incorporating AI into your email marketing strategy empowers you to create highly targeted, relevant, and timely campaigns. By offering personalized content and predicting recipient behavior, AI-driven emails not only increase engagement but also build stronger connections with your audience.

So, by following these email engagement strategies and the right AI tools, you can create emails that stand out in the inbox, capture attention, and drive action. Timely measure your email engagement KPI, and keep improvising to go beyond your email engagement goals. 

Author Bio

Hamna Abid

Say hello to Hamna, a tiny wordsmith who loves combining humor and creativity with masterful precision during the day, and a caped Batman that saves the world during the night. She ensures that every piece not only ranks high but also resonates with the audience.

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