The term “engaging” — when used to talk about email marketing (or any other form of online marketing for that matter) has been thrown around quite a lot lately. Email marketers are constantly being told that they need to “engage more” with their subscribers, content and in their online interaction.
What does it really mean to be “engaged” and what can you do to make sure this concept follows through to your email campaigns?
Engaging is essentially about connecting and interacting with your subscribers and customers in their space, and on their terms. This means actively participating in discussions and conversations on social media platforms, blogs, forums and industry chat sites and listening out for ways in which you can target them better. What questions are they asking, what are they talking positively (or negatively) about, what products, services or latest trends are they interested in, or what problems are they experiencing?
This is all information that you can use to take engagement with them to “the next level”. Think about how you can offer solutions to their problems and answers to their questions and equally important is to make sure you remain visible and accessible online.
There’s no doubt that engaging has really helped the email marketing industry evolve. Every day it seems like marketers are given new ways (and opportunities) in which to interact, monitor and keep in touch with their subscribers.
However, before you dash off and decide you need to start strategising a new engagement campaign straight away, let’s look at four things you need to do to help ensure that whatever steps you do take to engage with your subscribers, they’ll be optimised.
1. Find. Listen. Participate. Take action. Track feedback. Repeat process
These steps form the basic stages of engagement. First, you need to find out where your subscribers and customers are online. Listen to what discussions are going on around them, participate in the conversation and offer your advice if necessary. From here, you need to take action quickly and use the information you’ve gathered to target your subscribers with newsletter content that’s fresh, up-to-date and trending on the platforms they’re most active on.
Once you’ve launched a campaign based on this, track your feedback and monitor the metrics that are most important to you. If it proves successful then repeat the process. If not, you might need to go back to the drawing board and try to find out if you’ve missed something along the way, so you can make necessary changes to your next campaign.
2. Have a clear set of objectives in mind
What do you ultimately want to achieve? What would the ideal result of your campaign be? Focus on specific (and realistic) numbers when you set these. It’s not very helpful (or easy to monitor for that matter) if you simply want to “increase subscriber numbers and open rates”. Say you want to increase open rates/conversion rates by five percent. Once you reach that mark, set a new one. That way, it makes it easier to monitor and besides, smaller goals are more achievable and faster to reach, which makes the overall process more satisfying for you too.
3. Spend time on your subject line (no really, this is hugely important)
If your subject line doesn’t get your subscribers opening and reading your campaigns then it really doesn’t matter what fantastic offers you have for them, does it? Unfortunately, a lot of marketers aren’t putting enough time and effort into creating unique and eye-catching subject lines. At the very least, you need to be A/B split testing them, which is the easiest way to determine which subject lines perform better than others.
On the other hand, you also need to make sure that your subject line isn’t misleading in any way. It needs to tell your subscribers exactly what they can expect to read about in your email, otherwise any future campaigns you sent could be ignored or deleted or worse, reported as spam.
4. Make sure your end message is clear
What exactly is the purpose of each campaign? Are you informing them of your new website, change of details, new email preference centre, a brand new product or service or a sale on old stock? You need to tell your readers what the next step is, as simply and clearly as possible. Aim for links that read along the lines of: check out our new website, update your details on our email preference centre, see what stock is being sold now for ridiculous discounts or check out our latest shipment of quality products. The clearer your message is, the easier it is for your subscriber to take action.
When it comes down to it, any steps that you take to: find out more about your subscribers, what you can do to offer effective solutions and making an effort to find out what they’re interested in (by asking them via the platforms they’re most active on), is setting the stage for a more engaged relationship with your subscribers and customers. From there, it’s a matter of putting a maintenance plan in action to ensure that you continue to deliver stellar email marketing campaigns.