Marketers often believe that email marketing begins and ends with building a list. The value of your list isn’t correlated with the number of subscribers. You can build a list of a million subscribers, but if you don’t engage with them well, your marketing efforts will fail miserably.

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Email Marketing Engagement Mistakes to Avoid

If your open rates, click-through-rates and conversion rates are very low, then you are probably not engaging with your list well. Here are some common email marketing engagement mistakes you may be making and some tips to turn things around.

Not Offering Incentives to Keep Them Interested

Are you using your list primarily to educate customers about your brand? This is one of the biggest reasons engagement is faltering.

Few of your subscribers joined your email list simply to hear you talk. Most joined because they expect you to give them something of value, which can include deals on future services, exclusive content or freebies. You need to keep offering them things to maintain their interest.

You don’t have to give them the next winning lottery ticket to keep them interested. Small incentives can work wonders. UncommonGoods has kept customers engaged by offering discounts on premium shipping. They have found that customers are thrilled to save a few dollars on shipping, which is enough to keep them subscribed.

Failing to Initiate Engagement by Making the Customer Participate in the Process

Email marketing is usually very passive. The marketer sends an email and customers read it. It is very easy to begin tuning out emails that don’t require the readers to participate in any meaningful way.

A lot of brands have started changing things up. Bonobos has one of the best email marketing strategies of any brand. One of the biggest reasons their strategy surpasses competitors is that they prompt customers to take action. They often have emails that ask customers to fill out surveys about their clothing choices or answer questions to help them come up with their dream wardrobe.

Avoid Sending Messages for the Sake of It

One of my old roommates used to have an email list to promote his video transcribing business. The problem was he used his list as a soapbox for completely unrelated things. He talked about animal rights activism, vegan recipes and political developments overseas. I stopped reading his emails after a while. Apparently, a lot of his other subscribers did as well, because he noticed his engagement rate plummeted after he started sending irrelevant messages to his readers.

This is an extreme example of a mistake most email marketers make. You need to engage with your subscribers on a regular basis. However, you should only send messages when you have something meaningful to say.

Make sure your emails are relevant to the interests of your subscribers.

Personalize, But Don’t Be Creepy

Personalization is a good thing. Email automation tools, such as Campaign Monitor, give marketers the ability to aggregate customer information. By connecting disparate systems like Salesforce CRM and Shopify eCommerce, marketers can personalize email messages based on information such as geo-location, age, gender and transactional history. For example, let’s say you’re an online jewelry retailer and want to send a discount offer to customers for a female bracelet product line. Segmenting your list by all customer who are female and have purchased a bracelet over the past 12 months, you can send more targeted offers that increase your email engagement and conversion rates.

It is a good idea to begin every email by using your subscriber’s name. You may want to use it one other time in the body of your content if it makes sense. However, many marketers have started using their subscribers’ names too much, which makes their messages seem less natural.

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