If you think email is a thing of the past, think again.

Seriously, look at the tabs you currently have open on your browser. Chances are, you probably have at LEAST one email account running at all times. When you purchase a product, you get an email confirmation. When you switch to paperless billing, they get routed to your inbox. Email gets a bad rap sometimes, but it is one of the most direct methods of communication you have with your customer base.

While email marketing can ensure that your company messaging at least gets in your customer’s inbox, you still need to realize that it will be competing with dozens (maybe hundreds) of other company newsletters, personal messages and other emails. However, with some strategy and planning, you can increase your chances of that message getting noticed.

 

Here are 4 ways to amp up your email marketing campaigns to increase engagement:

 

1. Make sure you have a solid email list

You may have the most beautiful emails in the world, but it won’t matter if you don’t have anyone to open them. Before you can build out your email marketing strategy, make sure you have a robust email list containing your target audience. Place an online sign-up form on relevant pages on your website and give your customers the chance to opt in to your email list. This way, you can make sure your emails are being sent to qualified leads, rather than just spamming anyone whose purchased from you in the past 10 years.

 

2. Time out your campaigns

Remember the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?” Too much email messaging can kind of have the same effect on your customers. Except, you know, you’ll probably just see a lot of unsubscribes instead of being some wolf’s lunch. All storytime analogies aside, even the most loyal of customers will stop reading your messages if you’re always promising “the biggest sale ever” or “a deal you won’t want to miss.” Make sure that you’re balancing general messages with more hyped-up sales and events.

 

3. Harness the power of A/B testing

If you use an email marketing platform like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you can use their A/B testing function to figure out what emails your customers like best. This feature allows you to send two different emails to a subset of your customers (usually 20 percent of your list), and then send the rest of your list the email that gets more clicks or opens. You can test several parts of your emails, from subject lines to send times and even entire templates. Through testing, you can figure out what gets your customers to open your emails and act on what’s inside.

 

4. Provide an incentive to open the email

This incentive doesn’t necessarily need to be a deal or a freebie (although they rock). Customers will open emails if they think they can benefit from it in some other way, like learning a new marketing strategy or connecting with someone in your company who can assist a certain need they have. Before you fire off an email campaign, put yourself in your customers shoes to make sure your content will give them a reason to engage with you.

 

It can take some time to build a successful email marketing routine, so don’t be discouraged if your click-thru rate doesn’t immediately sail through the roof. However, these tips will help you steadily gain the trust of your audience so that they appreciate the content they receive from you.

 

email marketing engagementEva McKnight is the public relations specialist at Formstack. She manages Formstack’s social media accounts and media presence. When she’s not bragging about the awesome ways to use online forms, you can find her taking too many pictures of her cat or trying to avoid cooking.

 

 

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