September 25, 2018

Boost Engagement with these 6 Targeted Email Marketing Techniques

Reading time about 5 min

Implementing targeted email marketing techniques is the best way to increase reader engagement and drive sales for your business.

The secret to any great email marketing campaign is subscriber engagement, however convincing recipients to interact with your emails is no easy task. You must strategically plan to build the trust and interest needed to drive subscriber action with every correspondence you send.

Email engagement can be an elusive beast, but you can tame this not-so-mythical creature using these six steps:

1. Segmentation

The best way to encourage email engagement is to send subscribers emails that they can’t help but to open, consume, and act on. This means sending appealing offers and the type of content that users find interesting and informative.
However, with email marketing one-size definitely does not fit all! What one person finds riveting another may find boring. The only way to ensure that you’re providing open-worthy emails is to target content to subscribers based on similar characteristics, interests, or preferences.

Segmenting your email list provides the basis for targeting emails to specific subscriber groups. Email segmentation can occur across a variety of different factors from gender preference and marital status to past purchase behavior and engagement patterns.

Just remember that the criteria you use to segment users must be actionable. For instance, it doesn’t help you to separate dog owners from non-dog owners if there isn’t any difference in how you’ll market to them. Focus on specific criteria that can influence your marketing efforts like customers who only shop seasonally versus loyal year-round shoppers.

Using marketing automation to automatically segment subscribers based on certain criteria takes the work out of segmentation while providing a solid foundation for organizing your email engagement strategy.

If you have the ability for users to set preferences at the time of signup, this is another great way to segment subscribers without requiring any additional work. Allowing subscribers to self-select into specific types of communications or frequency of emails provides guidance on what they’ll find appealing and how often they want to hear from you. You can use these preferences as a sort of instruction manual on how to reach different consumer segments.

2. Consistently Provide Value

It’s a known fact that subscribers are more likely to engage with content that they’re expecting to receive. This is one reason holiday-related promotional emails have such high open rates – shoppers are waiting to receive deals in their inboxes and are on the lookout for them as soon as Thanksgiving rolls around.

The same logic applies for email newsletters that regularly provide readers with content that is valuable and interesting.

Consistent sending gives subscribers a chance to anticipate your emails, resulting in better engagement and lower unsubscribe rates. Alternatively, inconsistent sending catches subscribers off guard, which can reduce engagement and damage sender reputation. In extreme cases, it can also negatively affect overall brand perception.

Think about it like this… When people sign-up for your emails, they’re looking for something. By accepting their email addresses, you’re making a promise to regularly deliver valuable content to fulfill whatever need they have. Not sending a signup confirmation email and subsequent communications regularly breaks that promise, which isn’t going to make your brand look very professional.

When you do send emails, ensure that they add something to the conversation. Provide the content your audience wants to receive, like promotional offers, announcements, helpful resources, advice, and so on. Give recipients something to look forward to!

3. Abandoned Cart Follow-Up

Shoppers abandon shopping carts for all sorts of reasons! Some people may be taken off guard by the price of shipping or experience purchase anxiety before clicking the “submit order” button. Others may have been interrupted by children, parents, or a boss stopping by their cube. Whatever the barrier, it can often be overcome with a well-timed abandoned cart email.

Extending a special offer to entice shoppers to come back and finish their purchases increases engagement while also boosting conversion rates. Promotional offers like free shipping or a percent off total purchase are sure to convince people to continue shopping.

Providing helpful information like delivery estimates and satisfaction guarantees is another way to re-engage with shoppers and encourage them to complete their order.

4. Animated GIFs

People love animated GIFs even more than they love cute animal pictures (and animated cute animal GIFs? Pure gold!).

Using an animated GIF is a great way to help your emails stand out from the competition.

The dynamic format is a wonderful way to showcase products in action and increase excitement in a way that looks very polished and professional. The result is higher engagement and improved overall brand perception.

5. Test Different Subject Lines and Preheaders

Some email subject lines and email preheaders just resonate more effectively with people. Testing them allows you to home in on what works best for your target audience.

Just like preview text and call-to-action buttons, A/B testing your subject lines provides the data you need to find subject lines that compel subscribers to engage with your emails. Including offers, immediacy, exclusivity, and even emojis will make your emails stand out in subscribers inboxes, increasing open rates and click-throughs.

Over time you can use the data you collect to identify trends in what works best with your audience. Certain words or phrases may just tend to perform better overall. In other instances, personalization may be the key to reaching your audience. You never know until you start testing subject lines regularly and collecting data!

Bonus Tip: You can take this tactic one step further by testing different design styles and CTA placement within your emails. Anything that you can do to improve the engagement that you receive from your contacts is worth trying — and you might be surprised how much of a difference one small change can make! If you’re not sure where to start, try looking at newsletter design examples or downloading an HTML newsletter template to get a jumpstart on different design styles and layouts.

6. Re-Opt-In Campaign

Sometimes the best way to improve engagement is by removing the people who are less likely to engage. Periodically asking subscribers to re-opt into emails allows you to remove subscribers who have lost interest.

It also provides a basis for re-engaging subscribers that may have forgotten about your company. After they’ve confirmed their interest in your emails, they’ll expect to hear more from you and possibly even be rewarded with a special offer. Use this opportunity as a jumping off platform to launch a re-engagement campaign using some of the tips outlined above.

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