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5 ways to keep email engagement high
6 min read

5 ways to keep email engagement high

5 ways to keep email engagement high

Sending out emails to your subscribers shouldn’t feel like rocket science. Email service providers offer intuitive platforms for creating and delivering campaigns, something that contributes to a good experience for recipients. But users can only follow so many newsletters at the same time and you will want to be among the emails that they decide to read and interact with. Besides making sure that you understand what subscribers want to get out of your emails and following best practices when scheduling campaigns, you might also want to look into what you can do to increase open and click rates, keep your email list clean and fresh and prevent users from unsubscribing.

How to improve email engagement

To help you increase the engagement of your emails, we have put together a list of 5 tactics aimed at making emails more appealing. Some of these suggestions are extremely easy to implement, while others will need to be planned out in advance or will require third-party applications to get the job done. Let’s get started!

1. Pay close attention to the subject line

The email inbox can become a crowded place very fast. Generic and boring subject lines will most definitely mean that your subscribers will not even notice they have received an email from you. After not opening your newsletters for a longer period, the chance of them unsubscribing is growing exponentially. Depending on how often you send out emails, that could be a matter of days, weeks or months, but it will eventually happen. You want to avoid delivering such a bad or average experience to your subscribers that they won’t see any reason to remain in your list.

To stand out in the inbox, always pay attention to the subject line. If you feel like the subject lines you come up with are bland and uninteresting, here’s what you need to know. Subject lines are the soul of your email. Never use something like Weekly newsletter or Our promotions or April updates. These are so clearly bad examples that nobody should ever use them.

Good subject lines improve email open rate

Okay, but how do you know what a good subject line looks like? Here are three aspects you need to take into consideration. First, keep it relevant. Always start with your value proposition. You know why people have subscribed to your list. Make sure you constantly deliver the most relevant information in your newsletter. Then make sure you sell it well in just a few words, in your subject line. That takes us to our second aspect: be timely. Sure, you might have the most relevant content for your recipients, but ask yourself if your timing is spot on. Use events and seasons in your subject line to increase email engagement. Last but not least, always find a hook and use it. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and try to imagine what will grab their attention. Use emojis, test single-word subject lines, include numbers or lists.

2. Keep your email list clean with email validation

One thing that is most often overlooked when analyzing email metrics and results is how stale the list has become over time. People subscribe using disposable email addresses, they change jobs and lose access to their work email accounts, they switch accounts. That means that those subscribers won’t receive your emails and therefore drag your engagement metrics down.

But what does email verification even mean? Email verification services like DataValidation are solutions that analyze email lists to sort valid, active subscribers from invalid subscribers that you should segment out of your campaign. DataValidation, for example, offers a free report for each list that you upload or import via one of our native integrations. From that free report you can actually tell how many contacts are in each category. You can sign up for an account and test out the service. If you have never cleaned up your email list, this is something that you should strongly consider. Invalid contacts are doing damage not only to your email engagement, but they can also hurt your email deliverability, something that could lead to losing your ESP account, like MailChimp or HubSpot.

Email list monitoring service

DataValidation also provides the option to monitor email lists of up to 500,000 contacts for free, on a monthly or weekly basis, with the help of AutoPilot. Claim your free account now and keep your email lists clean and fresh.

3. Address persons, not just lists

While email offers the best ROI out of all channels for most businesses, it shouldn’t be seen as just sales oriented. Because when companies do that, they risk not seeing the people that they are actually taking to. In general, email is a tool to deliver the same message to multiple customers. But with the help of personalization, businesses can now stop selling and start engaging with their audiences.

Personalization is key

Personalization means using information you already know about your contacts to talk to them on a one-to-one level. It’s not just about including their name in the intro of your emails or in subject lines. Personalization means that you can make your emails more relevant and more useful. E-commerce stores are the best example of using the information customers provide to start developing a more serious relationship. You buy a new laptop and a couple of days later they send out an email suggesting an optical mouse that you might also be interested in. Summer is approaching and they send you an email with bathing suits that match your size.

But personalization works well outside of e-commerce too. B2B companies can segment lists and personalize messages based on job titles, industry or company size, for example. SaaS businesses can use personalization for automated drip campaigns, to increase the engagement of those emails.

4. Get to the point

An email that you deliver to your subscribers shouldn’t feel like a chore. Yeah, you probably want to keep them updated with everything, but that just creates a sense of overwhelm, something that users don’t have time for. To increase email engagement, it is vital to make the experience as smooth as possible. Make what you want to achieve clear. Use efficient call-to-actions to encourage recipients to further engage with your email, website, app, whatever the case is. If your ESP allows it, consider using buttons for your CTAs.

It’s not just the content

Another important aspect that you will need to pay attention to is the look and feel of your email. Avoid crowded newsletters, avoid using a lot of images, because they may not be displayed correctly by all email clients. Instead, use background colors to distinguish sections and place buttons on each distinctive section. That way, users will quickly understand what they can get out of your email.

Offer value

Anytime you work on an email campaign, ask yourself what is the value you will deliver. Are you offering a promotion, a discount? Is content at the heart of your inbound marketing strategy? What can the user extract from your newsletter and how will they benefit? When you have the answer to these important questions you will know how to frame the email so that subscribers can also see the value in opening, reading and engaging.

5. Start categorizing your emails

Businesses big and small have understood the value of maintaining a healthy and ongoing communication with clients, either for transparency reasons or for improving their bottom line. But this situation has created a problem of its own. There are too many emails sent out to subscribers, which can, in turn, saturate them to the point where unsubscribing seems like the only valid option.

Let users choose

One thing you can do is to implement multiple email categories and give your subscribers the tools to decide what they want to receive in their inbox. The easiest solution is to create broad categories, such as News, Promotions, Content. That way, if a user is no longer interested in your content but still wants to remain informed about your discounts or promotions, they will be able to choose.

Another alternative is to allow users to decide how often to receive your emails. When creating your subscription form, consider including an option for frequency. Daily, weekly, monthly emails are a good way to still capture prospects that otherwise might not subscribe.

Being in control over either the type of email they receive or the frequency with which they are contacted enables recipients to express their preferences. Happy subscribers means a higher engagement rate.


Let’s go over the tips and tricks for improving email engagement:

  1. Make your subject line relevant to your audience, timely and place a hook to help it stand out
  2. Use an email list cleaner, like DataValidation, to keep your list fresh and remove bad contacts
  3. View your subscribers as individuals and use personalization to address them as such
  4. Keep your email short and clear and make sure you get your point across by using call to actions
  5. Use email categories or allow subscribers to choose how often you can contact them

Email engagement is of utmost importance. Follow these tips and tricks to achieve a higher engagement and keep your subscribers happy.