See the secrets that make our website perform so well and apply them to your own.


5 Tips to Increase Email Engagement


Young girl use computer laptop on wooden table of brown to working online, email on screen

There’s a reason motivational speakers are so successful. They’re engaging. The audience feels like they’re part of the experience, not just listening to someone talk. They identify with the messages and feel emboldened to take control of their problems. The speaker has solutions, and he’s excited about sharing them. 

You can’t send strobe lights, confetti cannons, and hype music through email, but you can make your emails feel like a motivational speech. When you start tapping into what people want to hear and say it in a way that resonates with them, you’ll see more people than ever engaging with your email campaigns.

Let’s take a look at how you can increase email engagement.

1.) Write A Great Subject Line

Smiling young female entrepreneur working at her kitchen table

The subject line is your email’s handshake. It’s the first impression recipients have, so you want to make it a good one. A great subject line can significantly boost your open rates. In fact, research shows 47% of people open an email based on the subject line alone.

To create an attractive subject line, your email marketing strategy should focus on targeting people’s natural tendencies. We all like to be part of a group, feel like we know what’s going on and (most importantly) we all like to feel special. A few types of email subject lines that can speak to these desires include:

  • FOMO (fear of missing out). These subject lines create a sense of urgency that tells people “It’s now or never.” It could remind them of a deadline on special incentives, the discontinuation of a popular product, or a new master class registration. You don’t want to scare your email subscribers, but it’s okay to be direct. Something like “It’s almost gone!” or “Time’s Up!” are perfectly effective.
  • Curiosity builders. These emails are great for increasing email open rates. They pique someone’s interest enough to open the email and see what’s inside. You might use surprising facts or a question like “Did you know you don’t need fancy creams to regrow your hair?” 
  • Personalized. This subject line should give your customers a warm and fuzzy feeling. It leaves them thinking, “Wow, they really know me!” You can tailor these lines by adding someone’s name, including products you know a person is interested in, or address a specific problem they’re facing.
  • Humor. You’d be surprised how much humor can help your engagement metrics. People love to laugh, so use your subject line to introduce a joke. If we got an email with the subject, “A horse walks into a bar,” we know we’d open it to see what happens! Sprinkling some humor into your email marketing is a great way to establish your brand as a pick-me-up in someone’s day, which makes them excited to read your messages.
  • Pain points. This is usually the most straightforward subject line. You want to directly address the problem your customer is struggling with so they know you have an answer in your email. This creates a direct connection between them and your brand. It’s a great format to use directly, but remember that you can also weave pain points into the other types of subject lines as well.

Think about the last subject line that convinced you to open an email. Did it appeal to any of these parts of your human nature? 

2.) Use List Segmentation

Email lists can quickly get out of hand. You might have new subscribers mixed in with long-time customers or people in different parts of your sales funnel all living in the same spreadsheet. Just because all of your contact data is in one place, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re marketing to them effectively.

List segmentation is a way to group your contacts by common characteristics. It shows you who they are, what they want, and how they ended up on your brand’s doorstep. This information can help you create relevant content that directly addresses where they are in their buyer’s journey.

You can create contact lists based on demographics, buyer personas, or even geographic location. Once you can see who fits into which bucket, you can start speaking directly to their needs. For example, some people might not be ready to use a coupon or discount code but they would love more information about a specific product. Meanwhile, others are familiar with your brand but not sure which of your products would better suit their needs. 

The more directly you can speak to individual customers, the more likely you are to increase your email engagement rate (and your conversion rates too).

List segmentation also helps with organizing your contact database. You can remove cold contacts or people who unsubscribe, see who recently received a welcome email and was enrolled in a nurture series and even check who hasn’t been contacted in a while.

3.) Include Social Proof

Customer review good rating concept hand pressing five star on visual screen and positive customer feedback testimonial

If your friend forwarded you an email, would you open it? Probably! Don’t worry, there’s no judgment here. Social proof is an incredibly powerful tool, which is why you should leverage it to boost email engagement.

People trust other consumers more than they trust your brand, no matter how long they’ve been with you. So instead of pouring excess energy into your digital marketing, let your customers do the work! Nearly 70% of online customers look at product reviews before they buy something, and testimonials are more trusted than product descriptions. 

Let’s give the people what they want! Include social proof in your email to encourage customers that your product or service really is worth the cost. This doesn’t have to be lengthy case studies. It could be a scrolling gallery of customer testimonials or screenshots of positive social media comments. 

Any snippet of customer praise can help convince leads you really do have the answer. And once they believe in your brand, you’ll notice your email click-through rates and customer conversions start to increase.

4.) Opt for Automation

Woman hand using keyboard laptop in outdoor nature park background with email icon flying abstract. Technology business and freelance working concept. Vintage tone filter effect color style.

I’m not one to suggest total automation, but I can vouch for its usefulness when it comes to email marketing campaigns. (See what I did there? Some social proof.) 

Automation helps you free up your team for more important tasks than constantly sending emails to subscribers. You won’t be scheduling emails in Gmail once a week, though. It’s a bit more complex than that. You’ll need a CRM with some email automation capabilities. For small businesses who don’t want to invest in a CRM subscription, here’s a list of free CRM software that can help with email marketing.

Once you have a system and are ready to get automating, you’ll want to outline the workflows for the type of emails or campaigns that will launch based on specific customer triggers. For example, when someone subscribes to your email list, they might get a welcome email right away and be enrolled in your new subscriber nurture series.

You can decide the number of emails in each workflow, the frequency at which they’re sent, and even set criteria that would move a customer into a new email series. For example, if they’re enrolled in a series about a webinar you’re holding next month and they enroll in it, your CRM can automatically move them into a “Here’s what we talked about” series or a “Please give some feedback” series after the event. 

Automation is great for optimizing email campaigns and promoting engagement because you time everything just right. You won’t be flooding people’s inbox with information but you won’t be a ghost either. Automation helps you stay top of mind without being a bother and consistently reinforces that you have a solution to customers’ problems.

5.) Be Fun!

Don’t focus on being a BBB (Boring Brand that’s all Business). Let your personality shine through in your email marketing! Show your customers that you’re part of their tribe and you understand their unique situation. Be someone your target audience wants to be friends with. 

Remember that emails going to someone’s personal inbox can be informal. Ditch the corporate lingo in favor of a relatable tone and terminology. Share some personal details or experiences that you know will resonate with your audience and show you’ve experienced the same problem. Maybe that was the whole reason you started your company in the first place.

Use jokes or funny comparisons to demonstrate your wit and whimsy. Humor works in more than just the subject line and really helps to give your brand personality, which will set you apart from the competition. 

Above all, talk to them like you would your friends. Let your emails be a conversation about this cool thing you think they should try and end it with an invite to lunch (otherwise known as your CTA).

So that’s that! From a handshake to a lunch date, these five steps are your template to boost email engagement, secure higher open rates and start converting more leads through your email marketing.

If you’re still not quite sure how to start implementing these ideas, don’t worry. At Hughes Integrated, we love helping our clients create targeted email campaigns that promote brand growth. Schedule a call today to see how we can help you boost your email engagement with these tips and more!

Subscribe to the Hughes Integrated Blog
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Post

Launching a Brand Part 6: How to Use Marketing Analytics to Grow Your Business

Launching a Brand Part 5: Creating a Blog Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Launching a Brand Part 4: How Social Media Helps Small Businesses

Subscribe to the Hughes Integrated Blog

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent posts