Strategies for Boosting Engagement in a Changing Email Landscape
Engagement has been a hot email marketing topic in 2011, primarily due to the way the inbox is changing how subscribers interact with brands. Email engagement can be portrayed in a number of ways, but an engaged subscriber is best defined as an email recipient that's opened, clicked or otherwise engaged with an email within the last six months. Some brands define engagement more conservatively, categorizing subscribers with no activity over three months as unengaged, while still others have developed more sophisticated formulas.
Look no further than Gmail to get a clear understanding of why engagement is critical to an email program. Gmail’s Priority Inbox automatically sorts and prioritizes messages based on the subscriber’s engagement level with individual brand messages over time. Those messages a subscriber opens and engages with are automatically moved to the top of the inbox into a section titled “Important and Unread,” while the balance of the messages are placed in a bottom section called “Everything Else.”
Gmail is at the leading edge of a trend now seen at MSN Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, which are now using engagement tracking to filter email at the subscriber level. While the changes to the inbox have yet to influence email campaign performance in a material way, marketers need to focus on strategies that drive engagement to avoid issues in the future.
Develop Email Creative That Drives Engagement
Most email subscribers have grown accustomed to offers and discounts being delivered via email. The vast majority of promotional email streams shamelessly stress the offer as the reason to engage with the brand.
Uncommon Goods leverages its unique approach to email creative to drive recipients to take action. In October, the brand delivered a Halloween-themed promotional email that depicted six doors, each with the front end of a knock-knock joke beneath it. In order to get the answer, the recipient needed to click to open the door. Not only did the recipient get the humorous conclusion to the knock-knock joke, but they were also presented with Halloween-themed merchandise for their trouble. Remember, subscribers like to be entertained, which is an excellent way to drive re-engagement.