Simple Ways to Increase Email Marketing Engagement

Simple Ways to Increase Email Marketing Engagement

Once your email has been sent and has made its way through filtering and authentication, it finally lands in your recipient’s inbox. What happens next will depend on your emails overall content and design. Will the subject line be interesting enough to open? Once opened will it inspire the recipient to read it from top to bottom? Will the content be powerful enough to click on the CTA? It all depends on how relevant and engaging your message is to your client.

What is Email Engagement?

Email engagement is how recipients interact with your email. In a perfect world, your email’s engagement algorithm looks like this: your recipient opens the email, reads all of it, clicks a link and follows a CTA thus, performing the desired action that the email was written for.

Unfortunately, many emails suffer client losses during one of these steps. Some don’t want to read a long bulky email, some will lose patience if your images take a long time to load, some may not find the CTA inspiring to clock on, and so on.

To understand how many recipients interact with the email and at what stage they lose interest, we use engagement metrics to look at the data, analyze it and apply it to our next outgoing email.

How to Measure Engagement?

Engagement metrics: open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate

The most important engagement metrics to look at after sending an email are as follows:

  • Open Rate – The percentage of people who opened the email over the overall amount of emails sent. To calculate the open rate, only unique opens are included meaning that if one person opens an email multiple times, only the first open will be taken into account.
  • Click-Through Rate – The percentage of people who clicked on the link in the email over the overall amount of emails sent.
  • Conversion Rate – The percentage of people who accomplished the desired action (subscribed, bought a product/service, etc) over the total number of opened emails.

To increase email engagement you should strive to provide the content that works best for your target audience. The best way to come up with effective content is to test different versions of your email with your recipients.

Read more: Understanding Deliverability Metrics

Use A/B Content Testing

A/B testing (or split testing) is a great and somewhat underestimated tool in email marketing. When you conduct a split test, you send out an email with two different content versions or an email with two different subject lines, CTAs, etc. They are delivered randomly to different halves of your recipient list. After that, an analysis takes place to see which version performed better and had higher engagement with recipients.

How A/B testing works

Benefits of Split Testing:

  • Email campaign optimization
  • Data from real recipients
  • Email improvement before the campaign will start
  • Better email engagement level
  • Higher conversion rate

Just by using A/B testing companies can shed light on their customer’s preferences, the effectiveness of their email design and content, and minimize the risk of launching a high stakes campaign.

Analyze Email Campaigns Over Time

If you don’t understand what your audience likes every email campaign sent will be a random hit or a miss. To mitigate this risk apart from testing and comparing campaigns before sending, it’s important to book time to analyze the work you have already accomplished.

Comparing subject lines, templates, click-through rates, conversions and the content types that got you the most open rates will give you a precise understanding of how to build your next campaign and what practices won’t work for your target audience.

Here we’ve outlined some simple tricks that can increase your email engagement in no time.

Email Template Rules

Today brands have to fight for customer attention like never before. While everyone tries to use bright, fancy, and complex templates it’s important to think first, is this what really works best for my subscribers?

For starters, here are some ground rules for designing email newsletters that should be followed at all times:

  1. Follow CAN-SPAM Rules. They require all email newsletters to provide an unsubscribe button as well as information about your brand. The footer of your email is a perfect place for this information.
  2. Don’t Overload on Images. While images are great for creating a visually pleasing and engaging email,it’s important not to overdo it. Too many oversized images will be distracting for the reader, will make your copy heavier and take longer to load; some people actually view their emails with the images turned off.
  3. Add Alt Text for Images. To preemptively combat email situations with a broken image or a turned-off-image mode, it is recommended to add alt text below every image that describes the image or what is written on the image if there is text on it. In this case, recipients will get the information you provide even without seeing the visuals.
  4. Use Responsive Design. This is a template design that automatically adjusts the format according to the device that is being used to read the email. It’s important to take into account the fact that more people use mobile devices to read emails and it won’t do your campaign any good if your message looks funny on a phone or a tablet.
  5. Test Different Email Lengths. As a best practice, it is recommended to keep your email newsletters nice and short. In this situation, however, testing is the best way to find out what email length works best for your particular target audience.
  6. Add an email signature. Thinking of how to sign your business emails? Use a professional email signature to increased brand awareness and build trust with your recipients. Also, it is a perfect way to promote your products and services in every email you send.

Why Simple Templates Increase Engagement

Sometimes it’s easy to lose the focus of an email because we really want our message to stand out in the inbox of our recipients. What actually creates the value in your email? Is it the logo? The layout? The answer of course is the content. Complex layouts, logos and showy backgrounds can make too much noise and make it harder for the reader to grasp the message behind all of the fluff. Rather than investing in fancy templates, invest in human relationships with your recipients.

Benefits of a Simple Template:

  • Authentic and personal
  • Engaging
  • Straight to the point
  • No distractions

Simplifying an email template can increase email engagement up to 29%. To see that it really works, create two copies of your outgoing email with the same text but different templates and run a split test. You will be surprised by the results!

Why GIFs Increase Engagement

Once you strip down your email from all the needless noise, spice it up with GIFs. Skeptical about using GIFs in email marketing? Many internationally known companies including Nike and Netflix do it all the time. Split testing shows that using GIFs can improve your email engagement up to 40%.

Benefits of Using GIFs:

  • Grab attention. Nothing grabs attention like a moving picture.
  • Supported by Major Email Providers. Embedded videos are impossible to use in emails so GIFs bring a video-like experience into your email marketing campaign.
  • Highlight Important Parts of your Message. It’s easy to put emphasis on a phrase or paragraph with an appropriate animation to bring the readers attention to a specific point that you’re making.
  • Bring Out Emotions. Just like how a short video can elicit an emotional response in a viewer, so can a well designed GIF animation.

GlockApps has also increased engagement using GIFs with our new email inbox expert – Gappie. He instantly notifies you about any changes or malicious influences impacting your email campaign through Telegram or Slack and routinely checks your domain, IP, authentications, and much more!

GlockApps' GappieBot bringing the email

You can find GIFs for your emails on the web, but we would recommend investing some time and making your own customized animated images. A great booster for email engagement, GIFs are fun, attention-grabbing and easy-to-add into your next campaign. Just make sure that GIFs are optimized in size and are not offensive to anyone in your target audience.

To sum it up, remember to measure your engagement. Use split testing to find out the preferences of your target audience and analyze your email campaigns over time.

To easily find, access, and analyze information from your email marketing campaigns, use nomenclature (also known as a naming convention).

Moreover, don’t forget about two simple ways to engage your recipients even more – simple templates (instead of noisy complex ones), and GIFs to delight your clients and grab their attention.



Julia Gulevich is an email marketing expert and customer support professional at GlockSoft LLC with more than 15 years of experience. Author of numerous blog posts, publications, and articles about email marketing and deliverability.