25 Email Marketing Tips to Get Your Customers Engaged

Email Marketing Tips to Get Your Customers Engaged

Email Marketing Tips to Get Your Customers Engaged

Whether you run a business that is B2B, B2C or a non-profit, email marketing still seems to the most powerful way to communicate with your customers.

We set out to ask some of the best marketers what their counter intuitive tips are for using email to get customers responding. They were nice enough to share with us their ideas.

If you like these tips, please use the share buttons to give our contributors some love.


  1. Keep it short
  2. Before writing your next marketing email, ask yourself, “What do you want to get out of this email? – @BigCommerce

    By Allie Lockhart, Public Relations at Bigcommerce

    According to a recent study, the attention span of an average adult is 8 seconds. Keeping your email marketing short, sweet, and to the point will help you focus on both your goals and those of your customers. Before you start writing your next marketing email, ask yourself, “What do you want to get out of this email? What do you want your customer to get out of the email?” Knowing this will help you get straight to the point. It will also help you draft a clear Call to Action (CTA) that helps guide the recipients towards what you want them to do, whether it’s reading you educational information, starting a trial, or taking advantage of any other offer you may be including.


  3. The most important part of any email is the subject line
  4. If you’re featuring a resource, make the clear in the subject line – @RtMixMktg

    By Tom Treanor, Director of Marketing at Wrike

    Use numbered lists in the subject line. Just as people love numbered lists for blog posts and social media, people will be more like to open an email that provides “3 Secrets”, “10 Resources” or “5 Steps”.

    If you’re featuring a resource, make the clear in the subject line. For a webinar or a guide, I usually call it out in brackets like the following: 5 Step Process to Improving Team Productivity [Webinar].

    If you’re featuring a resource, make the clear in the subject line – @Tom_Treanor

    This clearly explains what’s in the email and also makes it stand out from most of the other emails.

    Start to A/B test your headlines. Most email marketing or marketing automation systems include a way to test out two or more versions of a headline. Start to take advantage of this capability to boost your email open rates.


  5. Straight-forward, non-sexy subject lines can be very successful
  6. By Ian Greenleigh, Author of “The Social Media Side Door

    One insight that surprised me is that straight-forward, non-sexy subject lines can be very successful – @be3d

    Some of the best and most counter-intuitive email data comes from MailChimp. For example, open rates are negatively affected by the words help, percent off, and reminder. One insight that frankly surprised me is that straight-forward, non-sexy subject lines can be very successful. I wouldn’t have thought that [COMPANYNAME] Sales & Marketing Newsletter was a winner, but in their study it received between a 60% – 87% open rate.


  7. Baby Boomers want a clean and simple subject line
  8. Be simple and classic and think about what your target audience wants to read – @Freuler

    By Patrick Freuler, Founder/CEO of Audicus

    While today’s trends seem to be sending open ended email subject lines to intrigue the reader, this only works with certain demographics. Email marketing to baby boomers is unique in its field. Consider including clean and simple subject lines. When an email appears in someone’s inbox, the subject line is the first thing they see. Be simple and classic and think about what your target audience wants to read.


  9. Use subject lines like text messages
  10. By LisaMarie Dias, Social Media and Email Marketing Strategy for LisaMarie Dias Designs

    Many email marketing ‘experts’ suggest short, catchy subject lines but I recommend longer ones – @LisaMarieDias

    I know that many email marketing ‘experts’ suggest short, catchy subject lines but I recommend longer ones, especially when sending event announcements or reminders. Something like ‘Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile Webinar June 6 @ noon (ET)’ will serve as an announcement or reminder, even if they don’t click thru to see the entire email. It is a way to send a message, like a text to them via their inbox. Even if they delete, without opening, hopefully the info is seen and registers!


  11. Imagine your email as a mini webpage
  12. By Michael Erwin, Web Designer at Cloudsmith Studio

    Imagine every marketing email that you send is like a mini webpage – @MisterMichael

    It’s easy to think of email marketing as just some text. Instead, imagine every marketing email that you send is like a mini webpage.

    The purpose of the message should be immediately obvious. Don’t ramble through 500 words before the reader knows what you are saying. The message title and image should be clear indications of your intent. The message must look great on a wide variety of devices or in other words, be designed responsively. It is just as likely that the reader will be using a smartphone as it is a desktop.

    And just like any good marketing web page, there should be one clear call to action within the message.


  13. Use customer logic, not company logic
  14. You really need to put yourself in the mind of your customer when crafting your emails – @BryanMclayton

    By Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal

    The biggest mistake I see is entrepreneurs writing their emails using company logic as opposed to customer logic. You really need to put yourself in the mind of your customer when crafting your emails. Run your email copy by friends and strangers. Get a feedback, because its so challenging to get out of your own skin.


  15. E-newsletter goes to PEOPLE, not businesses, so make it highly personal
  16. By Emily Staley, Media Specialist at Boileau Communications Management

    The e-newsletter goes to PEOPLE, not businesses, and we want to make a personal connection with our clients.

    Showcase your product or service with something timely and relevant to your customers. Example: We wanted to show our video production chops, so around Christmas time we produced an original Christmas video card instead of the traditional mail types. Link to our video Christmas Card here.

    Make the e-newsletter highly personal. We poke fun at industry trends and feature favorite clients. The e-newsletter goes to PEOPLE, not businesses, and we want to make a personal connection with our clients.


  17. Try a short sentence
  18. I’ve used the 9 word email in my marketing and get a great response – @BrianStefanelli

    By Brian Stefanelli, Co-Founder of WeDoPortfolios.com

    I’ve used the 9 word email in my marketing and get a great response. These have lead to several signups for our web design service. Here’s an example of one: “Still looking for a web designer for your interior design business?” This technique tends to work best when following up with leads.


  19. Use a digest in your emails
  20. Consider listing 3-4 different topics discussed to give readers more options to click – @MichaelJuba

    By Mike Juba, Content Marketing Specialist at EZSolution

    Consider listing 3-4 different topics discussed to give readers more options to click, along with a visual and call to action button. Our click throughs have increased from readers having the option to what they want to read, instead of how it used to be a one topic email.


  21. Remove as much design and styling from your email newsletter as possible
  22. Send real emails as part of your newsletter campaigns, and you’ll experience higher engagement – @UsabilityGuyPGH

    By John Turner, CEO of UsersThink

    The actually important emails we receive are normally from one person to another, often just typed in a browser or phone app. They have very little format to them, and look like someone just typed into a mail app.

    That’s how your newsletters should look too. They should look like one person emailing another person, not a prepackaged piece of marketing material. It feels counterintuitive, but we all emotionally filter out the marketing emails from the real ones. Send real emails as part of your newsletter campaigns, and you’ll experience higher engagement.


  23. Don’t overuse images in your newsletter
  24. Emails should be sensibly balanced with at least two lines of text per picture – @PaulFord

    By Paul Ford, VP of Product & Marketing at SendGrid

    Marketers are often tempted to go big on visuals, but forget that they increase the risk of emails being classified as spam. If images are unavoidable, emails should be sensibly balanced with at least two lines of text per picture.


  25. Do not market your content by using the title of your content
  26. Do not use the content’s headline in the newsletter – @Brentrt

    By Brent Turner, SVP, Solutions, Cramer

    If you are using your newsletter to promote content on your site (like a blog post) do not use the content’s headline in the newsletter. For example, the headline on your blog post should set up the story on that page. The headline in your newsletter needs to market your piece. Digital-first media publishers are now doing this more and more (see Mashable, MIT Technology Review, Upworthy), but marketers rarely think to do this.

    Before you send a newsletter, test your copy quickly and easily on social media – @Brentrt

    Before you send, test your copy quickly and easily on social media. Use social media to get a quick sense of how you should promote the content. For example, on Twitter, you can put our three different headlines for your content. If one takes off, go with it. You don’t need perfect tests with controls and statistical significance – just ‘testing the water’ is better than ‘taking one bite at an apple.’


  27. Use the lightest possible touch
  28. We send out an email and simply say, “We just thought you’d like to see this.” The result? Website traffic – @ExcelSportswear

    By Mary Van Tyne, Marketing Communications Manager at Excel Sportswear

    Our company designs and prints custom T-shirts and we produce hundreds of awesome designs for our customers every month. We send out an email and simply say, “We just thought you’d like to see this.” The result? Website traffic – and corresponding sales from our website – went up 30% in 2014.


  29. Split your email up into micro conversions
  30. The goal of the email is to get a click. Do not try to make or close the sale in the email – @BryanMclayton

    Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal

    The goal of the email is to get a click. Do not try to make or close the sale in the email.

    Here’s some of the features of the email:
    Subject: Just get the open
    Sub head: Peak their curiosity
    Header: Convert that curiosity into interest
    Body: Quickly point out what you’re going to do for them
    CTA (call to action): Get them to the landing page


  31. Offer something of value, but do not give any kind of sales pitch
  32. By Ian Aronovich, Co-founder and CEO at Government Auctions

    No matter how disguised your marketing pitch is, your recipients will gauge that you have an agenda – @GovtAuctions

    This is counterintuitive because most marketers will want to include a plug for their service or product ever so slight. But the truth is, no matter how disguised your marketing pitch is, email recipients will almost always gauge that you have an agenda. And when you have an agenda, they subconsciously won’t trust you. However, if you keep sending them something of value in every email, and without any pitch whatsoever, they will let their guard down and you can most likely get them to do what you want without even asking them.


  33. Be a little negative
  34. By Amanda Johnson, Marketing Manager at OutboundEngine

    Negativity is a highly underrated marketing strategy. Marketers shy away from negativity because they don’t want to run the risk of pulling a Debbie Downer on their customer base. But sometimes negative equals provocative. By putting a slightly negative angle on your content, you can reference pain points, address your customers’ fears, offer a solution to a problem.

    Negativity is a highly underrated marketing strategy – @OutboundEngine

    For example, OutboundEngine recently created an infographic for real estate agents about how to fail at real estate. At first glance it paints a doom-and-gloom picture of their business, but it’s actually a tool on how to more effectively spend their marketing dollars, not a plot to send them into a spiral of depression. As long as you end your problem-focused content with a silver lining about how to solve it, going negative is barely a risk at all. Just don’t overdo it.


  35. Your mailing list should consist of people, who are actually interested in your product
  36. By David Waring, Editor at Fit Small Business

    Make sure that the people who are signing up for your list are actually interested in your product – @DavidWaring

    Increasing your email signup conversion rate is not always a good thing. Many companies make the mistake of offering high converting free email bait on their website that does not get the prospect any closer to actually purchasing their product. In addition to your list not engaging with you, this makes it hard to figure out what the people on your list who are actually potential customers want, as your tests will be clouded by all those on your list that have no interest in your product or service.
    If you want an email list that engages and responds, start by making sure that the people who are signing up for your list are people that are actually interested in your product or service.


  37. Tell non-responsive fans you’re going to remove them from your list
  38. By Megan Feltes, Email Marketing Specialist at Rockhouse Partners

    The best “trick” I learned for re-engaging email subscribers was saying goodbye – @MeganFeltes

    Back in my sales days, the best “trick” I learned for re-engaging email subscribers was saying goodbye. It was born out of frustration. After working to get folks to sign up for information about a product, they just fell off the face of the earth and never responded to anything in our lead nurturing series. Finally, we created a “Sorry to see you go” campaign targeted to non-responders to let them know we’re removing them from our list unless we heard from them. The idea of casting off subscribers was a hard pill to swallow, and a bit of a hard sell to our marketing team. In the end, we were surprised to see responses flowing in. Many people we had never heard back from reached out to us directly to let us know they were still interested and led to closing some deals we had written off as lost for good. And as an added bonus, we were able to pare down our list and re-focus our efforts on active responders again. Today, we call those win-back campaigns.


  39. Send re-engagement emails
  40. If recipients don’t respond to the re-engagement email, remove them from the list – @Jennag812

    By Jenna Gross, CMO at Moving Targets

    Send these to subscribers who haven’t opened an email for a long period of time (usually 6 months to a year). This simple email says something along the lines of: “We noticed you haven’t opened our emails in the past few months. Are you still interested in receiving them?” If recipients don’t respond to the re-engagement email, remove them from the list. This tactic can help you in the long run by reestablishing a connection with some you thought were lost as well as removing people who may flag you as spam in the future.

    Reach out personally after someone unsubscribes from your email list – @Jennag812

    Reach out personally after someone unsubscribes from your email list. Users are accustomed to a barrage of confirmation receipts, ridiculous surveys and it-can-take-a-week-to-remove-you-from-the-list emails after pulling the plug on their subscriptions. Reaching out to see how you could have provided more value may afford some priceless lessons on how to prevent more unsubscribes in the future.


  41. Use a real person’s address as the reply to
  42. When you ask a question in the newsletter, people will be more willing to reply and engage with you – @SBriggman

    By Salvador Briggman, Founder of CrowdCrux.com

    It seems more natural to use a no-reply or some kind of generic company email, but by using a real person’s email (who is running marketing for your company), you will increase the amount of feedback you get. When you ask a question in the newsletter, people will be more willing to reply and engage with you. In addition, if they forward your email along to a friend, the friend has a more direct way of getting in touch with you. That could lead to sales or PR.


  43. Click-throughs and emails opened statistics don’t matter
  44. By Adam Barnhart, Marketing Director at AllProWebTools

    Use tracking URLs to find out: What pages people are visiting on your website after clicking throughs – @Barnhart007

    Well, they matter a little bit. But they’re less than half the story.

    Email marketers should be focusing on more specific statistics:

    • Use A/B split testing to find out what kinds of buttons get the most engagement
    • Use tracking URLs to find out:
      • What pages people are visiting on your website after clicking throughs
      • Sales generated (in dollars) from each campaign

    Keeping those higher level statistics in mind can help you craft emails that are the most expertly targeted to your list. Emails opened really just tells you how good your subject line was, and how well-loved your brand is by your list. Email click-throughs give you a little more information, but are hugely over-rated.


  45. Track phone calls that come from email
  46. Many companies fail to track their phone leads as accurately as they track their web leads – @Pennylaaaane

    By Lexie Bond, Content Marketing Manager at Blue Corona

    When it comes to tracking the success of online marketing strategies like email, many companies fail to track their phone leads as accurately as they track their web leads. This is a huge mistake! We’ve found that in the home service industry, phone leads can outnumber web leads 8:1. Imagine how skewed our client’s data would be if we didn’t track phone leads!


  47. Make your emails mobile friendly
  48. By sending responsive emails you instantly give yourself a competitive advantage – @PaulodeF

    By Paul de Fombelle, Director, Global Development at Mailify

    According to Litmus, 51% of all emails are now opened on a mobile device, but 70% of consumers immediately disregard an email that doesn’t render properly on mobile devices. By sending responsive emails or emails that adapt to the screen size/device a reader is using, you instantly give yourself a competitive advantage.


  49. Fill email preheaders with more interesting and helpful information
  50. Many marketers ignore email preheaders: those are usually filled with the default text – @ixez89

    By Alexander Bekhterev, Chief Marketing Officer at Era81.com

    Many marketers ignore email preheaders: those are usually filled with the default text such as If you have trouble reading this email, read the online version. This piece of writing is displayed after your subject line. Why to lose this valuable space? Write there more stirring up details.


What email marketing tip is your favorite? Let us know in the comment box below.


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