Email remains one of the best performing marketing tactics, offering a massive $42 return on every $1 spent.
Even so, it’s frustrating when your regular email newsletter fails to elicit the response you’re looking for, whether that be extra clicks on your website or sales at your checkout.
Thankfully, there are all sorts of tactics you can employ to keep your subscribers tuned in. We’ve gathered just a few:
1. Curated Articles
If you run a quality blog, or if you’re in an industry that lends itself to thought leadership, a round-up of the latest news is a great option for a newsletter. Not only is it a time-saving option, but it can be genuinely useful for subscribers.
Top tip: try to keep to about 3 articles (and no more than 5). Any more will only add to your subscribers’ workload.
2. Set up a Quiz
Interactive content is the way forward, and there’s no better way to get your subscribers involved than with a quiz.
Top tip: While a quiz for the sake of it is fine, try to make sure it’s super-relevant to your audience.
3. Host a Giveaway
Everyone loves the chance to win a great prize, so giveaways are a surefire way to boost newsletter engagement. But in addition to keeping your audience engaged, they also provide extra referral traffic to your website and social media, which further increases your reach.
4. A How-To Guide
Whether you record a video or write out a step-by-step guide on how to use one of your products, a how-to is a great way to foster engagement from your audience. Why? You’re positioning yourself as the person to resolve a potential stumbling block.
Top tip: be mindful of your niche. Traditional how-to guides might not work for certain industries. If, for example, you sell purses, you can film “5 outfits that work with our brown tote bag this summer.”
5. Share Your Videos
It’s a well-known fact that visual content significantly improves engagement, with videos increasing open rates by 19% and click rates by 65%.
If you already post regularly to a YouTube channel, then embed them within your email body. Or, if you’re using Gmail, insert a static image of your video with a “play” button over the top linking through to your YouTube clip.
Top tip: Don’t forget to use the word “video” in your email subject line – doing so will increase your open rate by 6%!
6. Run a “Refer a Friend” Promotion
A great way to both improve your reach and engagement is by asking your subscribers to refer a friend. In your newsletter, ask your subscriber to forward the email to one of their contacts, recommending your business. If their friend goes on to subscribe to the newsletter, they both get an exclusive discount.
Top tip: Consider making your referral promotion permanent and making it a feature in your email footer, like White Stuff do:
7. Launch a New Product or Range
Drum up interest in a new product by announcing it via your newsletter. Use your announcement to let them know the day it’s being launched, how they can buy it, and any exclusive discounts they might be eligible for.
Top tip: Make sure you include a bold call-to-action directing readers straight to your new product or range.
8. Offer a Discount
Email newsletters are the perfect platform for using discounts and offers to drive customers to your online shop.
Offers create a sense of urgency – an age-old tactic to encourage customers to make a purchase. You could even consider building a countdown pop-up into your newsletters to convey added urgency.
Top tip: Use time-sensitive wording, such as “last chance” or “for a limited time only” to grab the attention of your subscribers.
9. Share User-Generated Content
What better way to foster engagement than by sharing your own audience’s content?
User-generated content is the images, videos, or any other kind of content produced by your users that has been shared online via social media.
Start by sharing your users’ content on social media, and go on to compile some of the best to include in your next newsletter.
10. Ask for Feedback
By directly asking for feedback, you can proactively encourage more engagement from your audience, but also gain some valuable audience insight. Most people jump at the chance to share their thoughts – both positive and negative – so why not try it?
Top tip: be transparent about the results of your feedback. Showcase positive responses, and actively address criticisms.
11. Show a Behind the Scenes Tour of Your Business
Social media is great for this, and there’s no reason you can’t use your email newsletters to give a peep behind the curtain too.
Showing your subscribers behind the scenes makes them feel like they have access to exclusive content and also makes you seem like an approachable brand, both of which will help improve customer engagement.
12. Interview an Expert/Industry Leader
An interview with an expert – whether it be in video or text format – will provide your subscribers with content they’re going to love.
Whether your expert is a member of your team or an external influencer, try to ask them questions you think your customers will want to know the answers to.
Top tip: ask your subscribers to pose some questions for you to ask in advance, and reference them in your interview.
13. Run a “Thank You” Sale
This newsletter tactic is a variation of a discount. However, it is potentially more effective than a standard discounted sale because of the approach you take.
You send out a blast to your email list telling them “Thank You” for being a subscriber. In fact, you are so appreciative that you want to extend a special discount to them for a limited time, only available to list members.
Top tip: Include some free bonuses if they act on the discount, to sweeten the pot.
14. Share a Customer Story
Your market will always take someone else’s word for it rather than just your own. The thinking is that another customer just like them wouldn’t have any reason to misrepresent your product.
You can interview a loyal customer and ask them what they like most about their purchase. This will help you instill more social proof in your newsletter.
Top tip: Include a photo or video of the customer enjoying your product if possible.
15. Mention an Industry Award
Has your company just been written up in a leading industry magazine? Did a prestigious organization just recognize you for providing an excellent product? Then mention it.
You don’t have to come off as bragging, but rather being proud that you were able to help your market out so much that a third party named you as the “best” for that category.
Top tip: Make sure you really earn the award. Smart consumers will see through marketing gimmicks, such as paying an organization known for accepting cash for “awards.”
16. Let Your Audience Participate in a New Product
Your email subscribers will love being listened to. It makes them see how much you truly value their input and desires.
The next time you’re launching a new product or variation, get your market’s feedback. Ask them which color, size, accessories they want to see the most.
At best, you launch the perfect product almost guaranteed to generate big profits. At worst, you get valuable feedback that can be used to enhance your campaigns going forward.
Top tip: Create a new version of your product for each request generated by your subscribers and launch it privately to those segments.
17. Connect with a Higher Purpose
People buy on need, but they also buy on purpose and passion. Find ways to connect your product with a higher level impact like sustainability, helping people in need, and more.
Consider sending a newsletter announcing that a percentage of proceeds from all sales over a certain time period will be donated to a non-profit organization.
Not only can this be written off on business taxes, but you can help a great cause.
Top tip: Research any organization or cause beforehand to make sure your donations are landing in good hands.
18. Launch Value-Added Training
Whether you sell sunglasses, wedding candles, or software, you can find a way to help your customers use your product better.
Any time that you add value to your subscribers by creating information around using your product, tell them about it.
Your job should be to maximize the value they get out of their purchase, one way or another.
Top tip: Use video if you can, as it has a higher perceived value and leaves less up to chance.
19. Invite them to a Community
Send an email to your list offering them to join a new exclusive club. You can charge for it or keep it free.
Either way, the main purpose is to make them feel included in a special community that they can’t find anywhere else. This is also great because it gives them an outlet to talk about and gush about your brand.
You might find that there are several brand ambassadors in the community that create more powerful word of mouth marketing than you could ever create on your own.
Top tip: Use a platform that allows you to keep the community private. You want to promote as many people joining, but you need to ensure they are true customers or fans and not trolls or competition.
These are just a handful of many options for using your email newsletter to increase engagement among your audience. Test which emails are getting the most engagement by checking in on open and click-through rates in your email analytics, and adjust your strategy accordingly.