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Boost the engagement of your email campaigns based on subscriber behaviour

You read a lot about how you should make your emails relevant to your audience, that great content is the key to high engagement rates. But how do you get there? How do you know what is right for your audience?

Rather than basing it on a hunch, or gut instinct, your subscribers’ behaviour can help you unlock the right strategy. If only you knew where to look…

To help, I’ve summed up some tips and examples you can use to take email campaigns to the next level.

Find the content that’s most ‘hot’

Any respectable technology provider is able to give you some sort of click report, to help you identify the most appealing content in your emails.

Start by looking at your newsletters, or other emails you send on a regular basis. Is there a ‘hot spot’, or type of content, that subscribers always click on? Use this to influence future content placement and ensure you place the most important and engaging information in that area.

Heatmap Report on subscribers' beheviour

Adestra’s MessageFocus offers a visual click report to help identify popular areas and content

Next steps:

  • Do an A/B test to see which call to action is most popular for a particular piece of content
  • Alternatively, try an A/B test to see whether placement affects the popularity of a high-converting piece of content
  • Target contacts that have clicked on specific links with a timely and relevant follow up email, e.g. “We noticed you’re interested in destinations in Spain, here’s some travel tips and ideas for Spanish holidays”

Location, location, location

If possible, identify clusters of highly-engaged subscribers based on their location. Then send them a personalised message or discount based on their location. If this strategy results in higher engagement, roll out location-based personalisation to the rest of your database.

Alternatively, invite only contacts from a nearby area to an exclusive event. You can easily do this with a simple geo-location-based data filter.

Geo Tracking your subscribers' behaviour

: Identify clusters of highly-engaged subscribers (Screenshot from the Geotracking Report in MessageFocus)

Next steps:

  • This works particularly well for events companies, or when organising a brand event: e.g. “Travel information to London for our upcoming event” or “Events near you in Oxford”
  • Identify new target markets based on geographic data

Success: Bodie and Fou found a previously-unknown engaged French market. They decided to target them separately, and achieved a 64% open-rate and a 20% click-to-open rate.

Do you really need mobile optimized emails?

Only your reporting can tell, although the answer will likely be yes. To find out, check your provider’s Email Client Report, and use this information to build and optimise future emails for the most used devices.

Subscribers behaviour Email client opens

Next steps:

  • B2B businesses generally have a high proportion of desktop clients like Outlook. So ensure your campaigns attract attention in the preview pane, and include ALT tags.
  • If your contacts largely open on mobile, take advantage of the pre-header, and build clear call to action buttons rather than links.

Success: Soulmate Food took a new approach to their campaign design after examining the email client reports, and brought their click-through rate up to 39%.

What’s the best time to send an email?

If I had a coin for every time I’ve been asked this, I would live in a palace by now. I recommend testing different times of the day depending on what you know about your audience. For instance, does it span different time zones? Consider splitting your launches to hit their inboxes at 8am in the main time zones.

Best send time subscriber behaviour

A timeline of email opens can help you identify potential alternative peaks

Next steps:

  • Experiment with launch times by comparing 8am rush hour to 5pm rush hour, or lunchtime vs. evening sends.
  • Compare clicks to opens: perhaps your subscribers open your email on their mobile at 8am during the commute, but wait until 8pm to click-through on their desktop at home.

Success: C+D tested their optimum sending time over 6 months, and found 3pm to be the best time, reaching open rates of 32% and higher.

Next time you undertake a project to improve your email results, examine your subscribers’ behaviour to identify areas where you stand to make the biggest gains. Use the examples from the above case studies, and find out for yourself how a bit of digging around the data can lead to great outcomes.

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