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Engagement is central to your email program. The more engaged a prospect or customer is, the more likely it is they will help boost a company’s revenue.

But building a cohesive strategy and utilizing killer tactics that are going to produce results from the get-go is not easy. To provide some clarity and guidance, we partnered with Ascend2 to survey almost 100 successful email marketing influencers, the outcome of which can be seen in the resulting report: How to Achieve Successful Email Marketing Engagement. The report also takes a look at new tools and measurements that can help you build stronger, longer-lasting customer relationships.

Improving email engagement is a top concern even for best-in-class marketers. If you focus too narrowly on conversions and overlook engagement-building through nurturing campaigns, you’ll miss opportunities to reach potential customers who are at different points in the buying cycle. This is highlighted in our Email Marketing Industry Census 2018, which found only 35% of in-house digital marketers are using lead nurturing and 29% use life-cycle programs in their email marketing.

Focus on email marketing engagement

Customer engagement should be at the center of every marketing plan. It’s the engine that moves customers from the acquisition stage to the conversion stage. Yet only a third (34%) of the marketing influencers surveyed for this Adestra/Ascend2 study described their email engagement as ‘very successful’ compared with their competition. Furthermore, a ­fifth of marketers (21%) admitted their efforts have even been ‘unsuccessful’.

“How successful is your email marketing strategy at achieving the top priorities?”

If you can’t keep your new customers interested and motivated enough to move on to conversion, you lose those potential sales and revenue. You just keep spending money over and over on acquiring new customers – investment you could have used to optimize marketing programs leading to greater company growth.

Five steps to email marketing engagement success

If you believe you, along with the majority of marketers surveyed, are seeing less than stellar performance from engagement then these five steps can help you improve:


  • Map out the average conversion cycle for your prospects to understand the timescale involved, the pain points, and the decision makers.
  • Identify where you might have content gaps along the entire cycle, not just at the point
    of conversion.
  • Rework existing content into different formats to maximize value and fill existing gaps. This can be more cost-and-time-efficient than trying to create all-new content.
  • Avoid pushing conversion in content that is assigned to early stages of the purchase cycle. Instead, focus on relevant education and assistance.
  • Identify metrics that help demonstrate progress toward conversion, especially in parts of the cycle where conversion is not expected. Sales has its own pipeline, and your marketing efforts should too.

Tactical effectiveness

There are many effective tactics for improving email marketing engagement. At the top of the list for the best-in-class is the use of newsletters with owned content (43%), followed by integrated social media campaigns (39%) and single-topic email campaigns (38%).

If you don’t have a newsletter yet, the results suggest that this is a good place to start. Given how challenging it can be to get a business to approve content curated from external sources, starting with owned content in the newsletter – content you generate from your marketing team or other sources within your company – is the smart move.

Once you have a newsletter in place, you’re definitely not done. Consider a short list of next steps in developing the content tools required to do email engagement right.

Here are three tactics that could give you a start on some ideas for your own engagement marketing:

  1. Personalized content. 200% incremental revenue.
    Also known as conditional content, personalizing your emails can be a big boost to your results. Our clients, such as Future Publishing, have seen an average of double their revenue when applied correctly.
  2. Localized content. 1,110% ROI.
    Localized content is similar to personalized content, but, because it is based on location rather than personal data, it can be easier to manage into segments.
  3. Personalized by segment. +94% incremental revenue.
    Clients such as IBC, who segment based on past purchase behavior have seen significant improvements in engagement, without having to bear the burden of creating too many content versions.

Look for new tools

Marketers have many tools at their disposal to help them improve engagement. Those that are still having problems using triggers and automation should re-examine the time, effort and resources they’re spending in this area to see if some of the newer tools can help. Your Email Service Provider should be the first port of call! After all, triggered emails that respond to real-time customer actions like visiting a website or browsing a product page, capitalize on behavior and move customers closer to a conversion.

Adestra clients that have used triggered and transactional emails have seen a 50% + boost in email revenue in a year, so they’re definitely worth your time to investigate and add to your email program.

Click here for a full copy of How to Achieve Successful Email Marketing Engagement.