5 Ways to Improve Engagement & Reduce Unsubscribe Rates

By 30 October 2018 No Comments

Email marketing gives you access to a much larger potential audience than traditional marketing channels, but what if your contacts aren’t paying attention?

Capturing subscriptions is one thing, but actively holding the attention of your subscribers is a whole other imperative ball game.

It’s engagement that drives conversions, and brand loyalty – not just subscription volume. After all, what use is it having a gigantic mailing list if less than 5% of that list is actually engaged with your content, or even opening your emails at all.

Here are our 5 tips of improving subscriber engagement, and reducing unsubscribe rates.

1. Make your content relevant

When it comes to increasing engagement, and mitigating un-subscriptions, the focus has to be on content strategy.

It’s content that grabs and holds attention, so it’s content that is the real glue of your brand’s relationship with its contacts.

The most important suggestion for creating engaging content, is to make that content relevant to each individual subscriber.

Obviously, unless your subscribers are all clones of one person, what’s relevant to each of them will be slightly different.

This is where Marketing Automation functionality and tools come in.

You can use Dynamic Content parameters to set rules for which bits of content will appear for which targeted subscribers. You can use past behaviour on communications, events, etc – to target special groups with content particularly unique to them.

You can collect information on the topics that each contact wants to receive at the subscription stage (in your subscription form) in order to sort them into Mail Groups for more relevant content targeting.

If you’ve been sending out generic email campaigns to your entire database, and have noticed low engagement rates and high un-subscription rates, then making your content more personable, and relevant should be your first priority.

2. Swap out your un-subscription form for a Preference Center

Sometimes contacts unsubscribe because that’s their only choice.

Subscribers axe their subscriptions due to receiving too many emails, or emails that are irrelevant to them. But these reasons are addressable.

Instead of using a standard un-subscription form, opt for a Preference Center instead.

A Preference Center gives your subscribers a chance to tweak the types of communications they’d like to receive. They can opt to receive communications that are relevant to them, and remove subscriptions for campaigns that they’d not like to see in their inboxes.

A Preference Center gives power back to your subscribers, saving you from unnecessarily high volumes of unsubscriptions.

Make sure that the Marketing Automation platform you use (or would like to) includes Preference Center functionality.

Psst! Swift Digital’s Marketing Automation platform has Preference Center options!

3. Build journeys instead of individual campaigns

Improve engagement with your emails by designing them in a journey format, rather than just blasting out disjointed emails as you see fit.

Email campaign journey ideas include:

Welcome journeys (where new subscribers are welcomed, and are sent emails to catch them up on information, updates, deals etc.)
VIP customer journeys (where already converted customers are sent special discounts, deals, and offers)
Behaviour triggered journeys (where contacts receive emails according to how they interacted with previous campaigns, events, or website landing pages)

By deploying your email campaigns in specially designed journeys, your contacts will be on boarded onto a seamless and relevant experience.

They’ll receive the content that makes sense for them, and they will naturally build familiarity with your brand. Journeys help to ensure that targeted recipients don’t get the same email in different formats, and are treated personably.

This helps to build the feeling of 1-on-1 trust, and therefore increase engagement, and reduces unsubscribe rates.

4. Use reports analysis, and A/B split testing to target your contacts the way they want to be targeted

If you have low engagement, and high unsubscribe rates, then you probably don’t know your audience well enough.

The good news is: this problem is easy enough to rectify.

You have a wealth of data at your fingertips if you’ve been marketing to your audience online. This data can help you build accurate profiles of your audience, enabling you to segment them into smaller target groups, and gain their attention and respect.

Where can you find this data? By reviewing and analysing your past campaign reports. If you’re using a Marketing Automation platform, then checking out your report data and utilising it to understand your contacts will be as easy as pie.

Note which campaigns do well, and with whom. Compare your campaigns over a time period to see if certain times of the year, or certain types of emails do better than others.

Use Engagement Scoring to score your contacts based on their engagement with your communications, and segment them based on their behaviour so that you can target them with super-focused relevant content.

Deploy A/B split testing to send the same email campaign with different copy, or different subject lines. Check out which subject line garners the most opens, and which copy garners the most click throughs.

All of this data is invaluable, and can be used directly to inform your next campaign’s strategy.

5. Send better emails, but less often

We’ve covered the importance of relevant, segmented, data driven content – but sending great emails is only part of the equation when it comes to minimising your unsubscribe rate.

When it comes to email marketing, think quality over quantity. Focus more of your resources and time on getting your campaigns right, and less on pumping out as much content as possible.

Whilst it’s easy to think that sending more emails will garner more clicks, it’s also a surefire way to tick off your sensitive audience.

CIO reports that one of the most frequently cited reasons for email un-subscriptions is ‘receiving emails too often’. Don’t be that brand.

Focus on the content and journey of your campaigns, and less on publishing as often as possible.

If your business needs further help with your email marketing campaigns, get in touch with Swift Digital today.

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