Improving Email Engagement

Do you struggle to keep up with all the emails and messages you receive? So do your customers.

Email open rates have started to decline industry-wide. If customers stop engaging with your emails, their email clients could make your communications a lower priority — Gmail might move them to the ‘Updates’ tab, for example — reducing the chances that your customers will see them in their inbox.

It’s more important than ever to stand out from the communications crowd and show that your emails are worth reading.

The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to improve email engagement. We’ve put together some tips to help your emails get opened, not deleted.

1. Spend more time on your subject line
An enticing subject line can be the key to a great open rate, and it’s worth crafting carefully. Use natural language and avoid unnecessary punctuation, particularly exclamation points (!), pipes (|) and combinations (?!). Subject lines that read like proper sentences are less likely to trigger spam filters, too. Learn more subject-line tips and tricks here.

2. Take advantage of preheader text
Preheader text appears directly after the subject line in most email browsers. Although not necessary, it’s an additional opportunity to attract customers’ attention and highlight what’s in your email, which could mean the difference between someone deciding to read it or delete/archive it. Learn more about preheader text here.

3. Get personal
Adding a personal touch improves deliverability and engagement, whether it’s including the customer’s name in the subject line or incorporating customer information in the body of the email.

4. Send targeted emails
Customers respond better to communications that are relevant to them. The data you collect from your customers could be used to create more targeted communications — for example, someone who has just signed up to your database or loyalty program could receive a series of welcome communications. Or a new purchase could trigger a follow-up email about similar items available for purchase

5. Avoid image-only emails
Emails consisting entirely of images can increase load time for customers and trigger spam filters. Aim for a balance of text and images instead.

6. Add alt text to your images
Alt text (alternative text) describes an image to readers who are unable to see it, because the image has failed to load  — some email clients don’t display images automatically — or the reader is visually impaired and uses a screen reader or text-to-speech technology. Use alt text to let readers know what information they’re missing, which can improve engagement and accessibility.

7. Use a reputable email service provider
You might be tempted to communicate with customers via Outlook or a WordPress email client, but these tools are not built to handle large-scale ongoing campaigns. Look for a reliable email service provider focused on helping you improve deliverability, that has high integrity with service providers like Google and Bigpond.

8. Keep your data fresh
Make sure your email service provider is managing your undeliverable, unsubscribed and bounced email addresses properly so they don’t negatively affect your email deliverability

For more information on how you can create a greater level of engagement with your customers and members, contact us at

Kate Brook
Author: Kate Brook