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How to Give Your Email Engagement a Boost Ahead of the Holiday Season There are some simple things you can do today to get the most out of your holiday email campaigns.

By Liviu Tanase

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many things have changed about email in the past year. While engagement increased since the pandemic began, Apple's recent updates to email privacy have caused email marketers anxiety.

Apple's Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from tracking information about people who open their emails, thus rendering open rates obsolete. Not knowing how many clicks your subject line got can be confusing. However, open rates are not your only engagement metrics. Clicks and conversions tell a better story about what your audience wants.

With the holiday season approaching, it pays to take a closer look at your email engagement. How many people click through your content? Once they land on your website, how many hit the "Buy" button?

If these numbers are low, there are ways to help them increase.

What is good email engagement?

First, let's see what good email engagement means in 2021. Benchmarks differ, but across all industries, good click rates range between 2 percent and 2.60 percent. As for the average return on investment (ROI), it ranges between $38 and $57, depending on the industry and the efforts invested.

Whether your metrics hover around these stats or not, you definitely want to maximize your email results. So let's get into some tried and tested ways to increase email engagement.

Inactive subscribers could be more than just inactive

Dealing with inactive subscribers is something every email marketer has to do. Why is it so important to address this issue? There are two main reasons you shouldn't ignore it:

  • People who don't engage with your emails bring down your overall engagement. Their lack of reaction tells inbox providers that your content is irrelevant, so your emails are more likely to go to the junk folder.
  • Some inactive subscribers may have abandoned their email addresses for good. If they don't log back into their accounts for more than six months, those accounts may be disabled. What's more, internet service providers and blacklist providers may recycle them and turn them into spam traps.

First, you can try to segment and re-engage these dormant subscribers with a compelling offer. Whatever your approach, remove those who don't show any sign of life for more than six months. They're not only a lost cause, but also a risk to your deliverability.

Related: Your Email Marketing Is Destined to Fail Without These 3 Essentials

Invalid emails and spam complaints keep you from reaching the inbox

Inactive contacts are not the only ones that affect the quality of your email list and your engagement. There's a wide array of harmful email addresses that could be lurking in your list. Before you launch your holiday campaigns, it's best to prune them out.

Let's take invalid emails: The bounces they cause affect your reputation as a sender, which can make inbox providers take you for a spammer. Apart from bounces, spam complaints are more than a nuisance — they're a critical signal to inbox providers. More than one complaint for every 1,000 emails can cause your messages to land in spam.

For any marketer or business owner looking to boost email engagement, regular list cleaning is a must. Once you validate your database in bulk, it's a good idea to use a real-time email verification service to keep your contacts in shape.

Related: 5 Tips for Better Email Marketing Performance

It's not too late to assess the quality of your content

Once you double-check your email list, it's time to take a closer look at your content. Does it compel enough people to click on your landing pages? What type of content gets the most attention?

Isolate your highest-performing newsletters and campaigns and see what they have in common. Here are a few aspects to help you pinpoint why these emails have the best results:

  • Topics: Are these emails addressing a challenge many people are confronted with?
  • Subject lines: Are they shorter than the others or quite the opposite? Also, did you use preview text?
  • Design: Do these emails include images or are they plain text?
  • Content length: On average, how long are your most successful emails?

Answer these questions and, with this data in hand, replicate your audience's favorite emails. Not only will this help you boost engagement during the holidays but also build a more active and loyal list in the long run.

A few bonus tips

Crossing all these things off your list will push you ahead of the pack in the coming weeks. What else can you do to get your subscribers' attention? Here are a few extra pointers:

  • Make unsubscribing fast and easy. Your email template should have a visible "Unsubscribe" button so people can get off your list anytime.
  • Test the deliverability of your emails before you send them. The technology available today allows you to see if your email will land in the inbox or spam.
  • Segment your list and target each group with the most helpful and relevant content. Follow up using automation.
  • Increase the number of emails you send during the holidays. Many companies will be competing for people's attention. Sometimes, the way to stand out is by reminding people of your offer — several times.

Related: Why Email Marketing Is Better for Your Business Than Social Media

Liviu Tanase

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder & CEO of ZeroBounce

Liviu Tanase is a serial entrepreneur and telecommunication executive with extensive experience in the creation, growth and sale of novel technologies. He is currently the CEO of ZeroBounce, an email validation and deliverability platform.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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