5 Ways to Engage Your Email Subscribers


So many of us work so hard to attract new email subscribers – and then we dump them in the list and fire off the same email to everyone on Tuesday morning around 6 AM.

Then we wonder why the open rate drops through the floor. 

And, of course, the click rate.  And sales.

Don’t let that happen to you – follow these proven tips for getting your subscribers engaged from the start.

Step 1: Your Welcome Email

They finally took the plunge and signed up for your email.

And beyond the short “Thank you for subscribing” message that appeared on the form, they haven’t heard from you in a week because they managed to subscribe about an hour after your last scheduled email blast.

When that first email arrives from you – 7-days after subscribing – they forgot who you were and didn’t notice it ended up the SPAM folder.

Research from ReachMail shows that welcome emails product 86% higher open rates, 196% higher click rates and 336% higher transaction rates.

7 Steps to Make Your Welcome Emails Engaging

You want your subscribers to be engaged – use your Welcome email to provide them with a timely, clever, memorable welcome to your family.

  1. Welcome them to the group and thank them for their interest;
  2. Set expectations on things like content featured in the emails, frequency, delivery day/time so that they know what’s coming;
  3. Tell them about yourself – and that means have the email come from a person rather than a nameless corporate entity so you can build a relationship;
  4. Make sure you fulfill whatever offer was made to entice them to subscribe;
  5. Share some additional information of value – a extra special ‘thank you’, if you will;
  6. Invite them to connect with you via social media – because they are in an agreeable mood and you can get them valuable information that’s different than the emails;
  7. Share your contact information so they can reach you – and invite them to share their wants, needs, reactions.


Step 2: Personalization & Segmentations

Personalization is more than having the subscriber's first name in the salutation - it speaks to relevancy and requires database management skills.

First, speaking as someone named “Pat”, I can personally attest to the power of personalization – having unsubscribed from email lists and thrown away direct mail that came “personalized” to “Ms Pat McGraw.”

And, on the other hand, when they get the greeting correct, I still want to see relevant information vs. the one-size fits no-one approach that comes from mass email blasts.

Personalization speaks to name as well as interests and a relevant offer.  And that requires database management including segmentation.

Step 3: Subject Line, Personalization and Segmentation

Personalization needs to be used effectively in the Subject Line so they open, then you can personalize the content – but failing to personalize the subject line runs the risk of low open rates and no one seeing the relevant, custom content that waits within.


Step 4: Marketing Automation

I include this with a word of caution – if your data isn’t up to par, automation can cause you more problems than it solves.

Also, keep it simple.  I have seen too many create automated email campaigns that blow up in their faces.

That said, marketing automation is creating a series of emails that are triggered by time or action or inaction on the recipient’s part.

For example, let’s say you subscribe to my email list on Sunday evening.  Once your information reaches MailChimp (my email marketing platform), it goes through some rules I created and if you meet certain criteria, you will automatically be sent that pre-created email.

In my specific setting, if you complete the form on the top of the page, you would receive within 30-minutes, a personalized email with whatever I felt was appropriate for you and others like you.

Again, for this to work well, you need data so you can segment and send the appropriate email.

With new subscribers, sending an automated ‘Thank you/Welcome’ is easy.  The challenge becomes what to do next – and this is where some get enamoured by the potential this technology offers and the get overly creative.

A good to test might be a 3 to 4 email campaign that is automated and consists of:

  1. Immediate: After subscribing, a “Welcome/Thank you” email is sent within 60 minutes
  2. 24 hours later: If the “Welcome/Thank you” email is not opened, you could have the origial ‘Welcome Email’ resent or something similar with a slight variation in the subject line and body content so they know you tried to reach them once.  On the other hand, if they did open the first within that 24 hours but didn’t click, you could send them another email with an additional offer to motivate them to take the offer in the “Welcome/Thank you” email.  Last, if they opened and clicked on the “Welcome/Thank you ” email, you might have someone call them to follow up personally.


Step 5: Romance and Surprises

Okay, maybe not romance but surprises can help keep your subscribers engaged.

For example, mix up the content.  Interactive content. Video. Audio.

And, obviously, the creative presentation plays a part in all of this as well.  If you are consistently sending over the same looking email with links to 2 offers or 2 blog posts without anything different…your emails can be perceived as boring.

By mixing up the presentation, including interactive content…you can create a situation where your audience is looking forward to what you are going to do next which leads to excitement, anticipation and engagement.

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