The Creative Ways That Businesses Increase Email Engagement And How You Can Too

by John McIntyre

Email Marketing Engagement Graphic Big business versus small business…

The difference is night and day.

What works for a multi-million dollar corporation doesn’t necessarily work for a small online business.

But when it comes to email marketing…

There are always valuable lessons to be learned by studying other businesses.

Even if they’re in a different industry.

And even if they are nowhere near the size of your business.


Because email marketing is just a mixture of persuasion and communication.

You don’t need a million-dollar marketing budget to test, optimize, and continually grow your business.

You just need to know what to focus on…

Learn how real-world businesses improve their email marketing, and how you can apply the same exact principles for success in any industry.

How Eventful Increased Clickthroughs By 97%

Eventful Email Case Study Eventful connects people with local events like music concerts and other shows.

No surprise: One of their primary marketing channels is email. 

But before 2013, it wasn’t going well…

They had poor engagement from email subscribers… and believed the issue to be a lack of personalization.

The hypothesis: Improve the personalization of emails, and the engagement (and ROI) would increase as well.

The strategy: The Eventful marketers went all-out and created an algorithm to track and organize their audience.

The primary goal was to learn more about their users, and be able to customize each person’s email “experience.”

Almost instantly, they had access to a wealth of new information and data…

To keep things simple, think of this as having better demographic research on your audience.

They learned WHO they were emailing… WHAT they were interested in… and WHERE they lived.

Here’s an overview of their key tactics:

  • Increased Personalization – The more you know about your subscribers, the better. Want more engagement? Get specific in your emails and make them as relevant, timely, and personalized as possible.
  • Reengagement Email Series – They also gave attention to the large number of inactive subscribers on their list. By developing a new email campaign to specifically target this group, they boosted reactivation numbers by roughly 400%.
  • Constant Testing & Optimization – Another key piece of their email success was the data-driven approach. Nothing was left to chance, the marketers spent months testing to learn what works and what doesn’t.

The results: After implementing this algorithm, Eventful was able to send massively more-personalized (and therefore more relevant) email.

And the results were staggering, including a 97% increase in clickthroughs, and 26% increased open rate. (Source)

The takeaway: Eventful didn’t do anything extraordinary to get these results. They just focused on the fundamentals of email marketing, and allowed the data to speak for itself. Remember, you don’t need a fancy algorithm or expensive tools to follow this same approach. Just take the time to analyze your audience, test different email approaches, and deliver the most personalized marketing messages as possible. (Tweet This)

Online Jewelry Store Boosts Revenue 51% By Reengaging Old Subscribers

Limoges Email Marketing Limoges Jewelry had a serious issue…

They allowed a significant amount of old email subscribers to go “dormant.”

Many subscribers had gone months without any sort of interaction with the brand…

But previously, many of these inactive subscribers were profitable customers for the store.

So how do you reengage an old list and rebuild the relationship with your audience?

The hypothesis: By carefully developing a multi-step email series, the jewelry store would attempt to re-attract old subscribers, and remove any “dead weight” from their list.

The strategy: The online store focused on two different areas: reactivating old subscribers and the on-boarding process for new subscribers (to ensure the former issue never happens again).

The email series looked something like this:

  • Email #1 – A promotional email offering a coupon – or other incentive – to get the attention of the most valuable subscribers (i.e. the ones who will purchase instantly).
  • Email #2 – An “opinion” email that focused on engaging with the audience. The email asked for the recipient’s opinion on a piece of jewelry, and specifically did NOT try to sell anything.
  • Email #3 – A mainly text-based email that focused on one clear and concise message: “Do you want to be a part of this list?” The company made it very clear: if the subscriber didn’t take any action… they would automatically be removed from the email list.

The idea was that this email campaign would engage as many potentially valuable subscribers as possible… while cleaning the list of any truly inactive subscribers. Getting rid of the bad emails and uninterested subscribers this way would also probably increase deliverability — because there would be less spam complaints and bounces.

At the same time, the store went back and improved the beginning of their email sequence, specifically the welcome email.

The results: Since the inactive email list was such a detriment to the company’s profits… this new campaign had massive results. Open rates doubled, clickthroughs went up 71%, and total revenue increased an unbelievable 51%.

But wait there’s more: At the same time, overall email volume was reduced by 52%.

Similarly, the heavy testing and optimization of their welcome email offer paid off big-time. It became one of the most valuable elements of their entire marketing funnel, pulling in a 50% open rate and nearly $2 in revenue per send. (Source)

The takeaway: Once again, this Limoges Jewelry case-study proves that you don’t need to be a big business to have a killer email marketing system. They went back to the drawing board, focused on the customer, and took a simple straightforward approach. (Tweet This)

So How Can You Get Creative With Email?

Did you notice the common factor in these two examples?

Both businesses took a personal approach to their email marketing.

Forget about fancy software, programs, and algorithms.

They didn’t treat their subscribers like numbers on a spreadsheet

Instead, they approached email as if it was a normal face-to-face interaction.

Then they distilled that same interaction into email… and had massive success.

Think about it: How can you get more personal, more relevant, and more persuasive through email?

Start by defining your relationship with subscribers.

Then determine the exact step-by-step sequence of events required to move them through your marketing funnel.

The rest is just testing, optimizing, and continually staying in contact with your audience.

2 thoughts on “The Creative Ways That Businesses Increase Email Engagement And How You Can Too”

  1. Great post John, really gets me thinking before hitting “send” on the next batch of autoresponders.

    I really liked the strategy implemented by the Jewelry Store to give their list an ‘ultimatum.’ Cleaning up your lists is crucial.

    Are there any tools/strategies one might not think of for analyzing the demographics of their email list (besides surveying google analytics?)

    • Glad you liked it Cory 🙂

      Sure. One way I’m using right now is to give people a question or two after they join the list.

      For example, on my site, if you sign up, you’ll get asked if you want to convert your leads yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. Depending on which button you click, you’ll be tagged as “diy” or “dfy” (for done-for-you). Then you’ll receive a custom email sequence based on your segment.


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