Nov 2019

Email boasts a satisfying 4,400% ROI rate vs. other marketing channels.

But how do you drive better engagement with your subscribers? And not just engagement, but sustained engagement that translates into sales.

Below are 8 ways to add a greater human touch into your email marketing that’ll resonate with your prospects, thereby driving increased campaign engagement.

1. Wow your subscribers with personalized content

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Engagement begins at the point where (1). your prospect realizes it’s a real-life human on the other end and (2). decides whatever you’re offering is worth a try.

In that light, most email marketing tools offer personalization options by using tokens, allowing you to customize your messages for a large audience. A CRM + email marketing solution like HubSpot offers countless segmentation options, allowing you to build personal relationships with each lead.

RELATED:  HubSpot User? Check out 6 Easy Tricks to Grow Your Business

When personalizing your emails, be sure you’re:

  • Letting prospects know they can reply. This is becoming a favorite among SaaS startups and makes it easier for users who are testing out a tool to strike up a conversation about their product, drop feedback, etc.


  • Using Humor. Popping in a bit of humor here and there about the office or your team, is a great way to foster a human to human connection with your subscribers, convert them, or at the very least, amuse them.



ALWAYS double check your personalization tokens are working properly. Nothing worse than getting an email that’s addressed to {First Name}.



2. Leverage smart subject lines & preview text

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Did you know that 47% of your marketing email recipients will either open or skip your email, based strictly on the subject line?

First impressions matter. Your subject line and preview text are what your subscribers and potential customers use to decide whether the email is worth their time at all.

So, what good is an engaging email if it’s hidden behind a poorly crafted subject line?

That’s where A/B testing comes into play. Running a split test can help you analyze resulting open rates and determine the perfect subject line and preview text.

Before you start split testing your subject lines, here are a few tips to make sure they’re optimized to resonate with your personas:

  • Keep it short. Brief subject lines are less cluttered and easier to analyze at a glance. Ideally, 5-7 words max.
  • Use Emojis. Whether it’s their aesthetic 🌷 appeal, or the ability to visually reinforce 👉👉👉 your point, emojis boost open rates by up to 15%. But use emojis sparingly.
  • Consider rhymes, alliteration, and tongue twisters.

3. Use interactive content



On average, video generates 8x more on-page engagement and drives 1,200% more shares than text content.


Because video content stimulates the brain better. People can process video 60,000 times faster than text. Or simply, video is what our brain is designed to accept and process faster and better.

Once your subscribers have clicked through to your email successfully, video content offers you an ideal avenue to wow them and capture their attention faster than text ever can, judging by the stats above.

A few ideas for creating winning email video/interactive content include:

  • An explainer video of the text content of your email. Knowing most of your recipients will have a go at the video right away, it’s a great idea condensing the text they may not get to read into the video they’ll most definitely watch.
  • Personalize again. With tools like Lemlist, it’s easy sending out marketing emails with personalized video content sporting your recipients’ names, company logos, etc.
  • Relevant info. Even if you’re not offering your email text content side by side with a video alternative, popping in another relevant video, such as industry news, updates, product offers, etc, will go a long way in capturing your email recipients’ attention and converting that into measurable engagement.
  • Humor. Even if you don’t have a great explainer video to drive engagement with, a short, funny GIF will not only entertain your recipients but will help keep your future brand marketing emails front and center in your prospects’ inboxes.

IMPORTANT: You’re probably already aware of the fact that most email marketing providers don’t support embedding videos in email for spam and security reasons. Here are a few workarounds that’ll enable you to use videos to offer winning email content your subscribers will look forward to.

Other engagement channels such as one-click polls offer your email recipients a streamlined avenue to actively engage with your email content and be done with it.

4. Tell a story



Branding is simply telling one really big story your target customers can personally relate with, and thereby creating an emotional connection that translates into financial transactions with your business.

Why is this important?

Storytelling creates an avenue for customers to see themselves in your brand’s big picture, align with your brand mission, and associate doing business with you as being part of a higher, noble cause.

Maybe it’s a short story about how you struggled with the exact same pain points you’re helping your ideal clients solve, storytelling helps build emotional trust by tapping into the personal experiences that form the foundation of your business.




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Overall, great storytelling combines facts with the human factor to make your marketing emails more relatable and human, thereby driving relationships that easily translate into sales.

5. Follow up, quickly

In today’s modern, fast-paced, digital world, no one loves waiting. Following up with prospects quickly after they’ve taken an action (like downloaded an eBook or filled out a form) could help your business stay top of mind; ahead of one of your competitors.

6. Embrace a mobile-friendly design

68% of your email recipients view the marketing emails you send them on mobile devices.

Using a tool like HubSpot’s free email marketing suite, it’s easy to create campaigns from scratch with their drag-and-drop editor, as well as deliver content tailored to whatever device they’re viewing on.

  • Optimize your subject line for mobile devices. a good subject line becomes even better when it’s brief and concise enough to fit comfortably into most mobile email apps, which we’ll note, show 25-30 characters max.
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  • Simplify. Leverage white space for an uncluttered layout.
  • Razor-sharp copy. With little room for fluff on a compact mobile view, it’s necessary that your emails are optimized to deliver their message as precisely and succinctly as possible.

Employing the tips above, you can be sure that your recipients will always be served the perfect version of your email for whatever device they’re viewing on.

7. Perfect timing

A mere 24 hours after hitting the inbox, chances of your email getting read sinks close to zero. So, as a marketer, the trick is to hit the sweet spot when your recipients are near the mailbox, with time on their hands, and are in the right frame of mind to engage with your marketing emails.

With the volume of information available on the perfect timing for sending marketing emails, there’s a general consensus on the best days, hours of the day to send emails with the best chances of engagement.

Best day of the week: Tuesdays - Thursdays, ideally, Wednesday or Thursday. With the barrage of leftover work, Slack notifications, and emails most workers walk into on Mondays, and the rush to check out on Fridays, it’s needless to say sending out marketing emails on those days will end up being a disturbance that gets ignored. The Tuesday - Thursday window is ideal, but considering it’s gone mainstream among marketers it might be a good move to target Wednesdays/Thursdays for your email marketing campaigns. Less clutter, need we say more?


day of the week

Best time for engagement: 8:00 am -10:00 am; 3 pm - 4 pm have been noted as some of the highest engagement windows for marketing emails since at this point, your recipients are either arriving at work, still trying to get into a flow (8 - 10 am), or are a bit more relaxed and ready to check out of the office soon (3 - 4 pm).

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Overall, the No. 1 timing tactic for driving engagement on marketing emails is to know your audience, learn what works best for them over time, and keep your email marketing strategy updated for the long run.

8. Conversion-focused CTAs

On the one hand, while the body of your email is where you propose value to your recipients, your call to action is the ask, the point where you require them to make good of it.

A great call to action leverages 2 key points to drive engagement, and eventually convert your email’s value proposition into a meaningful offer that your recipients can take advantage of.

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Your CTA’s value proposition simply restates the obvious, albeit in a simpler way and condenses whatever you’re offering your recipients in a summary, do-it manner. Here’s where great copywriting comes in as you’ll need to convey the substance of your offer with as much clarity as possible, to ensure your recipients can make a transition from learning to buying or doing, with minimal friction.


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A few great UX tips for CTAs that pop include:

Prominence. Making your CTA button the visual center of your email makes it easier to keep the desired target action top of mind. Whether with lots of whitespace or a vibrant alternate color, designing a CTA that stands out makes the flow from learning to doing a seamless process for your recipients.



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Size. Designing for great visual UX requires your CTA to be neither too small or outsized big, to offer a balanced, visually appealing button that’s instantly visible and yet offers minimal friction to your prospects.

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Like in the example above, the bolder, outsized CTA actually resulted in 10% less click throughs, possibly owing to the visual overwhelm to the email recipients in this test case.

The golden rule for marketing email CTAs is simple: customer-centric messaging (great copy) + great design, convinces the prospect the offer is tailored for them. And to nail your CTA, you’ll need to have a good grip on your recipients persona to keep presenting value in a manner that they can relate with.

A look at most of the engagement boosting tips and tricks we’ve listed above will reveal a subtle secret:

Engagement is all about personalization, value, and the ability to build win-win relationships that create trust with your prospects.

Here at Horseshoe + Co, we understand winning email marketing requires more than throwing digital spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks.

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