Email Insider

How to engage with your customer?

Enagement customer identity

As it’s been for myself, it has probably been a daunting task for you and rest of fellow email marketers, causing headache and number of sleepless nights. No-one said it will be easy, no-one said it will be achievable, but one thing I’m sure – you have to give it a go.

Recipient engagement in email marketing is as important as other KPI’s but it should overlay every email activity you’re planning to run.

First, let’s focus on understanding what customer engagement is. At this point it’s important that you understand customer journey, where your customers are located within it, and how it affects quality and longevity of your relationship with them.

Loyalty Loops - customer engagement


The graph above shows three different types of customers: hardly-engaged, semi-engaged and engaged. There is one more group – unengaged customers, which I will start with.

Unengaged customers are ones that don’t interact with your brand at all. They don’t open your emails, they don’t interact with your mobile app, they don’t even purchase directly from your website or highstreet store you may have.

So, how you can fix it? The easiest way is to send communications to this group of customers with an incentive. Don’t do it via email only, but try to use different channels like SMS or even DM. If you have a mobile app, push notification with an incentive would be great too.


Hardly-engaged customers open emails or open and click within your emails, but for some reasons they don’t purchase, or purchase occasionally. The issue may lay in a quality of your content. It probably isn’t relevant, and the only reason why you record some clicks is customer’s need to browse your website when they are in market to buy a product you have in your offer.

You can approach these customers by serving them with relevant content by including products they viewed online, or content that is based on their previous click. Also, you can look into their purchase history to find out what they previously purchased and target them with similar products when purchase lifecycle end for this category. You can also offer them a discount on their birthday if they shared with such a information. This may increase frequency of open/click.


Semi-engaged customers open, click and purchase what you have in your offer, but they are quite irregular in their behaviour. They come and go, but they are not as bad as hardly-engaged customers. There are certain things that you do right i.e. giving them right content. The only problem here may be timing.

Not every recipient likes to receive email at the same time. Testing time of day/day of the week of email deployment will help you to achieve better Conversion Rate as well as Opens and Clicks. Also, if you’re customers are based in different time zones, you should take that into consideration. There are tools out there that allow you to deploy emails at the same time per time zone, so email will deploy etc. 9am for every customer from different time zone even if you’re hours in front of/behind them.


Engaged customers are your precious. Don’t abuse this segment only because they respond to your communications and there is a demand from your stakeholders to drive traffic to your website. These customers are more likely to share their good or bad experience with their friends via social networks. You don’t want them to moan about your brand, instead you want them to praise you for all these good thing you’re doing.

This segment, as well as being your most loyal customers, may also be your freshest part of your database. These may be people who interacted with your brand for the first time, or interacted via specific channels for the first time (let’s say you have just developed a mobile app). For new customers setting right frequency and serving them with right content is critical. If you’ll fail in delivering this, they would be gone in no time. For existing customers, do what you’re doing now because you’re doing it great, but don’t forget to innovate as customers like changes.


Segmentation will play very important role in planning your contact strategy, so analyse your customers behaviour not as a one big group, but as clusters. There are many ways you can split your data but I like to use the following:


  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geo-location
  • Ethnicity
  • Home ownership
  • Employment status



  • RFM of purchase
  • Browsing history
  • Recency of interaction with one of your channels
  • Channel preference


These will depends on a marketing sector you’re in, so choose the best ones that suit you. Don’t forget to get a fallow group in place so you know how these different segments perform vs one another, as well as vs. your fallow group.

And last, but not least. Never neglect 6 P’s of marketing – Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.


Testing loop


Robust plan has to be in place to successfully execute and measure campaigns. Document all your learnings as they will help you in the future. It’s critical for further development.

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