I recently read a blog which stated that in 2010 Hotmail delivered 2.5bn emails daily. To help put this into perspective, in 2010 the population of the UK was about 63m.

If, like me, you struggle to visualise these numbers, then please take some time to look at a rather amazing book called ‘Information is Beautiful’ by David Mccandless.

In short, in 2010 each inbox received roughly seven marketing emails per day. So what problem does this create for marketers?

Most experts would say the main problem is deliverability. Despite what you have been told deliverability is not a dark art, put simply, ISPs only want to deliver email into the inbox which people want to read.

This in itself creates a dilemma as email is a big revenue driver for many companies, so telling a CEO that he can only deliver email which recipients want to read, when their main priority is seeing a healthy ROI from email, is a big ask.

The days of guaranteed inbox placement are over. It is now more important than ever to understand the asset which is your data and the ability of data to provide inbox placement for your emails.

So how can you utilise data to produce emails which recipients want to read, as well as email that delivers revenue? I believe that the answer to this query is engagement.

Engagement: the secret to successful data utilisation

Focusing on engagement in your marketing mix does not need to be resource intensive and the benefits of increased engagement can be huge.

Here are some simple rules which any email marketer can implement to increase engagement from the start:

  • In a multichannel environment don’t assume positive engagement across channels. Just because a customer enjoys visiting your store does not mean they will regularly visit your website.In the same way that your store manager is that friendly face that gives the customer a reason to go into store, you should welcome recipients to your email channel and inform them of the benefits of engaging with you.
  • Recognise and acknowledge the source of your data. If you captured an email address via Facebook (yes marketers there is a way to monetise Facebook) then show this in your welcome emails.This demonstrates transparency and provides a clear link between your contact and the recipient.
  • Don’t assume immediate engagement. If you are one of the many companies that acquire data via an indirect source as opposed to collecting it through your brand, then take the time to tell your recipient how you acquired their email address, as the connection may not be immediately obvious.For instance, ‘Thank you for selecting xxxx as the finance scheme for your laser eye surgery’.

Focusing on long term engagement

Now you have welcomed your recipients to your channels, how do you keep them engaged?

  • Begin by talking to your recipient in a language that recognises their level of engagement with your brand. If they are engaged, then refer to that and encourage them to share your brand.If they are not engaged then choose language which reflects this and encourages engagement.
  • Reward loyalty in a variety of ways. The ‘go to’ loyalty reward is often voucher codes; however you can do so much better than this.Think about offerings unique to your brand: VIP status, discounted delivery for a year, first notice on sales or new lines, the list is endless.

My Wardrobe

  • Serialise the emails so that recipients are excitedly waiting for your next communication. Think about the last book you read that you could not put down. My suggestion is read Tom Rob Smith’s, ‘Child 44’. Each chapter is short and you just have to read the next one. If you don’t like reading then watch 24.A great way to do this is to include a snippet of the content for next week’s email, this works as a teaser and will encourage recipients to open your next communication.
  • Serialise your discount code emails to encourage engagement. Instead of offering the full discount in the first email, offer different parts of the code or different levels of discount in a series of emails.By doing this recipients will be looking forward to receiving your next emails and are sure to open them!
  • Discuss trends and how they directly impact your readers. After all, your email should be about how you can address your reader’s issues and concerns. Make it about them and not about you.Remember, you are not just sending emails, you are publishing content. So give the type of content which you include the consideration it deserves.

Conversion cycle

  • My last tip for engagement is mobile. I guarantee mobile will sit in your attribution somewhere; even if your recipients don’t convert on mobile, they will be using their phones for conducting research.Cross device usage is a way of life, even if you can’t measure it, prepare for it. Most of all, creating a responsive email is only step one, you need to ensure that your emails are also viewable at any time and that recipients can engage with your call to action when they are on the move.

To summarise:

  • Read ‘Information is Beautiful’
  • Read ‘Child 44’
  • Watch ’24’
  • Think mobile.