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Using Engagement for Contact List Segmentation

5 min

Engagement is the holy grail of your email marketing communication. This article will help you focus on the most popular engagement drivers. And, a cool brand new GetResponse feature will help you improve your email marketing results.

What is engagement in email marketing?

Engagement is one of the most critical metrics in email marketing. By engagement in this context, we mean if our contacts actively open and click the links in our emails. Following engagement as a key metric makes sense. When people open and click the links in your emails, it probably means that they find your emails relevant – interesting and useful.

If you want to find out what’s a good email open or click-through rate or check how your email marketing and automation campaigns stack up against others in your industry, here are our regularly updated Email Marketing Benchmarks.

What drives email marketing engagement?

There are a lot of factors contributing to contact engagement. The more time you have, the more you can dive into details. However, I’d recommend focusing on the following three:

  1. Relevance: do your contacts find your emails valuable? Why should people subscribe to your email marketing communication?
  2. CTA: do your contacts know what you expect them to do? Do you plan each email with a clear call to action in mind?
  3. Frequency: do you aim at sending the right amount of information? Are you in the sweet spot between not too few and not too many?
clear call to action in an email.
A fragment of an email from School of Calisthenics with a clear call to action.

Look at your email marketing program from these three angles, and you’ll be on track towards an engaging marketing communication.

What is a segmented email campaign?

The mission of effective email marketers is to send the right emails to the right people at the right time. Sending one email blast to all the contacts on your list doesn’t bring the best business results. Today, with all the marketing technology available, this approach is simply not good enough.

One of the techniques that offer a huge leap towards engagement is segmentation. Segmenting a contact list is grouping your contacts based on their characteristics, needs, and preferences.

Careful segmentation allows you to diversify your email marketing communication and send emails relevant to particular groups of contacts.

Take a look at the following example from Movement – a fashion ecommerce brand:

an email using segmentation.

Depending on the behavioral data (clicks), you can determine contact category preferences and create segments accordingly. You can automatically identify and group contacts who are active, e.g., interested in women’s watches or men’s jewelry.

How to segment an email list based on engagement

There are several ways to track contacts’ engagement. If you use a professional email marketing platform, you can add or subtract scoring points based on user behavior (e.g., opens and clicks).

GetResponse automatically identifies and scores the activity of your contacts based on their interactions with your emails. This feature is called Engagement Score. Based on real-time data, we put contacts on a certain Engagement Level, choosing from a 5-step scale:

  • Not engaged – not interested in the sent content at all
  • At risk
  • Neutral
  • Engaged
  • Highly engaged – actively reacting to messages, opening them, and clicking the links.

The Engagement Score will be displayed in the form of a bar under the Search contacts tab, in the column with your contacts names:

search contacts in getresponse, engagement score display.

You can use this 5-step scale to create engagement-based segments.

What can you do with contact segments based on engagement?

Looking closely at the engagement level allows you to find out what’s right and what’s wrong about your email marketing. Dig for insights, and align your communication with your contacts’ needs and preferences.

You can then create emails for each contact group to increase their engagement in a way that will be the most relevant.

  • Not engaged: run a reactivation campaign. Remove contacts that don’t respond for a long time in order to maintain a proper contact list hygiene.
  • At risk: ask them for feedback. Maybe they’d like to change something in your email marketing program.
  • Neutral: find out what makes them click. Maybe you could personalize your communication even more.
  • Engaged: check out why your email communication resonates with these people so much.
  • Highly engaged: some of these folks are your best customers and advocates. Think of how you could reward them (and don’t forget to ask them for testimonials).
competition for the most engaged email contacts.
Running a competition among the most-engaged contacts can be a nice form of saying thanks.

If you want to learn how to reactivate your contacts, here’s a step-by-step guide.

What are the benefits of engagement-based segmentation?

There are many benefits of tracking engagement and engagement-based contact segmentation. Here are three benefits that I find particularly noteworthy:

1. Greater relevancy: draw conclusions from your engagement. What content seems to resonate more? What products are the most popular? Is there anything you can do to improve your communication and target your audience more precisely?

Making hypotheses and running A/B tests to prove them is a great way to improve the efficiency of your email marketing communication.

A while ago, we created a case study with Submission Technology – one of our customers, whose primary goal is to increase member engagement through relevant content. With a high-volume contact list, even tiny details might have a huge impact on the overall performance.

Here’s how Submission Technology’s agile email marketing team runs A/B tests to maintain top performance and deliverability.

2. Increased engagement and loyalty: sending the right messages to the right people is a win-win approach. Your contacts are more likely to open your emails and follow the CTAs. They’re also more likely to stay longer on your email list. These factors directly translate into business results.

3. Better deliverability: the engagement ratio impacts your email deliverability. In other words, if your contacts open and click the links in your messages, it means that they find your content engaging and valuable. In such case, your emails won’t have problems reaching the inbox.

Try out the engagement score yourself

I’m sure that after reading this article, you know exactly what to do to track and use engagement in your email marketing. If you are a GetResponse customer, here’s a link explaining what engagement score is and how you can use it.

If you don’t have a GetResponse account yet, you can start your free trial now and try out all the cool features.

Good luck with increasing the engagement-score!

Irek Klimczak
Irek Klimczak
Entrusted as Content Project Manager at GetResponse, Irek expertly and smoothly runs content marketing projects at all stages of the customer journey in Polish, Russian and English-speaking markets. He possesses more than 6 years of experience in online marketing with a broad teaching background. Irek regularly runs workshops covering digital marketing strategy and tactics, and has delivered presentations at many international events (e.g. Singapore, the US, UK, Poland). You can reach out to Irek and connect on LinkedIn.