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How to Build Engagement Immediately

Posted by Phil Davis

December 02, 2015

build-engagement-immediately.jpgWhen you’ve been in marketing long enough, you begin to relate nearly every life experience back to strategies and principles—it’s practically unavoidable. So, when I talk to a client about building email engagement with new subscribers, I always refer back to one specific experience.

Shortly after my wife and I moved into our new neighborhood, one of our neighbors invited us to a Super Bowl party. I was thrilled to watch the big game on a big screen—my wife, not so much. But she was excited to have the opportunity to socialize with our new neighbors.

When we arrived, I immediately snagged a seat near the TV and, from kickoff, I was glued to the game. I wasn’t paying much attention to anything else happening in the room. When I finally glanced up at my wife, I noticed she’d been cornered by one of our new neighbors.

“Who would you like to win the game?” he asked. My wife smiled politely and said, “Honestly, I don’t really like football—I just came for the food.”

What did he do next? Started talking about his predictions for the game, rattling off facts and statistics about various players and his opinion on the teams’ coaches. He wasn’t talking with her, he was talking at her. And all the while, my wife stood there, her patience wearing thin. She caught my eye and gave me her “come save me” look. I should have gone over and rescued her, but I was really into the game. (To my wife: I’m sorry!)

There are actually two small lessons about email engagement we can glean from our Super Bowl party experience:

Don’t Ignore the Information That’s Given to You

Literally the first thing my wife said to this gentleman was, “I don’t like football.” And what did he do? He talked about nothing but football for several minutes straight. She immediately became disengaged and began looking for an out. If he’d been a brand, she would have unsubscribed.

When you obtain a new subscriber, the first thing you need to do is assess all the information you currently have on hand. If necessary, enhance this information with additional consumer data. Define the person behind the email. For example:

  • What are their interests?
  • What is their age?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they buy?

Then, use this information to personalize the experience.

A Bad First Impression May Mean No Second Chance

Although my wife was polite to the neighbor, smiling and nodding along to his comments, it was obvious she wasn’t interested in what he had to say. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick up on these social cues. The result? From that point forward, my wife avoided the neighbor. If she saw him out and about, she would cordially dodge his attempts at conversation.

If he’d stopped and taken a moment to assess her facial expression and body language, he would have been able to tell she didn’t want to talk about football anymore. He could have changed the subject or allowed her to steer the conversation toward a common interest. If so, the outcome could have been much different.

When it comes to email, it’s about making that good connection right out of the gate and planting the seeds for continued engagement. When someone offers their email address, that’s when they’re most likely to open the next email. If you’re unable to make a good impression from the first email, you may not have another chance.

Conclusion

The fact of the matter is, email isn’t about you—it’s about your customers. You should only provide offers and information they’d be interested in based on the data you have. If you use the information you have and strive to make a good impression, your new subscriber will be more likely to engage in the future.

A great first impression requires the right data. Discover demographics, interest, purchase history and more with a free trial of InstantData!

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