The 5 Steps to Deeper Engagement

When someone signs up for your email list, that is the best time to send them an email. They have just asked you to communicate with them so they’ll be looking for your name in their inbox! So what should you send them? It’s important to be strategic about how you start the conversation so that you can take them on a journey from interested to deeply engaged.

So let’s take a look at the 5 steps to deeper engagement with your email list!


Step 1: Indoctrination Campaign

An indoctrination campaign is your (second) first impression. The contact has likely interacted with your website or landing page, and they were moved enough by your marketing message to give you their email address. This initial email campaign should be consistent with that message, and help the contact get to know you and your brand better. You will set expectations for all of your future interaction with them!

These emails should excite your new subscriber about their interaction with you. It is a good opportunity to reiterate the benefits they’ll receive as your subscriber – bullet points usually suffice. Good indoctrination campaigns contain:

  1. A warm welcome to your list
  2. The benefits of being a subscriber
  3. What to expect from your emails
  4. A call to action that invites them to take the next step in their “relationship” with you

It’s also a good idea to ask subscribers to whitelist your email address so that they don’t miss future emails and miss out on those aforementioned subscriber benefits! Remind them again why they wanted to sign up for your list in the first place!

After you’ve sent the initial email or two that cover this basic information, you can automate some follow-up emails that give sneak peeks of some of your best content. You can include videos or blog posts that had high interaction when posted, or just the most valuable insider content you have to offer.


Step 2: Engagement Campaign

The next step to deeper engagement is to start sending targeted content to smaller segments of your list based on their activity. For example, you may set up a new campaign that goes out only to subscribers who have opened every email you sent in the last 7 days. You could send these emails only to people who clicked a link in a previous email or filled out a form on your landing page. One really important group to target is people who began taking an action you advertised (i.e. clicked the link in an email) but did not complete the action (i.e. submit the form). Following up with your list based on their activity shows them that YOU are highly engaged and that you’re paying attention to what interests them.

Successful engagement campaigns help to move people who are interested in your brand or service closer to actually making a commitment. That may mean that they become ready to purchase a product or service from you, or they want to interact with your organization in person. Your goal is to remind them of the progress they have already made in the right direction, and give them the next logical step that will move them toward buying in.

Good engagement campaigns contain:

  1. A reminder of the positive action they took
  2. Emotional encouragement – think back to the internal problem you solve, and speak to any objections they may be experiencing about going further
  3. Outline the next step they should take
  4. Ask for commitment – a purchase or deeper interaction with you

Trust your judgment about when is the best time in the relationship to ask for a purchase. Yes, email marketing is about the relationship, but the goal is to grow your business or organization. If you can’t confidently ask for the buy or donation, few subscribers will take that action on their own. Believe in the value you offer and don’t be afraid to remind your subscribers about it!


Step 3: Ascension Campaign

The next step in the email marketing process will ascend your subscribers after they’ve made a first purchase. This campaign catches them immediately after a positive interaction, which deepens the relationship and increases the likelihood that they will make another purchase. It can be a good time to make another offer for additional products or services relevant to what they’ve just just purchased, or let them know of an upcoming promotion.

If you aren’t a direct-sales company, these emails can still be useful to keep your subscribers engaged. For example, if you are a charitable organization, this email would be good to send after someone has made a donation or volunteered to help. You can thank them for their participation in the mission of your organization, put a few drops in their emotional bucket (subtly reiterate how this action relates to their emotional need), and let them know when their next opportunity to give is. For example, for one of our clients Compassion That Compels, this may look like saying thank you for a donation, and then advertising T-shirts and bags at the bottom of the email that are available for purchase.

Ascension campaigns should include:

  1. Congratulate them on the action they’ve taken (but don’t mention what they haven’t done) – build on the positive momentum
  2. Speak to what is going on internally, encouraging them to take the next step
  3. A call to action – this doesn’t necessarily have to be another sale, but should deepen their relationship with you

An ascension campaign should build your subscriber’s interest and excitement, and ultimately turn one-time buyers into repeat buyers. But if you push too hard or only send sales emails your subscribers will become unsubscribers. That’s why it’s important to nurture the relationship you’re building with them. Emails should remind them of the rewards of doing business with you and keep them engaged – that may mean giving them a discount to use on future purchases, or a free value add, or reminding them what other complimentary services are available to them.


Step 4: Segmentation Campaign

A segmentation campaign may be sent to launch an automated funnel or just as a broadcast, it is not triggered by an action your subscriber takes – it is pushed manually. The goal is to gain more specific information about your customer’s interests, and to send more emails to people who are engaging with you. This is the step that takes your contact list from wide to deep – you may only send targeted emails to a short list, but they will be what we call “hot” in the marketing world. That means they’re paying attention to you and primed for purchase.

When you send out the segmentation email, you should have engagement campaigns waiting in the wings to send to people who express interest in each of your advertised topics. If they express interest in more information about women’s health, you should have emails ready to send to them about women’s health when they’ve just volunteered to receive them.

It may seem like emailing fewer people would not be good for your business, but when you are listening to your customers they will be more willing to take further action! It makes more sense to email fewer people about something they are really interested in and will purchase than to email more people with less likelihood to buy.

Here are 3 possible ways to do a segmentation campaign:

  1. Send promotional content that relates to a recent blog post, video, or lead magnet that your customer engaged with
  2. Offer time-sensitive offers such as a flash sale or special promotion related to a specific product or service to expedite their decision making process
  3. Offer a webinar, workshop, or one-on-one call – when someone is willing to invest their time, they’re willing to invest their $$


Step 5: Re-engagement Campaign


A re-engagement Campaign is sent to inactive members on your list of subscribers when they go a certain amount of time without opening any of your emails. The purpose is to invite them to start engaging with you again, enticing them to get excited about what you have to offer. The truth is that not everyone is going to read all your emails, but it is worth trying to recapture their attention before you lose them. You decide how long you want to wait before you target inactive subscribers – it may be 30 days or 60 days or even 90 to 120 days. You want to wait long enough for it to be worth it though – those who do not re-engage will be removed from your list.

A good re-engagement campaign includes:

  1. A reason to re-engage with your emails – you may be direct and ask where they’ve been, or make a special offer
  2. A reminder of the benefits of subscribing
  3. A snapshot of what they’ve missed by not opening your emails lately
  4. A simple call to action
  5. An opportunity to unsubscribe

I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t want to remove people from the list I worked so hard to build!” But of what use to you are these subscribers if they aren’t opening your emails? If they aren’t reading your content, they aren’t deepening their relationship with your brand. They’re simply costing you more for CRM software and slowing down your delivery. The goal is a list with high engagement – not one that’s long.


Using these 5 steps to deeper engagement will help you deepen your relationship with your leads and customers, moving them from merely interested in your brand to being brand promoters. When a subscriber is truly bought in to your brand, they’ll grow your business through being repeat buyers and buy encouraging others to become your customers, too!

Get Marketing Tips Every Monday: