Why nurturing top engagers is the key to conversion


Having an engaged email following is like having loyal supporters at a football club. Loyal supporters not only buy tickets to every match: they invite their family and friends, sing the loudest and defend their team’s reputation at all costs. In the same way, your most engaged email recipients can become repeat-buyers, encourage their family and friends to try your product or services and advocate your brand proudly on social media. Identifying and nurturing these subscribers can drive website traffic, conversions and sales - but who are they, and how do you go about nurturing them?

The solution, you’ll be relieved to hear, is pretty straightforward. Let’s begin by finding your top engagers.


In essence, you’re looking for the subscribers most interested in your email campaigns. First, cast your net as wide as possible to build a comprehensive list of subscribers who:

  • Open your campaigns
  • Follow your calls to action
  • Purchase from, donate to or support your organisation
  • Visit your website
  • Share your content on social media

This “master list” should be an all-inclusive group, so don’t worry if it includes 80% of your current subscribers. This is just the beginning.  Before you can reap the benefits of a nurtured top engagers list, you will need to refine and segment the master list.


Use A/B Testing to refine and segment your list into subgroups, according to their engagement behaviour. This will further inform you who your top engagers are and what content resonates with your audience. Segment your content based on the following tests:

  •  Test your content – Alter your subject lines and calls to action to find out what attracts the best open and click rates
  • Test send times – By testing time, you can see when your top engagers are most likely to open, click and at what time they are most likely to purchase
  • Offer promotions – You can further track subscriber engagement levels by offering contests, sweepstakes, surveys and discount vouchers, and seeing which draw the most engagement

By testing content type, time and promotions, it will become apparent that different forms of communication appeal to different subscribers at different stages of the customer journey. By creating segments, you can monitor which subscribers are repeat-engagers and therefore worthy of the “top engager” title.  Multiple segmentation methods exist, but simple groupings include age, gender, industry or organisation type, job title and buying frequency.

Once you have a testing system in place and have segmented your email lists accordingly, it should be possible to create top engager personas, which are similar to customer personas, covering age, gender, location, likes and dislikes, interests and hobbies and – most important of all – their motivation for engaging.

Your content should always aim to attract these personas. While they’ll evolve over time, by aiming to always please your top engagers, you’ll ensure the best chance of driving more conversions across the entire business.


You’ve now determined the details of your top engagers and the content that attracts them. Just like our loyal sports supporters, top engagers want to be recognised, involved and appreciated - that’s what we call nurturing. This process will depend on your engagers and what you have learned will appeal most to each segment or list. You may want to:  

  •  Thank them personally for their support
  • Send personalised promotions
  • Offer exclusive time-based discounts
  • Offer them an opportunity to write a guest blog
  • Offer to write a case study on them
  • All of the above

By defining, refining and nurturing your top engagers, you’ll focus your attention on the quality of your email list rather than the quantity. In doing so, your campaigns will be more targeted and personalised, transforming active followers into loyal customers and – eventually – brand advocates.

For more email marketing tips, check out our blog; for one-on-one support, contact Marc.


Picture Credit - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SMU_football_fans.jpg