If you’ve never had the misfortune of being ghosted, it’s when somebody you’re dating suddenly cuts all ties and communication with you for no apparent reason. While ghosting is most commonly associated with millennial dating woes, it’s hard not to see the similarity between a promising suitor failing to respond to a text and a once-engaged customer moving your email message directly to their trash folder. While the former can typically be cured with Ben & Jerry’s and Gilmore Girls marathon, having an active customer go dark on you often requires a more complicated remedy (although ice cream can’t hurt). Lucky for you there are steps you can actively take to prevent a customer from ghosting. Check out our tips on how to keep customers engaged:

Treat them as an Equal

The words you choose strongly influence how well a conversation will go. In person, however, if you sense the conversation isn’t going in the right direction, you can make immediate adjustments to get things back on track. This is not so with email. To compensate for email’s one-sided nature, you must consider how your message may be received before you send. The best rule of thumb is to always phrase things in a way that puts you and your audience on equal ground.

  • Avoid language that can be interpreted as bossy, superficial, or misleading.
  • Use language that says “we’re in this together” rather than “I know better than you.”
  • Don’t use subject lines that could be interpreted as misleading.

Keep Things Active

Engagement relies on getting and keeping the customer’s attention—a formidable task considering shrinking attention spans and the increasing expectation of email to not only inform and perform seamlessly across all devices but to also entertain. And just how do you do all that? Try some of these:

  • Incorporate email automation into your content marketing strategy so you can develop and execute intelligently-timed conversations around common engagement scenarios.
  • Include varying opportunities for the consumer to engage with your brand, contribute to a conversation, or respond to an idea. Examples include adding social sharing buttons, and using images and content to draw them in and across the additional brand real estate.
  • Make it easier for them to engage. No matter how good your content is, sending too much at once can be overwhelming. Sending emails as part of a drip campaign gives you several opportunities to nurture across a pre-determined period of time and, asks less of your audience—narrowing their focus and making it easier for them to engage.

Reconsider Your Team and Tools

Take an inventory of who you have onboard, what they do day-to-day and the tools they have at their disposal to get their jobs done. Due to the rise of big data and an increase in marketing platforms, there has been an emergence of several new roles including Content Strategist, Digital Marketing Consultant, and UX Writer (just to name a few). Be sure to read up on these new roles and learn why companies don’t mind investing significantly in finding the perfect candidate for each of these positions. Additionally, it’s important to think critically about delegating technical work to your Technical Account Manager at your email provider so you can focus more on marketing and less on deliverability.

While dating can often feel like throwing spaghetti against a wall, fortunately, email marketing is a bit less random. These 3 tips are a great place to start when thinking about potential ways to keep customers engaged and prevent them from metaphorically “leaving you on read”. So, this year let’s save all this talk of ghosts for Halloween and make unengaged customers a thing of the past.

Happy Halloween!