deliverability
Created on:
July 20, 2015

The Rules of Email Engagement

We’ve all heard about the email marketing buzz word “engagement” in several contexts. All leading up to the final desired outcome of customer interaction - preferably with a positive reflection in the revenue stream. However, interaction implies a two-way communication, which up until now was slightly skewed with marketers sending emails with various calls to action to their customers with little or no feedback except perhaps for the dreaded “report this as spam”. After all, a spam complaint is considered a classic example of an email engagement metric or user interaction, albeit a negative one.

Some might argue that most successful marriages are based on one partner leading the conversation with the other nodding, murmuring or providing an occasional one word response. Let’s not digress from email engagement in the marketing environment, which is evolving with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) defining new and insightful ways of user interaction.

We know that ISPs and others are already using various metrics derived from the following key questions:

  • Do users open messages from the sender?
  • Do users click on links coming from the sender?
  • Do users take any action, such as marking emails that had appeared in the Junk Folder as “not spam”?

The results of these metrics lead them to determine the “Sender Reputation”. Nonetheless, there are other elements that can also contribute toward it. For example, whether the email is a known contact, if the email was part of a list that included spam traps, and/or if there was a relatively high rate of spam reported. However, these elements can easily be fixed by actions that occur much earlier in the email-marketing lifecycle. In fact, it begins at the point of data collection. How the data is collected, verified, and the choice that is provided to the user when supplying their information/data is the start of any successful email marketing campaign. This makes up a large portion of how well the email is ultimately received by the user. Therefore, the email campaign’s performance and user interaction in turn impacts the Sender Reputation.

Some additional elements that contribute to the Sender Reputation are the email frequency and volume, which of course plays a role in the overall email deliverability. This also includes how long the sender has been engaged in sending the emails. Building the email list with genuine user interest, retaining user interest through engaging messages to drive them to action (opens, clicks, forwards) and doing it consistently all of the time can make or break an email marketing campaign. The entire email engagement process requires patience and diligence. As with most important things in life, things worth doing are worth doing right, and there just aren’t any shortcuts. Once a campaign has been deployed, the work doesn’t stop since opt-outs, bounces, lifecycle segmentation and other filtering needs to be taken into account. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail are continuously measuring engagement and disengagement in overall and individual level folder placement decisions (Inbox folder, Junk Mail folder, etc). Most ISPs can help in these endeavors thankfully. However, when a company’s Sender Reputation is at stake and with the rules evolving constantly, staying on top of your email data collection methods, making sure you have consistent visibility of your own email campaign stats and ensuring you have a baseline for measuring both positive and negative engagement metrics will separate the rulers from the rest.

BriteVerify delivers real-time email address verification solutions that improve email data quality, Inbox deliverability, and email marketing ROI. BriteVerify is proud to be a global leader in providing the highest quality email verification and real-time email validation with 15,000+ clients in over 125 countries. For more information on BriteVerify’s email verification solutions, please visit BriteVerify.com.

Rozina Hussain
Rozina Hussain is the Director of Product at BriteVerify. Client relations experience and solutions development with a decade of experience at BriteVerify. Enjoys bringing to life varied blends of ideas and seasoned tactics with experience on both technology and client-side teams. (Continuously answering “why” from 3 to 63 year olds with patience only acquired through pure grit. )