Reputation is a word that comes up a lot when you’re working with commercially sent emails. You have a reputation with Internet Service Providers, you have a reputation with your audience and you might even have a reputation with the company that facilitates your email campaigns (an Email Service Provider, like WebbMail by Webb Weavers Consulting).
Subscriber engagement is measured by how people interact with your emails. You have people who open, click and act upon your email; people who open and skim; people who see it, register who’s sent it, but ultimately delete it; and people who ignore it altogether. These responses help define your reputation with an ISP.
Take a look at your latest mailing’s results. Compare your numbers against industry averages, like the information available at the Email Stats Center. You can get really specific, based on industry or type of email, but to simplify things, you could stick with the current overall averages of 27.4% for your open rate, 4.5% for your click-through rate and 96% for your delivery rate.
Maybe your open and click-through rates fall within industry averages. That’s pretty good, but don’t stop there. Take a closer look at the people who clicked on your email’s links. These people are very important to your success and are likely to be the cornerstone of your good reputation. How can you engage them further? Consider setting up link-based automated emails. Or, depending on the number of folks, this might be a case where personally reaching out is a smart idea.
And what about folks who aren’t clicking or *gasp* opening? Since we’re talking about your reputation here, the truth is that unengaged recipients could be negatively affecting it. Consider sending a special email to folks who haven’t opened or clicked in the last year. Ask them to confirm their opt-in, and remove them from your list if they don’t. That might be hard for you to do, but if a person hasn’t opened or clicked in the last 12 months — and if they aren’t re-engaging now — it’s time to let go. And with WebbMail it’s easy to find the unengaged people on your list by creating a Dynamic Search from the main Audience screen. You can search based upon response history to find your least active members, and exactly who you consider least active is up to you.
Now, you might be saying, “No! I’m not letting go of these addresses. I built this list from the ground up! These people signed up, and they’re mine to keep!” Here’s the thing: “Stale” audience members are setting a bad example for all of the really engaged people who also hold an address at that receiving domain. Think of it this way: You send to 10 people at a domain, one opens and nine ignore it, and this exact pattern occurs once a month for a year. What do you think your reputation is with that domain? Are you a sender of well-received emails, or do you send emails that the average person isn’t interested in? If you want your online reputation to be positive — and if you want to increase the likelihood that your emails will end up in future recipients’ inboxes — it’s time to let go of those old email addresses.
Focus on the people that really love what you do. If you do that, your campaign results will be better for it in the future. You’ll be sending to folks who are welcoming you to their inboxes and your online reputation will get better, too.
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