The era of engagement management for email senders

One of the key factors that can make a regular email-sender land into spam is lack of engagement. To put it simply, it is the amount of email you send compared to the amount of email opened (along with other metrics like clicks, repeated opens, placement into spam/promotion,…). It helps the spam filter measure the level of interest that your contact list has toward your communication.

And it’s a key metric for inboxing. This is why you should care about managing the engagement of your emailing infrastructure.

The required engagement level to “inbox” is really up to the sender itself, the type of emails, the list origin,… We usually give a 20% unique open rate as a very broad threshold to try to avoid crossing. We typically make sure that our client’s open rate during a warmup or while recovering from a low reputation never goes below this.*

*Some exceptions for transactional emails can apply. Some email notifications like shipping proposals, stats update, activity report can occasionally have low open rates and still land into the main inbox, because of their content and the sending history you will have achieved.

Here are a few tips to help you achieve a better engagement: 

Case 1

An infrastructure sending regular marketing promotion to an opt-in list:

Segment your contact list following the last open date of your subscribers.

We typically use:

– 30 days openers: the highest tier, should usually get 30%+ even on marketing emails
– 60/90 days openers: once you have an optimal reputation, we recommend using this segment to maintain optimal engagement and still a broad reach for your campaigns.
– 180 days openers: this would typically be the limit of which sending is “safe”. We suggest cutting off the email communications and/or spacing them from a  few months to make sure they don’t represent a big portion of your lists.

You can technically email all these contacts, but you want to adapt the frequency of the campaign to each of your tiers.
A suggested sending plan for someone with spam issues:

– 30 days openers: daily emails
– 60/90 days openers: Weekly email. If possible use a “send time optimization” or “throttling” feature to deliver your communication over multiple days. This again reduces the % of low engagement on a daily basis and helps you build back a positive reputation
– 180 days openers: you can try to reach out to these contacts periodically, on a monthly basis, or for specific re-engagement attempts.

– Over this: we recommend either sunsetting these contacts and leaving them alone. Or you can try to reconnect with them, once a year. But really, the open rate of this segment will be bad, so you mostly don’t want them in your infrastructure.

E-commerce sending abandonments flow, purchase notifications & marketing updates

As an Ecommerce you do not have the freedom of choosing entirely who is getting your emails, as part of your traffic will be generated by website behaviors of your subscribers.

To improve your domain reputation when sending emails for an Ecommerce, we suggest:

  1. Reducing the number of follow-ups in your automation flows, the first email of your cart abandonment will typically have a good open rate but the rest can be weighing down on your average open rates.
  2. Target with specific promotions and offer your recent openers, you want to segment your 30 days openers and send them. If your unique open rate is over 30% you should open up your segment to more contact, using 60 or 90 days openers. 
  3. Turn off temporarily the retargeting campaigns to non-openers, or to dormant website visitors.
Case 2
Case 3

Transactional infrastructure sending notifications and app triggered emails

For transactional emails, it’s very hard to channel the traffic toward openers only as you are not controlling the triggering.

We suggest:

  1. Potentially turning OFF some email templates of your library with low open rate and high volume. (i.e shipment notifications)
  2. Setting up a CRON job or a process that will sunset the people not opening these notifications. Offer an easy re-subscribe, or potentially check on them frequently to make sure you didn’t unsubscribe them by accident (for example if their web browser does not let the image be displayed, the tracking pixel can fail to report opens and thus unsubscribing an active contact)
  3. Giving your subscriber the opportunity to unsubscribe to only part of your traffic via the preference center. This can be done when a contact unsubscribes, or at the signup, when the new contact starts using your app.

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