The Holy Grail of Email Engagement

Posted by Mary Sohn on

How does your team define email engagement? When I speak with email marketers, they typically define this with open rates and clicks. Some will even track unsubscribe rates and complaint rates to monitor list churn. In contrast, mailbox providers consider “This is Not Spam” votes and replies to be one of the most powerful signals of engagement. Many clients are focusing their attention on Gmail and trying to leverage positive engagement metrics to get their emails out of the spam folder. Here are some notes on how a reply to your email can level-up your email program in the eyes of Gmail.

  1. The reply-to address is automatically added to your subscribers’ address book if they reply.
  2. Having someone reply to your email adds a barrier for subscribers if they try to mark your email as spam.

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And, more importantly, you are opening up one more avenue for subscribers to reach out for support or give you feedback.

Yet, many brands set a no-reply on their marketing emails. Marketing emails have become a one-way communication where subscribers are conditioned to receive messages with no invitation or easy way of communicating back. With every response and reply, mailbox providers can see you are speaking to a real person that you have a real relationship with. Powerful stuff. To close, here are some quick tips on how to leverage this:

  1. Work with your Customer Support team to see if they can handle an influx of support requests if you are to update your no-reply address
  2. Update your email footers with a friendly prompt to “reply to this email if you have any questions.”
  3. Try a sweepstakes where a random winner is selected from subscribers who reply to an email promotion

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About Mary Sohn

Mary brings years of advertising experience to email and views deliverability data from a marketer's perspective. In her spare time, you'll find Mary eating through Canada's best diners, drive-ins, and dives (without the justification of a reality TV show). Follow Mary on Twitter @juenology for a haphazard glimpse into her life as a hungry-for-food email specialist.

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