How to Use Dynamic Engagement Targeting to Improve Email Deliverability

It’s no secret: Sometimes deliverability experts and email marketers disagree — occasionally to an extreme. Perhaps you’ve heard, or participated in, a conversation like this one:

Deliverability expert: “If you want to deliver to the inbox, stop sending to recipients who don’t open or click your messages.”

Email marketer: “We lose a lot of revenue if we don’t mail to those recipients. Someone needs to be responsible for that.”

There’s truth to both perspectives. Yes, engagement is playing an increasing part in overall inbox deliverability. Likewise, inactive recipients can — and often do — represent a significant part of overall revenue for email marketers.

Some email marketers and deliverability experts try to find balance by using a broader definition of “active,” perhaps including recipients who have opened or clicked on one of their emails in the last 12 months or longer. But this isn’t always enough; even long-dead “zombie” addresses that haven’t responded in 18 months or more can present a small but substantial revenue opportunity. But how do you reach them without damaging your sending reputation?

What if you could email recipients at the optimum frequency for their engagement levels, without requiring them to take action to select a frequency preference?

If a recipient is interested enough in what you’re sending to open a daily email, why would you miss that opportunity by only emailing them weekly? Strong engagement improves your sending reputation and presents a revenue opportunity.

Yet daily is too often for the recipient who only opens one message or two messages per month. Sending that often is likely to result in increased complaints and unsubscribes, and may result in future email marketing revenue loss for that recipient.

Likewise, a recipient who hasn’t opened in 18 months may still be worth mailing occasionally, but certainly not at the same frequency as your daily or monthly recipients.

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  • jbollinger_drh

    Nice article Evan. Some logical ammunition for us deliverability experts as well as for those marketers in the trenches trying to find a compromise that upper management will buy into.