Are You Sabotaging Email ROI by Ignoring the Subscriber Experience?
If your YOY performance is declining or stagnant and/or the above scenario sounds eerily familiar, it’s time to take a step back from performance goals and start thinking through the experience you’re crafting for subscribers.
Where to Start
Ideally, all email marketers should be able to answer the following questions, either offhand or through easily accessible documentation and data.
What are your primary points of acquisition?
- Do subscribers entering the program have similar engagement rates or do they differ by point of acquisition? (Note: For deeper understanding, use points of acquisition to review the metrics listed below as well as patterns of disengagement by timeframe.)
What does your onboarding experience look like?
- Do all subscribers have the same onboarding experience?
- Where does (or should) the onboarding experience differ?
- How many emails are included in the onboarding experience?
- What are the creatives and subject lines for onboarding messages? (Note: Be sure to include all messages received upon signup, including all text transactional messages that may be triggered from other systems.)
On average, how many emails does a subscriber receive? (Note: I suggest verifying the actual counts. In my experience, marketers’ estimate of this number is often very different than what it actually is.)
- Are there differences in frequency based on subscriber type, segment, or engagement patterns?
For key segments, what are the average rates across the following baseline metrics?
- Open rate
- Click rate/click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Complaint rate
What are your baseline metrics for the overall subscriber lifecycle?
- What is the average lifetime value of subscribers?
- What is the average duration of the email subscription?
- When does engagement typically wane?
- Does this differ across key segments?
Do different segments or individual subscribers receive targeted, relevant content?
- Does this content change based on subscriber activity, inactivity, or self-reported information?
What percentage of your subscribers have not opened or clicked a message in the last 6 months? 12 months? 18 months? Longer? (Note: Timeframes should be customized based on business model or key inflection points in the lifecycle.)
- What positive and negative engagement metrics are associated with these groups?
What inactivity thresholds have you put in place (i.e., suppression policy based on prolonged subscriber inactivity)?
As a Senior Email Strategist with Return Path, Casey specializes in driving increased engagement and boosting deliverability. Casey has a healthy fixation with helping marketers realize the potential of their email programs by addressing human needs, building better relationships, and ultimately driving improved results for the business. Her nine years of experience and obsession with evolving the email space helped land her a spot on ExpertSender’s list of “25 Email Geeks to Help You Get Your Geek On.”