Email marketing is hopefully just one of the many ways that you engage with people through your brand.
It’s a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to inform your potential customers, of all the happenings that are taking place across your company. With just a single click, potential buyers around the world can receive the same message, removing the potential of human error in individual interactions.
However, email campaigns are only useful if they have subscribers.
Out of your subscribers there can be those 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 are crucial to helping you define your company’s reputation both with your audience and the wider market at large.
How do you measure?
Generally, you should be aiming for open rates that exceed 20%, preferably by a wide margin. Across the board, industry averages vary year to year, but 20% is a good benchmark to hit. It is nearly impossible to reach everyone at their best time. However you should do everything you can to ensure you have a core of dedicated subscribers you can rely on to show interest.
You need to ensure that you do not view each mailing campaign in isolation. Take the time to regularly compare your latest mailing's results to similar mailings from the past. Ensure that there is both consistency in engagement, and hopefully, an upward trend. If you do have one campaign that performs noticeably better or worse than the others, identify what you have done in that campaign to cause the change.
If you’re averaging open rates below 20%, it may be worth re-evaluating the content you are using. This can be done either in-house, or if by using an external company. If you see a downward trend or if your average open rates are below 15%, it’s safe to say that your reputation is an issue.
How to repair a damaged reputation?
Start with the positives. Even a low open rate means that someone was interested in what you were saying! Focus on those people and try to build relationships with them.
However, when looking at the remaining subscribers who haven’t opened your emails, focus on the data. If subscribers have been on your mailing list for 6/12/18 months without engaging, it may be time to cut them loose.
Why not send a final, tailored email to those who haven't engaged with you in the past 18 months. You could ask them to confirm their opt-in, update their details, or even simply ask them what they are looking for. If they do not reply, you can legitimately remove them from your list. A smaller, engaged audience is far more useful to your business than a larger, disengaged one.
Once you’ve cleaned cleansed your list and improved your reputation, it is crucial that you maintain it. This is a process that begins when you receive their email address and ends when they opt out (so, hopefully never).
- Set clear, realistic expectations for the content and the frequency of the messages they will receive.
- Focus on subscriber feedback, and engagement rate, and use that data to plan your future campaigns.
- Be personal! Email Marketing, and your brand's reputation, only work if the reader feels like they gain something from it.
If you want to ensure that your online reputation remains positive, focus on the people that regularly engage with what you do, and tailor your emails to convert casual interest into dedicated attention. As you build a Minimal Viable Audience that shows interest, you increase your chance of making great impressions on new subscribers right from the start.