Get Better Inbox Delivery by Focusing on Email Engagement


Internet Service Providers (ISPs) take email engagement very seriously. In fact, engagement metrics have become the leading determinant of whether an email message reaches your target’s inbox, bulk, or spam folder.

The importance of creating highly relevant and valuable email content has become the key to keeping recipients opening, reading, and clicking through your emails. Engaged recipients may only represent a small percentage of your list, but they have the highest value to your organization. It is your job to find out how to get them to actively engage with your content. Typically, if they open your message, it is because they are familiar with you and trust you.

Engagement is measured in a number of ways, the most basic being the unique open rate of the message. A recognizable From: address and good subject line are the biggest contributors to an increased open rate. Bear in mind that many email clients, especially mobile clients, display a preheader or a short summary of text that follows the subject line when an email is displayed in the inbox. Generally, the preheader is borrowed from the first line of text in your email message. Use this opportunity to grab the attention of your audience with a strong call-to-action.

After the message is opened, your content must engage the subscriber immediately. The average adult’s attention span is down to just 8 seconds; that’s how long you have to grab your subscriber’s interest. Make sure links and calls to action appear throughout your message, especially above the fold. Clickthrough rates are a big indicator of engagement.

Sending a message that has high open and clickthrough rates and minimal unsubscribes and complaints is great. However, it’s the tracking of these metrics over time that enables you to monitor your recipients’ email engagement. In fact, ISPs filter by engagement behavior, introducing new criteria that marketers need to measure such as: messages being read and then deleted, messages deleted without being read, and messages being replied to. ISPs even monitor how frequently messages from a sender are received and read.

As a sender, you need to focus your efforts on creating engaging, relevant and timely content. Bottom line, if your subscribers are engaging with your content, your clickthrough rates, conversion rates, reputation and deliverability will improve. If you are not engaging them and they are deleting messages, marking them as spam, or unsubscribing, your sender reputation will suffer and affect your overall email deliverability.

You might also be interested in reading Delivering Engagement: The Content-Value Exchange.

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