A Tale of Woe: How to Halve Your Open Rate In One Simple Step

by | Jan 21, 2020

Today, I’m going to share a sorry tale with you…

I’ve been working with one of my clients since August – to preserve his anonymity I’ll call him Fred.

I helped him improve his open rates from 12% to 25% between September and November by focusing his email efforts only on the most engaged part of his list – but that’s not the focus of today’s story.

What I’m sharing today is the story of what happened when things didn’t quite go as he’d have liked.

In December, Fred ran a promotion and sent a bunch of emails to their entire list, including all the unengaged contacts.  The first email to the entire list was sent on the 5th December. Then, two days later, he sent another email to the entire list.

That’s when the scary thing happened. As soon as the second broadcast was sent, on the 7th December, Fred’s Domain Reputation as shown in Google Postmaster Tools dropped immediately from High to Medium, as shown here:

It’s a stark reminder of just how closely Google is watching your email sending practices.  In this case, Fred didn’t get a high number of spam complaints, the only “bad” thing that happened was that his open rate was lower, which you’d expect if you were including all the unengaged contacts in the broadcast.

But the actual impact went beyond having the domain reputation downgraded by Google. The overall percentage of emails opened in December dropped from 25% to 12.9%. The actual number of people opening emails dropped as well. Fred sent more emails than previous months, but had fewer people open those emails. 

You can see what happened to Fred’s open rates here:

(Did he get things back on track? Kind of, but I’ll talk about that more next time…)

What’s the learning here?

Bottom line – stop mailing the unengaged people on your list! If you’ve already stopped mailing the unengaged list, don’t start mailing them again!

If you’re concerned about losing contact with the people who haven’t engaged in the last 90 days, it’s okay to occasionally include them in your regular broadcast, or send a re-engagement campaign to them.

But sending two email broadcasts to your entire list (including the unengaged ones) in quick succession will almost certainly cause you problems, as seen in this tale.

How can I easily manage my engagement?

Our Deliverability Defender software makes it incredibly easy to automate your engagement management.

In particular, the Easy Engagement Management feature will automatically tag your contacts, so you can easily find the most engaged contacts and identify the ones that are no longer engaged.

Then, you can easily target your broadcasts and campaigns to the right contacts based on the tags (updated daily) showing how long it’s been since they last engaged. 

Click here to find out more.