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Email Marketing by the Numbers: How to Use the World’s Greatest Marketing Tool to Take Any Organization to the Next Level by Ali Sales, Chris Baggott

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Chapter 4. Subscriber Engagement: What Matters?

Many organizations wonder how they should measure email success. The long and short of it is: Either your recipients do something when they receive your email, or they don’t.

I understand that sometimes, interpreting engagement is not that black and white. For example, assume that your organization sends an email to a few thousand people. Thirty percent of the recipients who typically interact with your email do nothing with this specific message. Thirty percent who typically ignore your message interact for the first time. So was the email successful or not? I’m a big fan of suspense, which is why we’ll come back to this at the end of the chapter (in your head, you should hear mystery theme music playing right now).

Back to the customer engagement question at large. To address it, ExactTarget conducted a comprehensive study consisting of thousands of past email programs across a wide variety of vertical industries and millions of subscribers. Additionally, with a few select clients, we conducted a structured six-week test to proactively experiment with the theories developed through the study of the historical data.

The goals of these studies were to determine (based on data):

  • What does customer engagement “look like?”

  • What factors help drive customer engagement?

One of the most glaring issues for email marketers today is dwindling engagement. For whatever reason, people who at one point opted-in and engaged with the email by opening ...

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