Why should I care about email response rates?

why email open rates matter

Way too many email experts will explain only half of the importance of maintaining a clean, accurate mailing list. They’ll tell you weeding out disengaged subscribers and removing unused addresses will increase your open rates, and improve metrics overall.

But… why? Why is that a good thing? Sure, the percentage of people who open your emails will increase if you stop sending to non-responders. But this metric has no bearing on the actual total number of responses you’ll receive, so why should it matter how many people you don’t send your email to?

AGENCY H Inbound can help you increase your email deliverability and nurture contacts into leads — and ultimately sales.

Maybe my question isn’t clear. Increased engagement and open rates sounds like an obvious bonus, so what exactly am I asking? Let me provide a rudimentary example:

Let’s say every month you send an email newsletter to ten recipients. And every month, your email receives one CTA click from a recipient named WaffleKing99. WaffleKing99 is the only person on your address list who opens, reads, and clicks on your email (and he does so consistently. I guess this person could be a “she,” but the word “King” makes you think otherwise).

After noticing this pattern, you decide to remove the other nine contacts from your mailing list. Great! Now you have 100% open rates and click through rates! That’s amazing!

But your emails are still being read by only one person, and you’re getting the same number of total clicks. Has your business grown? No. Are you cutting costs by sending emails to fewer people? Not really, emails are basically free* to send.

(*Some email clients will charge you based on the size of your sending list, but this caveat doesn’t apply to everyone, and I’m trying to simplify my example anyway.)

So why does it matter that you’ve cleaned up your contacts list? Why bother putting in the effort?

The answers to this question mostly relate to email deliverability. In general, lower open rates will negatively impact your next email’s ability to find your contact’s inbox.

Low open rates can affect your sender score

A Sender Score is a metric coined and calculated by Return Path that rates the credibility of every outgoing mail server IP address with a score of zero to one hundred. If email recipients report numerous complaints of spam or frequently unsubscribe from a specific IP address, that email server will receive a low Sender Score. Furthermore, email service providers (ESPs) will often change abandoned email addresses into spam traps, which can further lower your Sender Score, or even place your mail IP on a blacklist.

In turn, ESPs will evaluate your Sender Score before deciding on what action to take with your email. A high Sender Score will basically guarantee that your email will reach a recipient’s inbox. A low Sender Score might cause your email to trigger a spam filter.

To return to my earlier example, let’s assume you don’t remove those other nine contacts from your list. There’s a high chance they will unsubscribe from your mailing service, or even mark your email as spam, which will reduce your sender score. This lower Sender Score lowers the chance that your next email will successfully find WaffleKing99’s mailbox, and you might lose your one and only reader.

In short, failure to clean out your contact list periodically can prevent your future emails from reaching the intended inboxes, including the inboxes of loyal followers who routinely open your messages. Remove dead email addresses and keep an eye on your bounces.

Need help connecting with your contacts and leads through email? Well, that happens to be one of the primary focuses of inbound marketing! Contact AGENCY H Inbound today to discuss how an inbound marketing strategy can help your business send the right message to the right contacts at the right time.