(What Gmail doesn't want you to know) The Hidden Factors Influencing Your Email Marketing Success

18 Feb 2014
Best Practices
Ian Marshall

Email Engagement Factors

I was surprised to see the message in my spam folder.

I had signed up to their newsletter about 3 months ago. And sure I hadn't opened up an email from them in a little while. But I WANT to get their messages.

Looking through my spam folder I found even more of their messages there.

They were a legitimate sender. I had gone through the double opt-in process to get on their list - but still the high tech wizardry that runs my inbox was deeming their messages as spam.


The reason is a serious one. Something that I don't see many people talking about. It's something that is happening silently behind the scenes. A new thing that the big dogs like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail are doing now. Something so subtle that most businesses don’t even notice that it's happening.

But it is – and it's impacting your business whether you know it or not.

So what's going on? And what can you do as a savvy email marketer to make some course corrections? Tweaks to ensure you're not blindsided by these quiet and mysterious changes?

First let's talk about what’s going on…

Email Engagement Rates

Quietly behind the scenes major ISP's like Gmail are already using or plan to use a sophisticated set of engagement metrics to determine your inbox placement.

They're looking at Positive Engagement Factors (we list some of them below) and are building a type of sender profile for you.

Gmail (Google) breaks those metrics down into four main categories: social, content, thread and label features

Google themselves said, "Social features are based on the degree of interaction between sender and recipient, e.g. the percentage of a sender's mail that is being read by the recipient,"

They go on to say that, "Content features attempt to identify headers and recent terms that are highly correlated with the recipient acting (or not) on the email, e.g. the presence of a recent term in the subject."

Here's some of the key things that make up positive engagement as it relates to your email marketing campaigns…

Email - Positive Engagement Variables:

•    Clicking on the links in your emails
•    Marking your email as important
•    Moving your messages from the spam folder to your inbox
•    Forwarding your emails to their friends and colleagues
•    Replying to you (so be sure to ditch the no-reply@ and switch it to something like newsletter@)
•    Opening your emails but not clicking on the links within the email
•    Clicking on the link to change their email preferences or address
•    Archiving your emails after opening them for future reference

So what can you do to keep your Positive Engagement Scores HIGH?

Below are some key ideas to help you keep your Positive Engagement Scores High and stay in the good books with ISP's like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc.

1. Send Out Good Stuff
This seems obvious but is often overlooked. In this post we talk about 7 key ideas to having this year be the best year yet for your email marketing. One of the ideas is to "Get Relevant" for your subscribers. Dig deep into what matters most for your community and help them through your newsletter

2. Create A Re-Engagement Strategy
Noticing that some of your subscribers aren't opening your messages as frequently lately? Segment them out from your main list and try and win them back.

3. Remove the Non-Responsive Subscribers
This will probably be the toughest challenge for most marketers. You worked so hard at getting these people onto your list why would you delete them from it? The hard truth is that their non-responsiveness is hurting your business. Your reputation as an email marketer is slowly and quietly notching down in the eyes of the ISP’s. It's gonna be tough but if these subscribers haven't opened a message from you in the last 3-6 months it's probably a good idea to end the relationship.

Email Marketing - The Long Game

Email marketing is one of the best marketing channels out there. In a recent study comparing social vs email marketings effectiveness in aquiring new leads email came out way ahead.

But as with anything - if you want to really be successful at it you need to grind it out daily. Reviewing and tweaking your campaigns, building out new strategies and getting feedback from those people that matter most to your success - your subscribers.

Stumped on creative ways to come up with email content that your subscribers will love? Then check out “The 4 Week Formula to Boost Your Revenue and Make Your Subscribers Happy” which will definitely help. It gives you a simple and effective blueprint that you can implement quickly for your business.

Hope you're having a great week!

The MyBizMailer Team

P.S. Getting fed-up with the prices you're paying for your current email marketing package? Then why not have a look at ours...

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