Do you like being ‘ignored’? – Neither do I. But what does that mean in terms of email? As you can get an idea from its name, the deleted before reading rate, also be referred to as ‘ignore rate,’ measures how often your recipients proceed to remove the email you have sent without reading it. The ignore rate is measured by taking the total number of unread emails deleted out of the total emails sent.
A higher ignore rate may signal a disengaged user and can be considered a sign of a low-performing campaign. It can also be either an indicator of permission issues or a lack of satisfaction and engagement with your overall email marketing program. In 2018, the average overall deleted-before-the-reading rate was 16 per cent, with each industry experiencing different averages of their own.
From a mailbox provider’s point of view, a high deleted-before-reading rate indicates a lack of interest in your emails, and can result in future messages being filtered to the spam folder. And that is not where we should be.
So let’s talk about what you can do to make the content desirable for your subscribers in 5 easy steps:
Who is in Your Database? Choosing Audience Wisely
Knowing your subscribers is one of the critical factors in successfully reaching your subscribers. And that starts with building-up a strong subscriber base. Always use the opt-in consent methods as more people will engage with your email if they have chosen to receive it in the first place. Subscribers are also more involved with email campaigns when they get to choose the content they desire and its frequency – so make sure you setup a preference center that your user can update at any time.
Another great way of winning new subscriber’s heart and inbox access is to give them a special offer or discount in the welcome message–who doesn’t love a discount? It’s a good incentive for people to engage with your email early in the relationship, so they look forward to receiving–and opening—future messages from you.
It can also be very tempting to send to people that have been on your subscriber list for a long time, but you run the risk of sending to recycled spam traps, which can harm your reputation.
List Hygiene: Who will Read Your Email?
First things first suppress unknown users after one hard bounce. Mailbox providers bounce an inactive email address as an unknown user for a limited time before turning some of them into a recycled spam-trap. If you do want to send emails to people who have previously subscribed to you, do it smartly. You can implement a re-engagement strategy and incentivize them to reengage with special offers or discounts, usually called re-engagement or win-back campaign. Another method to reengage these subscribers is by sending a re-permission campaign asking them to reaffirm their consent and preferences.
At the end of the day, if subscribers no longer want to receive your email, it is better for them and your email program if they unsubscribe entirely. It is better to have them unsubscribe instead of getting dormant, deleting your emails without reading it, or marking your emails as spam. Having a clear and easy unsubscriber process is also a pivotal element.
Content: What will Your Subscribers Read?
What is the first thing your subscribers see in their inboxes?–Your Subject-line. Using a well-crafted subject line and pre-header is a great way to motivate your subscribers to open your email and not delete it without properly reading. Make good use of any exclusive offers you might have at a given time and present a sense of urgency, e.g. a limited time offer, to create a very strong call to action for your subscribers.
Beyond the subject lines, opening an email once and seeing precisely the content that was expected is an excellent precedent for opening an e-mail from the same sender again. So the next thing you should focus on is making sure your content renders as well on mobile devices and desktop computers. If your email doesn’t execute well, the next email you send will most likely get ignored – perhaps even marked as a spam. Another very effective way of increasing subscriber engagement is to spend time making sure that your email contains interactive content. Take full advantage of interactive polls, Image rollovers, animated GIFs and videos.
In addition to rendering and interactive message content also keep it easily skimmable to make subscribers more likely to continue engaging with it. Many mobile users read emails while on-the-go and don’t want to spend time scrolling a lot of text. Include social sharing buttons to encourage your socially-active subscribers to share the information with family and friends so they can read and engage more with your core message.
The Right Message to the Right Audience
You are more likely to avoid being ‘ignored’ if you send to your subscribers the content they want at the frequency they desire. Use available data to segment your programs based on your subscriber’s purchase history and frequency, current customers, prospects, location, event attendance, online buyers vs in-store buyers, preferences, and other similar demographics. Have a plan for engaging your customers at each stage of the customer lifecycle as they will require different messages depending on where they are in the life cycle.
Testing is the Key
There is not just a singular reason for subscribers to decide not to read a message. The most effective way to understand what their preferences are is to test what they like. To find out what really resonates with your customers, consistently check and measure various elements to optimize your campaign for increased engagement.