How to use engagement ratings

8 minute read

engageYou’ve probably noticed the Audience segmentation page in your account, and hopefully you’ve had a play around with it. Now you can send to people in a certain area, of a certain age group, or depending on how many cats they’ve owned – if you’ve gathered that information about your subscribers of course!

One of the exciting new features of audiences is the engagement ratings. Our clever algorithm assigns a star rating to your recipients depending on how they interact with your campaigns – whether they eagerly await your emails and click all of the links, or whether they glance over your company name in the inbox without too much interest. As well as being able to see how your email marketing efforts are paying off with your subscribers, there are various ways you can use engagement ratings to best interact with them. Here are a few ways you can best make use of engagement, based on the star ratings.


1-star subscribers: re-engage

The situation:

Let’s face it – you can’t please everyone. These 1-star subscribers are receiving your emails but they aren’t opening them. In a worst case scenario, you’re paying to store and send to people who never see your content and aren’t giving you any return on investment. But using the other features of Audiences, you can take this opportunity to really get to know these people and make sure you’re talking to them about what they’re really interested in.

What you should do:

Create a data capture form that asks questions relevant to your brand – what kind of shops do they like? What films do they watch? What kind of bars do they like to go to? Then, add a link to this form to your campaign, and give the campaign a compelling subject line. Create an audience to target your 1-star subscribers and send out your campaign to them. Hopefully the recipients will update their own preferences using the form, and you can then use subscriber data to target them about the right films, food and shops to interest them.

Bonus points:

Use personalisation to pre-populate the form with the information you already have about your subscribers, so that they don’t have to take too long to fill out the form. You could think about including a more prominent ‘opt-out’ link in your campaign too, allowing people who just aren’t interested to unsubscribe themselves.


2-3-star subscribers: persuade

The situation:

When people sign up to your mailing lists, they come in at a 3-star engagement. This is where they’ll stay if they remain an ‘average’ subscriber. They are interacting with your campaigns if they are particularly compelling or if they have time, but on busy mornings or when they don’t have time, yours might be among the emails to go in the bin unread.

What you should do:

You may be tempted to spend your energy on re-engaging with your one-star subscribers, but the key with your average-ratings is that they have potential to become top-rated easily. They are clearly interested in something you have to offer, so it might not be that your content isn’t engaging. Maybe something else is holding them back from the relationship.

Take a look at what these recipients are already getting from you. How often are you sending to them? Maybe after they’ve opened the first email on Monday morning, the fifth they’ve received by Tuesday lunchtime is a bit much. How recognisable is your ‘from’ name? Maybe they’ll only open those coming from a name they recognise, and if you change this too often they might be confused. Are your subject lines too long, or not clear enough? A long and winding subject line may be overlooked, but “This week’s best-selling books” tells you exactly what to expect from the email.

Bonus Points:

Something else to consider for your middle-of-the-road subscribers is how small changes to your campaigns might make a big difference to their engagement. You could use split testing to try variations on your subject lines, ‘from’ address or calls to action and see whether these factors have an effect on engagement.


4-5-star subscribers: reward

The situation:

These guys love what you’re doing. They open every email, and not just out of habit: they also follow your links to see more content. It’s likely that you’re already targeting them quite precisely, so that they’re receiving exactly what they want to read about.

What you should do:

It’s great when people take time out of their busy email-checking schedules to spend time on yours. It’s even better when they follow through with that to spend money on your brand. As ever, email marketing is a two-way street, so this is a great way to reward these people and make them feel special.

Create an audience to target your 5-star subscribers. Then create a campaign with some kind of offer – maybe a voucher code they can use on your website, a printable coupon they can bring to your store, or exclusive entry to a competition you’re running.

Bonus points:

If you’re precisely targeting these subscribers already, then you can use the information you have about them to customise their rewards even more. If they’re interested in a certain brand, send them money-off vouchers for the new range. Do they live close to a certain venue? Maybe they’d like early-bird access to tickets to upcoming gigs or events.


Engagement may at first seem like a mixed barrel – for all those 5-star subscribers you’re bound to have a handful of 1-stars. But the important thing is that engagement isn’t just an analysis tool – it’s an opportunity. And if you know the right ways to use it, one-star subscribers are just as much of an opportunity as 5-stars.