Even with bots, apps, social media, personalized video and all the rest, email remains a marketing workhorse in B2B. It’s the primary way we communicate with and create experiences for our prospects and customers.

Email is a challenge. There’s almost always something that can be improved, optimized, or fixed. Technology changes. Strategies ebb and flow. Preferences update, too.

Even though we know continual optimization is standard for email marketing, many email programs are governed by what we believe to be true based on stories we’ve been told or stories we tell ourselves. In 2019, we often aren’t managing email in a fully data-driven way.

Measurement always precedes improvement, and the success of any email marketing program should rely heavily on your ability to carefully gauge and understand your successes and your email mediocrities.

Focus on What Matters

There are several data points you could pay attention to in your email program. However, these are the data points that matter most:

Delivery Rate Successful deliveries as a percentage of list size.
Open Rate Number of subscribers who open as a percentage of emails delivered.
Click Rate Number of clicks within an email as a percentage of opens.
Unsubscribe Rate Number of recipients who unsubscribe as a percentage of emails delivered.
SPAM Complaints Total number of recipients who mark the email as “SPAM” or junk for each email send.
Active Ratio Number of email recipients who consistently open and interact with emails as a percentage of list size.
Post-Click Activity The volume of leads generated, products sold, or other brand-specific objectives completed as a result of email marketing to a targeted audience. Note: Metrics for post-click activity are usually available within a website analytics (e.g., Google Analyitcs) or e-commerce analytics (e.g., Shopify) platform.

Email is not a set-it-and-forget it system, even when it’s working. It requires regular maintenance and commands consistent attention. How do you know when your email program is in need of correction? When some or all of the metrics above decrease or increase, depending on the metric. Remember, these metrics need to be gauged over time and with enough email sends for a true pattern to emerge.

When it is time to act, there are distinct measures you can take to fix your email program.

Respond with the Right Remedies

How many of you are dealing with low delivery rates? Low open rates? Low click rates? You’re not alone. These are among the most common email marketing issues, and each of these issues have specific response strategies for improvement.

Here are the remedies for some email’s most widespread problems:

Low Delivery Rate

For low delivery rates, consider using a tool like BriteVerify, DataValidation, or XVerify, to validate your list and get some overall list cleanliness. To have a fantastically effective email program, you need a fresh, engaged audience. Also, take a look at your subscription process. List quality is damaged when your emails show up unexpectedly. Review your subscription sources and confirm your subscribers all expect to receive messages from your business.

Low Open Rate

For low open rates, testing is everything. Test your subject lines to see if you can find something that better resonates with your audience. Here’s one doesn’t get tested enough: Try different “from” names. YourName@company.com or President@company.com can have a big impact.

Low Click Rate

If your click rates are low, think about your content alignment using what I call “The Mom Test.” Your mom is unafraid to tell you the truth, and if your mom, who loves you unconditionally, wouldn’t read an email you have created, no one else will. Make sure mom would love it. Another remedy for low click rates is to look at your call to action in the email itself. Is it clear? Are there too many choices? Does it work on mobile? Make sure your recipient’s next step is obvious.

High Unsubscribes and SPAM Rates

If either of these metrics is high, first look at your subscription process. How are people getting on your list? Do they know what they will receive from you, how often, and when? Also, consider segmenting your list. Relevancy is the killer app, and it is the key to successful email marketing. If your message isn’t hitting the mark, deliver more unique messages to smaller sub-groups. The dividing lines upon which you segment are only limited by the information you are able to collect from your subscribers.

Low Active Ratio

If you have a low active ratio, consider sending a re-engagement campaign to get your subscribers to love your emails again and to weed out the people who no longer care. Remember, subscriber engagement is far more important than list size. List size is a false metric — one that will skew your email marketing metrics.

Low Post-Click Activity

If sparseness is a problem for you here, it’s either because the content between the email and landing page / website isn’t aligned, or your call to action is unclear or misleading. Review your entire send process from your subscriber’s perspective and make sure there is a natural harmony from subject line to email content and everything that follows.

Source: Emma / Convince & Convert

There you have it. That’s how you handle the woes of email marketing with precision and discipline every time. If you’d like a quick hand-out to remember how to manage each of the  most common email maladies, you’re in luck. Print out this table and keep it for reference.


Jay Baer is the founder of Convince & Convert, a Hall of Fame keynote speaker and emcee, host of the award-winning Social Pros podcast, and the author of six books including Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth.


Read more blogs from Jay here!


Jay Baer


Convince & Convert