Five Stages of Recovering from Low Read Rates

In email marketing, engagement depicts subscriber activity with an email. And what is further indicative of engagement than an email being read?

The read rate enables marketers to identify successful campaigns that take subscribers’ interest from the failed campaigns that are neglected (not deleted, opened without reading, etc.). The read rate varies from the ordinary open rate in that it does not require a pixel to fire to record an open, making it more specific as it accounts for all email viewed, despite image rendering.

Mailbox providers use a mixture of positive and negative engagement metrics—like the read rate—in addition to other ‘hidden metrics’ when determining if an email is spam or legitimate:

  • Positive engagement happens when a subscriber reads an email, and replies to an email, clicks a link, or saves an email from the spam folder.
  • Negative engagement happens when a subscriber removes an email without reading it or marks the email as spam.

Low Read Rates Recovering

See a trend there? Let us talk about it! Greetings to the five stages of recovering from low read rates.

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation

Sometimes, those in the pre-contemplation stage have yet to find out that the problem still exists—or they have to admit to themselves that they are facing a problem. Knowing the information and acknowledging that low read rates are having an influence on your deliverability leads to the next level of stage recovery: contemplation. Marketers can move on to the next stage of level once they have analyzed and collected their subscriber data and recognized that there is potential for growth.

Stage 2: Contemplation

At this point, the marketers have admitted they need to make changes, but they are not only striving to understand the root cause of their low read rates and are uncertain how to move forward. It is quite easy for marketers to remain in this stage for months as they start to think about potential courses of action. The end of the contemplation stage is distinguished by a deeper analysis of their email program and considering an action plan. Once they reach to this point, they are prepared for the next stage.

Stage 3: Preparation

Those who have arrived at the preparation stage have made solid plans on how they are going to approach low read rates. When they have committed to a plan of action, they are expected to move on smoothly. But now, they are completely aware of the determinants affecting read rates, of the significance of this metric, and have made relevant observations.

They know from Return Path 2019 Hidden Metrics of email checker benchmark that the average read rate in the year 2018 was twenty-four percent and that their industry has its own benchmark that they should be working against.

Stage 4: Action

This stage of recovery is comparatively self-explanatory. Through the action phase, marketers start the process of implementing strategies and recommendations in order to improve their email program. This stage normally requires the most effort, but it is also one of the most significant. The action stage is the basis for good long-term deliverability.

  • Data is being gathered and analyzed
  • Based on these outcomes, content relevancy is being improved to meet subscribers’ expectations and needs better.
  • Mobile phone rendering is being optimized to make certain that subscribers using a mobile device are having a seamless experience while reading the email.
  • The subject line is compared to trending subject lines in the same or all enterprises and is being tested in Return Paths’ Subject Line Optimizer.
  • Lists are being segmented with various tests (frequency, send time,etc.) being performed. Even some emojis are thrown into the subject lines to grab attention.

Stage 5: Maintainance and Best Practices

One of the most neglected phases may be the maintenance stage. Recovery takes a quite amount of time, dedication, and hard work—it is a process, not a single event. At the end of the action phase, every marketer should move into maintenance, continue practices, and be mindful of their read rates, among other metrics and success indicators.