Email Responsiveness scores keep your marketing effective

There’s a small tweak you can apply to your email marketing to make it more effective, more ethical and more profitable. The tweak is to incorporate an Email Responsiveness score into the routines that send out your emails.

We could have used a po-faced prof to support email responsiveness but this is more fun

We could have used a po-faced prof to support email responsiveness but this is more fun

Here’s how your routines probably work at the moment:

  1. An automatic routine sends out an email according to a schedule that suits your customers.
  2. The same routine tracks what recipients do on your website in response to the email.
  3. Scores are added to a recipient’s record so you know what they’re interested in.

And that’s a great routine. You’re recording what your recipients are interested in so you can i) pass relevant leads to your sales team, and ii) adjust what you promote to them in future.

Simple though it is, it’s a million times better than most of the spray-and-pray email programmes we’re used to receiving (and ignoring).


Introducing Email Responsiveness

But let’s enhance it with Email Responsiveness. It’s just two extra steps:

  1. Adjust the recipient’s Email Responsiveness score according to what (s)he did with the email:
    1. A link click gets +3.
    2. An open gets +1.
    3. No action gets -1.
  2. You then setup a separate automation that monitors everyone’s Email Responsiveness scores:
    1. When they reach -3, send them a “do you still want our emails?” message. Promote your most popular pages to demonstrate the kind of content that other customers appreciate.
    2. When they reach -6, unsubscribe them.


Adapt the numbers and thresholds to suit yourself.

You don’t have to adjust your scores by +3, +1 and -1. It’s not divine law. It’s just our experience. We give a link click +3 instead of +2 because they’re hard to get. If you leave it at +2, a reasonably valuable recipient could find themselves bounced prematurely. But that’s just our opinion.

It’s the same with thresholds. We unsubscribe people at -6. That means they’ll have to ignore at least 6 emails in a row to get bounced out of our programme. If they had responded to enough emails to build a positive score first, they’d have to ignore even more to get unsubscribed.

But if you think our threshold is too low, you can set your thresholds at -5 and -10. It’s up to you.


Email Responsiveness makes you more effective.

Your email programme will be more effective because Email Responsiveness scores weed out non-responders. There’s no point sending emails to somebody who never opens them. They probably never even see them. They’re sifted out by the corporate spam filter.

All those recipients do is reduce your open rates and click-through rates. If your marketing performance is measured by one of these metrics, you don’t want non-responders in your database.


Email Responsiveness makes you more ethical.

Why does the world hate email marketing? Mainly because, like many types of outbound marketing, it interrupts our lives with junk we don’t want to know about.

So fix it.

Email Responsiveness is one way to make sure you only send emails to people who actually want to receive them. And you do it without forcing them to use the Unsubscribe link. You do it for them based on their activity (or lack of it).

Combine that with a scoring system that understands what people are interested in and you have an email programme to be proud of. You’ll deliver relevant leads to your sales department and display ethical standards the Pope would envy.


Email Responsiveness makes you more profitable.

We did some consulting work for a company that used a very well-known email marketing system. We won’t name it but you’d know the name. This platform’s pricing structure meant that our customer was paying a significant chunk of change every month just to send emails. This amazed us. We thought broadcast costs had dwindled to insignificance. If you’re using a platform like that, you need to reduce costs by weeding non-responders out.

You may be thinking that weeding a few non-responders out isn’t going to change the size of your database much. You’d be right. Sort of. Once you’re up and running, Email Responsiveness scores will only drop a few recipients every month. But when you first activate them, they’ll go through your database like the Grim Reaper in a war zone.

Does that sound bad? It’s not. The recipients you’re dropping are dead to you anyway. They’re not listening. The procedure you setup proves that. If you’re still worried, set the unsubscribe threshold at -10.


No database cleansing.

A side benefit of using Email Responsiveness scores is that you don’t have to do your annual database cleanse. Yeah, I can hear you laughing. Database cleansing is one of those things we’re all meant to do regularly but how many of us actually do?

Email Responsiveness scores come to your rescue. You don’t have to do it anymore. The system weeds out your unresponsive contacts automatically. That makes your job less of a pain and, in a sense, it boosts your profitability too.



You’ll notice that we use thresholds to unsubscribe contacts. We don’t delete them (unless they ask us to, of course).

This means you could setup an extra automation to contact people a year after they’ve been unsubscribed and see if you can revive them. Tell them about great things you’ve done recently. Show them your most popular web content.

This is a step in Email Responsiveness journey that we haven’t activated ourselves yet. You know what they say about cobbler’s children. But we will get around to it. One day really soon.


But it’s not so good for B2C.

If you operate in B2C (business-to consumer) as opposed to B2B (business-to-business), email responsiveness might not work so well for you. B2C email providers are blocking the ability to see whether recipients click on links. They can do this in one of two ways:

  • They stop all ‘click’ reports getting back to your email marketing or marketing automation system. This will cause somebody’s email responsiveness score to fall and, ultimately, drop them off your distribution list.
  • They send a ‘clicked’ response back for every link in every email. This will cause the email responsiveness score to rise continually, creating an unrealistic impression of how responsive they are.


Next steps.

  1. The DIY route. If you want to put Email Responsiveness into action, you need:
    1. A marketing automation system. You need a platform that can send emails, watch what people do on your website and record scores based on that activity. We use Zoho Marketing Automation but HubSpot, Salesforce and a host of other platforms will work just as well.
    2. A new numeric field for Email Responsiveness.
    3. Adjust the automations that send out your emails so that they update the Email Responsiveness score after each email has been sent.
    4. Add an automation that checks the Email Responsiveness score and reacts when it reaches the alert and unsubscribe levels.
  2. The Assisted route. If you don’t have the time, people or system to do this yourself, well, that’s what we’re here for. Give us a call. We’re surprisingly friendly.

Remember, Forbes Baxter Associates is a marketing development agency so we develop your in-house marketing skills while we help you grow your business.