How to Check The Quality of Your Email Marketing Lists

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How many email addresses in your marketing lists never respond to your messages?

With many email marketing services priced based on how many messages are sent these, having numerous recipients who never even open your emails could result in paying additional cost for email send capacity that isn't needed.

Repeatedly including email addresses in campaigns where no recent action has resulted will hit campaign metrics. Open rates will especially suffer if mailing lists include a significant segment of email addresses that are repeatedly non-responsive.

With the arrival of GDPR in May 2018 and its requirement for specific, unambiguous opt-in this is a segment of contacts that needs attention, either to drive (re)engagement, or to remove these addresses from further campaigns.

Identifying these contacts is crucial and CRM is the starting point.

How to Report Email Action Recency

By connecting Microsoft Dynamics 365 with ClickDimensions, dotDigital, or another integrated email marketing solution, each action will be tracked and reported from every email campaign.

This data can be used to identify which contacts aren’t responding to recent emails. Marketing teams can then take the appropriate action to remove them from mailing lists, or focus on getting these individuals to opt-in for future communications.

The example below shows a ClickDimensions email send record from a recent campaign where no action has occurred. The message has been delivered with no bounce or unsubscribe reported but no click or open actions have been tracked.

Unsent 04

No action taken by a contact in response to one marketing email in isolation isn't a major concern. However, in another example shown below, the history of email sends tracked and reported in Dynamics 365, shows no recent email actions on a contact record:

Send email no eng

In this scenario, a repeated lack of action should be a prompt for attention.

Continuing to include non-responsive emails such as this will drag down campaign open rates. This is one additional marketing email that doesn't need to be sent and it suggests that the recipient has not opted in which would result in non-compliance with the GDPR.

This is just one contact and email address in isolation but how many similar examples are there in your marketing lists?

One method of identifying non-responsive email recipients is to use a series of roll-up and calculated fields that query tracked email campaign data.

On this contact form, a series of automated fields have been configured that display the recency of email actions.

The health quality of a marketing list can be visualized using a Power BI dashboard. In the example below, we have created a chart that segments lists based on the tracked recency of email actions:

Imprints email

Each open or click action in response to email campaign is defined as a imprint. In this example, the latest email imprint is just five days.

The recipient is engaging with the material so all is well. Whether this individual has opted in to the mailing list and this is GDPR compliant will be another consideration but beyond the scope of this post.

This looks at the recency of email data one contact record in isolation. The next step will be to use this data to find contacts in the database where no imprint has been tracked over many months.

Using these fields, filters can be easily applied to create queries for views and dynamic lists which identified engaged and unengaged contacts.

Imprint 07

Of the 1600+ contacts contained in this Dynamics 365 marketing list, an email open or click action within the last 3 months has been tracked for approximately one third of all members.

Further segments enable this data to be queried based on interactions within 6 months, up to 1 year and within 2 years or beyond this period.

A segment of 130 contacts / email addresses are included in this list despite no action being tracked for more than two years.

An accompanying chart has been created to grade the quality of each marketing list based on attentiveness:

Imprint 093

In this example, the engagement rating is poor.

A core of 140 contacts are attentive based on their tracked email actions, and a similar number are broadly attentive, but the biggest segment of email addresses in this list are rated with 'infrequent' attentiveness.

The underlying rule we have set will grade infrequent attentiveness for any addresses when email imprints / actions are tracked for only 1-25% of all the emails sent.

Clicking one of these segments will filter the Recency Segmentation based on this sub-set.

In this instance, clicking the 'Infrequent' attentiveness component drills down the recency display using this criteria:

Imprint 102

This shows more than 40% of the 'Infrequent' total (150 + 143 emails) has seen email actions within 6 months but 259 emails have seen no tracked imprints for 1 year or more. This clearly points to data that will need to be cleansed or archived.

Additionally, there are 358 email addresses where no engagement has ever been tracked, albeit this total may reflect some individual emails that have only recently been added to the database.

Hopefully you've found this a useful example demonstrating how to quickly assess the quality of a marketing list, and use this as the basis to improve campaign metrics, control emarketing costs and progress to GDPR compliance.

Contact Preact if you need any advice in connecting Microsoft Dynamics 365 with ClickDimensions or another marketing automation service, or to develop engagement reports that enable marketers to track the recency of email marketing interactions and improve data quality.

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