by Anna Wybieralska Aug 22, 2019

I’m sure you know the ongoing internet joke “There are two types of people…” and you identify yourself with one or the other.

For example, people who tuck their shirt in their pants or those that don’t, or this whole debate about toilet paper. They are pretty accurate and furthermore - they categorize us in a very simple way clearly showing who we are or how we behave. But did you know that we can categorize email recipients using the same method?

The way I see it - in every business, you can divide your email subscribers into at least four categories. The Responders, the Newbies, the Ghosts and the Left on Read. Ideally, you would like to have your audience to be only Responders, active members of your subscription list that interact with you and your business. But unfortunately, we can’t always get what we wish for and we have many different types of subscribers on our list.

So, how do we make the most of it? Let me show you some ways to boost the response rate from your audience, whatever type they might be.

Table of contents

1. The Responders

2. The Newbies

3. The Ghosts

4. The Left on Read

1. The Responders

This is probably the easiest group that you need to maintain. These are your loyal recipients that click on your email, go to your website and support the business by purchasing from your store. However, it’s very easy for a Responder to switch to a Left on Read or even a Ghost if your content is not picking up their interest. In order to keep them in your active list, you need to care for them and maintain good relationships. Don’t shy away from a rewards program for the most active users or sending promo codes from time to time as a thank you for their interest. You should also set up analytics that will show you what the users are looking for on your page. From there, it’s very easy to set up personalized emails that will keep them on your active list.

2. The Newbies

These are essentially all your newcomers that subscribed to your newsletter or email. The goal is, of course, to give them what they want and keep them so they will become your Responders. The best way to have them “upgrade” is to capitalize on this new relationship to the fullest.

First up, you could set up discounts catered toward your new subscribers. Once this is done, you can send a welcome email with this code as a nice subscription-warming gift. You also want to make this Newbie a permanent addition on your active list and boost your response rate. It's best if the link you send along in this email is backed by analytics. This way you will be able to check which pages they looked at on your website and then send them targeted messages. You can even set up automated triggers to do this for you. It will keep them interested in your content and make them an active part of your Responders list. Great way to improve response rate.

3. The Ghosts

This group is the people that look through their inbox never opening any emails they initially subscribed to. It can be frustrating. It feels like your time and money are wasted and eventually you reach the conclusion that this group might never open your email. How ever you're going to boost your response rate with them? Before you get tempted to strike them out of your list, try to give them one final chance. Send them a re-confirmation email. In this email, you can simply ask them if they still wish to be subscribed and receive your newsletters. As these are the people that don’t usually open emails, make sure that you have a catchy, straight to the point title. “Re-confirm your subscription”, or “Still interested in our emails?” are good examples. It will urge them to take action; and any action, in this case, is good news.

If they do open the email and reconfirm their subscription, that’s great! You can send them a follow-up email with offers that could be of interest. You could even make the re-confirmation link guide them to a simple poll, where they can give you some answers regarding their expectations. That way you can kill two birds with one stone - get some clarity and improve your email newsletters. On the other hand, if they never click on the link, you can simply strike them off of your list. This also improves response rate boost (statistically). You can check out our article about the unsubscribe option and it’s benefits if you are not convinced that losing some subscribers might actually be a good thing.

4. The Left on Read

I believe this is the more curious group of all of the above. These are the recipients that opened your email but never clicked on any link or visit your website. They never purchased anything or even did so much as browse through your offers. To keep it short, your email is being seen but it doesn’t create any traffic. This group is a bit of a blank slate. It’s hard to grasp why they subscribed if there is nothing on your page that interests them. In my opinion, the best way to fix this issue is to simply ask.

Create an email with an online survey where you ask what type of services or products they would like to see. You can make your questions as specific or as vague as you like - but remember to keep it short. Lengthy surveys are not very popular. The recipient quickly gets bored or discouraged when they see 20 open questions they need to answer. Using the survey, you will be able to pinpoint what this group is looking for and cater to their needs and whims better. By gathering data, you can set up a targeted campaign that will make them visit your website and take a look around. Maybe they’ll even purchase something they like. It will also give them a sense of belonging and that their opinion is appreciated and that is always a good look for your business.

These are roughly the four most common types of groups you can find among your recipients. Managing and guiding them towards your active group is essential in boosting response rate, so check back on your analytics often. You can use Elastic Email to help you with segmentation and personalization. This way setting up targeted emails will be a breeze! If you would like to get inspiration for emails that can spike the interest of your already active audience, I strongly suggest to check out our 7 ideas for post-sale emails article that will definitely give you some great ideas!

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Anna Wybieralska

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