Marketers love positive metrics. High engagement rates, click-throughs, conversions -- the better the numbers in these categories, the more likely the execs in the board room will cheer you on. What about negative metrics: immediate opt-outs, spam reports and people that never engage? As we move into 2013, more and more marketers will begin using negative metrics to help boost performance.
Why? There are lessons to be learned when a user walks away from a brand (opt-out), ignores a message (does not engage) or reports an email for bad behavior (spam). Marketers need to dig into the negative "feedback" to learn how they can better improve their overall campaigns. For example, in addition to thoroughly reviewing immediate opt outs, spam reports and people that never engage email marketers should also focus closely on a few other key factors when it comes to negative feedback. These include:
Content -- Thoroughly review the content and the overall message in welcome emails and subsequent emails to make sure that the message is not only clear, but enticing to potential customers.
Cadence -- Delivery frequency and timing is very important. Marketers should track whether they are sending too many emails or not enough, and also look at the times that people engage and when they don't. These numbers help to better time campaigns for when subscribers/consumers are engaged.
Source -- Focusing on the source of traffic is also important. Marketers should be paying attention to both paid acquisition and search. Track where acquisition dollars are going and whether these dollars are being funneled to the right group of people. If people from a particular source never engage with the brand, it's time to start asking why.
Expectations -- This goes hand in hand with content. Are you setting the right expectation with subscribers from the get-go? Do they clearly understand what they are going to get by opting into an email program? If not, it's time to rework the message.
As marketers begin to rethink their email marketing strategies, expect to see them look more closely at negative metrics and begin implementing more of these insights into improving their overall strategy and campaigns.