Redefining Email Engagement: New Metrics for a New Era (2024)

Are you tired of sending emails that are lost in the void, never to be seen or acted upon?

Emails meant to drive essential action from your customers or prospects – only to receive nothing but silence in return.

You’re not alone. For Customer Success Managers (CSMs), Sales Development Reps (SDRs), and those in Enablement and Ops, this scenario is all too common – and deeply frustrating.

Let’s dig into how to better understand email engagement, and how to improve it so you can hit your numbers.

Email Doesn’t Work Anymore?

It’s always “Email doesn’t work as well anymore” and never “Maybe the way I use email hasn’t changed to match the evolved consumption patterns of Inbox users.”

As of 2023, email still reigns as the primary channel for prospect and customer engagement.

Instead, the trouble lies with how we understand, measure, and enhance email engagement. If you’re ready to break through the silence and drive real action from your recipients, read on.

You’re about to discover a new approach to email engagement that could change the game for you.

Let’s define Engagement

Engagement is when the recipient of your email takes the desired action; this starts with clicking a link or replying to start a conversation.

These actions could include doing something in the app, joining a webinar, filling out a survey, or answering an open question.

They signify an active interaction with your email beyond just opening it.

What is Engagement Rate and Why Does It Matter?

Engagement Rate is your North Star metric for email.

It measures the successful completion of the desired action, not just the click or the conversation started. It’s calculated by dividing the number of Desired Actions Completed by the number of Emails Sent with that Call to Action (CTA).

It’s not about how many people opened your email or clicked a link; it’s about how many people took the action you wanted them to take.

You’ll see this as “goal completion” in systems like Intercom.

Moving Beyond Open Rate and Click-through Rate

Open Rate has become a useless metric for email due to inconsistent handling of tracking mechanisms by inbox providers. Some providers mark all emails as “read” (like Apple mail) and others won’t mark any emails as read by blocking images and other tracking pixels (GMail users can opt-into this, many “secure” inbox providers have this by default).

Similarly, Click-through Rate, a marketing (blast)-derived metric, doesn’t take into consideration replies as a valid engagement modality and doesn’t factor in completion of desired action which are a major (primary?) interaction modality in Sales and Customer Success.

Boosting Your Engagement Rate

Here are three strategies you can use to improve your Engagement Rate:

  • Reputation: Ensure you’re not shadowbanned (or worse). Your email deliverability matters.
  • Timing: Understand and leverage modern inbox behaviors. When your recipient is likely to be in their inbox is crucial.
  • Content: Send better messages. The content of your email should be compelling enough to drive action.

Email is a vital tool in the arsenal of CSMs, SDRs, and other professionals involved in customer and prospect engagement.

However, the way we measure the success of our emails needs to evolve.

Are you ready to adapt to these changes and use email engagement to its full potential?

My course, “Email Engagement Formula: Driving Success at Every Stage of the Customer Journey,” offers in-depth strategies, techniques, and insights on how to use email engagement effectively.

Sign up today and take your email game to the next level.

About Lincoln Murphy

I invented Customer Success. I focus primarily on Customer Engagement. Learn more about me here.