Sending to unengaged recipients puts domain reputations at risk, and impacts the ability to reach the inbox even for email recipients who are engaged. This article will provide an overview on contact engagement, as well as best practices.
The following user roles can utilize contact engagement practices:
- Marketing Managers
Initial Engagement Score
Contacts are given an initial engagement score upon creation. The value of the score depends on the way the contact was created in the system. The initial engagement score for each method of contact creation is as follows:
- 16 points when the contact is created through a form submission
- 9 points when the contact is created manually in the Contact Manager
- A maximum of 9 points when the contact is an imported via list or API connection
- 9 points when the contact is created through a CRM sync or migration
Contacts created through the import of a list using the list import tool will be scored based on overall list quality and individual email address quality.
The engagement score for a contact can be viewed in the Email History section of the Memberships tab of their Contact Manager page.
Engagement Score Criteria
The engagement score determines the number of emails a contact can be sent before the contact is considered unengaged and sending to that contact is suppressed.
Engagement means that the contact has interacted with your emails or your website:
- The contact has opened an email
- The contact has clicked a link in an email
- The contact has filled out a form
- The contact has visited a tracked site
- The contact has clicked a Media Center link
- The contact has sent an email to an IMAP-synced user mailbox
- The contact has replied to an email sent from an IMAP-synced user mailbox
Each time a contact is sent an email and does not take one of the engagement actions, their score is decreased by a single point. If 16 consecutive emails are sent and the recipient does not engage with the content, then the score becomes 0. At that point, they are deemed unengaged and no further emails can be sent to them.
There are many ways an engagement score can be reset to the maximum score of 16. If a contact opens or clicks on any email, fills out a form, sends an email to an IMAP-synced inbox, or replies to an email from an IMAP-synced inbox, their score will be increased to 16. This increase will occur regardless of the current value of their engagement score.
Engagement Score Categories
The engagement score for a contact is characterized by the platform in one of three ways:
Any contact with an engagement score between 5 and 16 is considered engaged. Users can send email to these contacts as normal.
Contacts with an engagement score between 1 and 4 are considered at risk. Contacts are also considered at risk after 9 months of not opening an email (if they have never opened an email). If contacts have opened an email before, then they be at risk after 20 months of not opening an email. Users can send email to these contacts as normal, but should consider sending highly engaging content in an attempt to drive clicks or opens.
Contacts with an engagement score of 0 are considered unengaged. Contacts are also considered as unengaged after 13 months of not opening an email (if they have never opened an email), and 24 months of not engaging with content (if they have opened an email). These contacts cannot receive automated SharpSpring emails -- they can only be sent smart mail.
Engagement Best Practices
The email marketing strategy on sending a high volume of email to a generic audience is now somewhat outdated. Now, the focus should be on delivering valuable messaging to an audience that has a history of engaging with content. This can be achieved by using smart mails to communicate with contacts and by syncing emails to keep lists updated.
Sending emails targeted to smaller groups—if not just individuals—is now a suitable and viable counterpart to the broader email campaign. Micro-targeting contacts by way of sending engages these contacts on a personal level, and custom content and tailored content that better pertains to a contact can bring them back into the fold. You can create content for individual contacts by viewing what they did and did not interact with in their lead history. Syncing emails lets you see every email to and from contacts in their lead histories. In engaging with contacts, the extra effort pays dividends.
When a contact is at a score of 16, they are engaged with the content they receive. You can safely consider that engaged contacts enjoy the content being sent to them in emails. These contacts benefit from continued interaction. If anything, keep an eye on them, but do not primarily focus on them. When a contact's engagement score begins to falter, such as falling to 8, begin sending content that more closely applies to their particular tastes.
Your major focus with at risk contacts is to not send broad, general emails. At risk contacts have shown that they are not open to reading just any promotional material sent their way. Keeping these contacts engaged is key. As such, they require micro-targeting based on historical patterns of opens, clicks, and web visits.
Unengaged contacts are not lost causes. While unengaged contacts cannot be sent bulk or automated mail through the SharpSpring platform, they can be brought back in via smart mails. Again, sending content that is tailored to a contact's interests can better your chances of reengagement.