How researchers get heard

Never Waste an Email Crisis

Email is still a critical vehicle of communication — often the critical vehicle of communication — for public experts, especially ones who run organizations. 

That’s why you should subscribe to email guru Dan Oshinsky and his monthly newsletter on email titled “Not a Newsletter”: It’s simply the best intelligence going on email for frequent content publishers. (And it’s free, amazingly).

In his latest “Not a Newsletter,” Oshinsky reports on Apple’s impending changes to the way Apple Mail works — changes that will make it much harder for you and your organization to accurately track which of your emails your subscribers have opened.

Apple people love their email: By one recent breakdown of email market share, over 93% of all email opens on mobile devices in May came on Apple phones and tablets, and over 59% of all desktop email opens came on Apple computers.

Why should you care? Because at least one of two scenarios holds for you/your org:

  1. Your email service provider (ESP) uses open rates to determine whether your list wants your emails (their deliverability);
  2. You’ve relied on open rates as a metric of success instead of deeper metrics of engagement and growth.

About #1, you’ll have to wait for guidance from your ESP.

About #2, you can and should change the way you measure your impact. (Not to mention any sequences in your email campaigns that rely recipients opening one email before they get another in a sequence).

Oshinsky breaks email metrics down into these categories: engagement, habit, growth and monetization.

  • For engagement, he says, track clicks and replies and time spent on website after a click through.
  • For growth, measure list growth and track unsubscribe rate.
  • And for monetization (if you run a for-profit), track how many subscribers convert to buy something, or the average lifetime value of a subscriber.

If you’re allergic to tracking email data without reader participation, Oshinsky says, you can still use an annual reader survey and/or progressive profiling to learn more about your subscribers and what they like and don’t like about your emails. And you should probably be sending them periodic opt-in confirmation emails to make sure they still want to be receiving your emails — a seemingly painful step that will actually help your deliverability.

Takeaway: The demise of open rate as a metric is actually an opportunity — to cultivate a more granular understanding of your audience and a tighter bond with them.

What else in your public expertise stack might you say that about?

Not a rhetorical question.