Analytics & StatisticsMailing List & Subscribers

Introduction into Email Subscriber Scoring


One of the biggest email marketing benefits is the data you get back from each campaign. These insights let you learn about your subscribers and help you optimize your future email campaigns. And to quickly and efficiently evaluate your subscriber database, you can implement an email subscriber scoring system. Lead scoring is a popular way to help achieve sales goals. Therefore, a similar method can be applied to your email subscribers. So, this time, let’s learn more about email subscriber scoring.

1. Email Marketing Engagement Score

While lead scoring can consist of multiple factors and be based on information coming from many different sources, email marketing engagement score is a more focused approach. Email marketing engagement score, as the name implies, evaluates your email subscribers and the level of their engagement with your email marketing campaigns.

Email marketing engagement scoring capabilities need to be flexible – the engagement points are added or taken away based on email recipient action or inaction. There are different ways these scoring models work. Some marketing engagement metrics actually display a score, let’s say from 0 to 100. Others implement a “hot-warm-cold” type of evaluation or a five-start approach.

Lead scoring can include different models based on demographic, company information scoring, social engagement, behavioural information, and others. But this time, we would like to focus more on email subscriber or email lead scoring. And email subscriber scoring can be a part of the overall lead scoring strategy.

2. The Benefits of Email Subscriber Scoring

Email lead or subscriber scoring is actually a very powerful way to improve your email marketing results. Good email lead scoring can help you increase your open and click rates and get more of the desired conversions.

Ranking your email recipients by their actions taken/not taken, you can make decisions that optimize and enhance your future campaigns. That said, before actually assigning points, you need to determine what is the most critical information you want to capture. Because these engagement insights will help you establish a robust targeting methodology to plan future messaging and segmentation too.

3. Where to Start

Generally, when you plan a campaign, it’s essential to set campaign objectives and goals. Similarly, you need to have rules and objectives for email subscriber scoring. Therefore, review the campaigns planned for future deployments and identify actions your subscribers can take. Then determine the impact of each action taken / not taken by your email subscribers: how can all of these individual actions affect the contacts’ score or hot-warm-cold status?

Don’t forget to determine if you want to set an expiration of email subscriber points. Also, rank the importance of each action – it will help you assign points to each of the activities/inactivities later on.

Analyse your current email subscriber behaviour – what kinds of actions make more conversions? What kind of email behaviour is more likely to bring better results? Think about it this way: which actions can award your subscribers points, and which ones can take them away?

4. Assign the Points

Now that you have a scoring plan and know which actions are more valuable, you can start assigning scores or points to each of them. Start with the campaign engagement metrics. For example:

  • Subscriber opens an email: + 2 points
  • Subscriber clicks on a link: + 5 points

Then expand your scoring to include multiple opens and multiple clicks. Email subscriber scoring shouldn’t end with the actions taken in your email marketing templates. If you can track your landing page engagement, you can add these actions there too.

Assign different scores based on engagement with different types of emails (transactional and marketing, you can drill these down to more specific email types). You can add points on other email marketing actions such as:

  • Subscribing (newsletter sign up, opt-in preference update, etc.)
  • Forwarding your email to a friend (if you have a tracking system implemented to monitor forwards/recommendations)
  • Filling in a web form (for example, for a freebie download or requesting more information, registering for an event).

5. Expiring Points

As mentioned previously, you might want to consider point expiration. It’s an excellent way to evaluate your subscribers even further. For example, someone is actively opening the emails and keeps on getting points but never takes any other action to lead them down the conversion path. These subscribers might not be as good a lead as someone collecting points taken through different activities.

Take some time to understand and set a point expiration timeframe. Every business is different; customers in various industries have their own lifecycles and purchasing behaviours (for instance, a B2B customer might take much longer to make a purchase decision than someone looking to acquire a small ticket item).

Here’s an example of the points expiration rule:

  • Opening an email gives 2 points. Points expire after 4 months.
  • Clicking on a link awards 5 points. Points expire after 6 months.

6. Taking Points Away

Think about what can trigger a subtraction of points. For example, removing communication channels in the preference centre or setting a lower email frequency can remove points. You could even consider adding the read time metrics there (glanced, skimmed, read) if you have access to that data. If your subscriber read score is getting worse, remove a specified amount of points.

The not taken actions on your primary calls-to-action can remove points too. For example, you sent an email message encouraging a download. The recipient never completed the recommended action; therefore, five points are subtracted.

Email Subscriber Scoring Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

This was a quick introduction to how email subscriber scoring works. Correctly implemented scoring models can help you evaluate your email marketing strategy and deployment tactics. While email subscriber scores won’t tell you precisely what is working and what isn’t, you will get great insights to help you identify potential problems and success factors.