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Act-On Software

Better Email Habits for Better Response Rates


We receive many questions from users about what they can do to engage in better email practices to lower their spam complaint rates, while increasing the responsiveness of their existing database at the same time. While it doesn't seem like these are related, the two initiatives go hand-in-hand in many cases.

Keeping your spam complaint rate to a minimum has its obvious benefits, but how could an improved spam rate also help increase the responsiveness of prospects you may have lost touch with?

The answer lies in how you approach the behavior of your prospects. If you've been sending the same messages to all of your prospects at the same frequency, you're only servicing the needs of a portion of your database. While there are many ways to segment your database and provide your prospects with the content they're asking for, there is a simple first step you can take and that is the focus of this article.

To get started:

  • Click Contacts > Marketing Lists.
  • Hover over the list and click the down-arrow > Create a Segment
  • Name your segment Prospects Received Five Emails with No Response and choose Query for your method using the drop-down menu.
  • The first option in the content area allows you to choose This segment contains contacts with any/all of the following attributes; select ALL. You will now have the ability to set up a behavioral query in the lower portion of the page.
  • Under the Behavior heading, leave the default choice next to Select Behavior On which will be Specific Set of Behaviors.
  • For the time period, choose 90 days. If you do not send emails frequently you may decide to make this 180 days.
  • Next, using the Add Behavior menu select Received Messages and after At Least This Many,type the number '5'. 
  • Using the Add Behavior drop-down menu select Opened Messages and using the drop-down menu to the right of your new line item choose None
  • In the top right corner click the Save button to create your new segment.

This segment will show you anyone who has received at least five messages in the last 90 days and has never opened one of the messages. These members of your database present a few challenges that we can now address.

The first challenge is that these prospects are more likely to register a spam complaint against you and jeopardize your reputation as an email sender. Moving forward, whenever you send general prospecting email messages you will select this group as a suppression list so that they don't receive those messages. By reducing the frequency of the messages sent to these contacts, they are much less likely to click the Spam button in their email client.

The second challenge is that these prospects aren't interested enough to open your email messages. If you are now suppressing your general marketing email messages from going to these prospects you can start to design messages that may pique their specific interests. These are prime candidates for A/B test emails. If you create a few interesting subject lines and test those against small pieces of this segment, you can use the better-performing email to mail out to the bulk of the segment. (As a side note the best A/B tests are actually A/B/C tests. Use the More... menu on your list to have Act-On auto-generate A/B splits by creating three segments. The first two should contain roughly 10% of your database each, while the third should contain the remaining 80% and get the best parts of your first two emails.)

By testing to see what your prospects are interested in, along with less frequent messages, you can begin to bring a portion of your hard-earned database back to life and engage in better email practices at the same time.



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