Size vs Quality: Email Response Rate

Size vs Quality: Email Response Rate

Email response rates can give you a strong gauge on how active and interested your subscribers really are. While many marketers concentrate on KPI’s like open rate, CTR, conversion rates and unsubscribe rates, too few are paying enough attention to email response rates, especially during lead-gen or list building efforts.

Email response rates are a measurement of the percentage of subscribers that reply to your emails, or questions within them. This KPI tells you how engaged your subscribers truly are, because if your subscribers regularly reply to your sends, they feel like they’re an important part of the conversation.

Now, the average email response rate, across industries, is about 10%. This means 1 out of every 10 subscribers on your email lists should be fully engaged, and potentially ready to buy.

The more responsive subscribers you have, the more sales you’ll make. And if you’re pitching your email lists to an advertiser, showing them a strong email response rate could help seal the deal.

With that said, it would make sense that a larger email list would have a larger number of responses, and perhaps a higher response rate, right?

The bigger the better?

Well, no. You see, response rates are calculated buy Unique Responses divided by the number of Successful Deliveries, multiplied by 100.

Response Rate = UR/SD X 100

So, in essence, the size of your list has no bearing on email response rates. But the number of emails successfully delivered sure does.

This means quality will always beat quantity. Deliverability matters.

One of the main culprits of poor email deliverability rates (Successful Delivery is a key in the equation) is bad, mal-formatted or fake email addresses inputted buy new subscribers at their first point of contact, during lead-gen/list building.

(You can eliminate bad addresses from your lists right HERE)

When you’re beginning a lead-gen or list building campaign, its obviously important to ensure the email addresses and other data you’re collecting are legitimate. List building can cost a fortune, and if you know which efforts are generating the best addresses/leads, you can focus your efforts there, and eliminate channels that are producing bad data.

Now, there’s two main ways to go about verifying and validating your new email addresses to help ensure a higher email response rate, and help you decide where your lead-gen or list-building money should be spent.

First, you can verify addresses after they’ve received their first email. If you’re segmenting leads by the channel you collected them, have a look at the bounces and undeliverable addresses.

If you can find them, remove all of them from your list, then recalculate your true acquisition cost-per-lead from that source based on the actual number of emails that are deliverable. You may find that what initially seemed cheap, is in fact very expensive, and potentially damaging.

(EmailOversight can validate and verify 99.5% of your list, almost immediately)

The main problem with eliminating hard bounces and undeliverable addresses after you’ve sent the first email in your series is this: Those bad addresses can affect not only your email response rate, but if you have enough of them, you run the risk of crushing your sender score; further hurting deliverability, and further lowering your email response rate.

Meaning not only have you wasted money on bad email addresses and associated data, but you’re hurting your chances of having your good subscribers getting your messages in their inbox.

While it’s important to regularly eliminate all undeliverable addresses from your lists (you can do that HERE) It’s far more important that those bad addresses never get on your list in the first place.

This brings us to the preferred method of email address verification and validation. A method that not only ensures the addresses and data are legit and your email response rates are strong, but this method can quickly help you decide which lead-gen sources are providing you the best ROI.

Use EmailOversight’s API. Our application programming interface is a simple to use piece of code that you plug into your websites, forms, and other lead-gen areas to instantly validate email addresses at the first point of contact, before they enter your lists.

By using our industry-best API (see how HERE), you’ll have the ability to eliminate bad addresses before they’re ever sent an email. Before they ruin sender scores and deliverability rates. What’s better, you’ll have instant data on the true acquisition cost-per-lead for every source you’re using.

This means you can concentrate your lead-gen/list building efforts on the sources that are producing the best addresses and best data. Addresses and data that help increase your email response rate. Which makes closing advertising deals a snap.

Remember, Response Rate = UR/SD X 100

Now that we’ve covered the “denominator” part of this equation, Successful Delivery, the part of the equation that EmailOversight specializes in, here’s some quick tips you can use to help the “numerator” part of the equation, Unique Responses.

  1. Personalize all your email sends. Personalization let’s your subscribers know that they’re valued. And in return, they’ll add value to you. Personalized email sends show a 26% higher open rate and a higher email response rate.
  2. Segment your lists and send your emails according to the demographics you’ve segmented. Segmented lists, with personalized content generate higher response.
  3. Include pertinent polls in your email sends. With properly segmented email lists, you can tailor polls that will engage your subscribers and elicit response.
  4. Ask for response. Let your subscribers know you want to hear from them. What’s their thoughts? What content topics would they like to see? What kinds of products? Asking your subscribers for feedback and getting that feedback can drastically increase email response rates.
  5. Ask open-ended questions: Aside from polls and directly asking for feedback, using open ended questions will give subscribers the opportunity to feel like they’re part of the conversation, and they will respond with their thoughts.

EmailOversight can help you increase your Successful Deliveries, and we can help with Unique Responses too.

Response Rate = UR/SD X 100. We’ve got the entire equation covered!


When you use our Data Enrichment Tools, available HERE, you’ll be able to segment your lists by almost every demographic you’ll need. From age and gender to geolocation and ethnicity and more. Our Data Enrichment Tools allow you to personalize your emails (you’ll get subscriber names), segment your lists, create targeted polls, and ask the right open-ended questions!

Increasing email response rates and attracting big-dollar advertisers can be easy when you use EmailOversight’s world-class email marketing tools.

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