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Article : Top Reasons to use Sentiment Instead of Reply Rate to Choose Your Best Cold Email Templates

#contactcenterworld, @PhoneIQ_US

Author: Elena Arretche, Product Marketer, PhoneIQ

Everyone wants to find the winning sales email that consistently delivers leads.

But, if after weeks or months of A/B testing and tweaks, you still aren't getting the results you hoped for, you might be using the wrong metrics.

Granted, most of us look at email replies or open rates to measure the success of a campaign email. Yet, sentiment can reveal so much more.

What Is Email Reply Rate?

Your email reply or response rate is the number of emails responded to and then divided by the total number of emails sent and expressed as a percentage.

In other words: The higher the response rate, the better.

A response is triggered by an email, including adverse reactions like unsubscribing or requests to cease contact.

Beyond Reply Rate: Measure the Quality of Your Replies

Unfortunately, an email response doesn't provide a lot of insight into why an email was opened or responded to, which is why you should also consider additional metrics.

To understand what makes an email successful, you need first to know what prompted the respondent to reply positively or negatively.

Email Open Rate

Your email open rate reflects how many of the delivered emails were opened by the recipient.

In fact, it's a great indicator your email is performing well. For instance, something might have prompted the recipient to open the mail and find more information, such as a compelling subject line or offer.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Your Click-Through Rate or CTR represents the ratio of people who click on an embedded link in your email to the number of people who saw the email. The link can direct them to a demo site, coupon code, competition page, or sign-up form.

Your CTR is a good indication you've successfully identified something that appeals to the recipient or meets their needs and correctly tapped into buyer sentiment. One of the best ways to improve your Click-Through-Rate is to personalize your emails.

Bounce Rate

The most beautifully designed and carefully crafted email in the world won't make a difference if your recipients aren't receiving them.

Your bounce rate measures how many emails are intercepted and returned by email servers.

If your bounce rate is unusually high, you may have been flagged as spam, which you don't want to.

In that case, you may need to reduce the frequency of your emails sent or reconsider the subject lines you are using. Corporate email servers often automatically block the words and phrases associated with promotional emails (e.g. congratulations or win XYZ by filling out a simple form).

Opt-Out Rate

Your Opt-out rate measures how many people have received your email and chose to unsubscribe.

  • Every email should contain an unsubscribe link for two reasons:
  • First, for legal compliance purposes, and second, to avoid inflating your response rate metrics.
  • Your opt-out rate indicates your messaging isn't resonating with your audience, you're targeting the wrong customer, or you aren't offering enough value.

Why These Metrics Cannot Predict Customer Behavior

Open rates and replies can be good indicators that recipients are interested in your business or not, but they don't reveal much about a customers' sentiment or likelihood to buy.

Customer sentiment is the emotion that customers feel towards your brand, product, or service, ranging from positive to neutral to negative.

A positive customer sentiment indicates they're likely to buy from you. On the contrary, if a customer responds negatively to your emails, your sales team needs to make a judgment call about whether you need to change tactics or discard the lead altogether.

To put it differently: Sentiment determines what customers are really trying to tell us.

What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment Analysis uses natural language processing (e.g., an artificial intelligence subset) to recognize words' emotional tone and intent.

This helps companies establish whether email responses are positive, negative, or neutral and understand the context of conversations. They can then use these insights to analyze feedback and improve campaigns.

Mining Opinions: Why Is It Beneficial?

As technology improves, companies can apply data mining techniques to the emails they receive. Advanced sentiment analysis tools are used, as emails are generally relatively short and contain buzzwords and abbreviations that aren't found in conventional dictionaries, making it harder for automated tools to understand the context.

In general, email mining collects keywords and categorizes them by sentiment to be harvested, measured, and compared.

Mining is highly beneficial as it can:

Protect Your Brand Reputation and Detect Issues

If customers repeatedly respond and highlight the same issues, it could damage your brand if you don't address them. Mail mining uncovers underlying organizational problems you might not even be aware of.

Gain Marketing Insight

You can establish what customers think about your brand, service, or products and adjust your offering to meet their needs.

Track Trends

Identifying customer issues and sentiment isn't enough. You have to measure whether sentiment is improving over time, too.

Mining enables you to track your progress against your goals.

Understanding Customers: Why Do They Say The Things They Say?

Text is an excellent communication cue, but not everyone has the vocabulary to convey their point accurately in written form.

More advanced sentiment analysis provides insight into what customers are trying to say, not just what they are saying.

Let's say you are receiving a lot of messages from customers complaining about your checkout and payment options:

  • Fix your checkout!
  • Your checkout process is useless.
  • I tried to check out my shopping cart, but the whole site timed out after I entered my credit card information.

You don't need advanced sentiment analysis to know that all three customers are unhappy. That said, in the last example, you also understand the actual reason they're unsatisfied with your services.

What can you do now?

You can establish whether this is a regular occurrence or a once-off glitch and make improvements via additional analysis.

How to Apply Sentiment Analysis

There are numerous reasons why you should use sentiment analysis:

Improving Customer Support

Sometimes you need to dig a little deeper to understand why customers are unhappy or what they require from you. Mail mining can reveal what customers are really thinking, identify detractors and assist you with reducing business churn.

Brand Monitoring

Knowing what customers think about your brand can go a long way towards improving your sales. It's not enough to craft marketing messages; Companies have to listen to the responses to their campaigns to make genuine improvements.

Tracking Employee Feedback

Your employees are your brand ambassadors, sure.

But are they good ambassadors?

Running regular surveys and mining the underlying sentiment of open-ended responses goes a long way to improving employee sentiment, which cascades down and enhances customer satisfaction.

Monitoring Competitors

When your customers say you're more expensive, or less impressive, or even less advanced than competitors, who are they comparing you to?

Knowing which competitors are frequently mentioned by prospective consumers and what services they offer helps you improve your offerings, make your customers happier, and, in the end, increase sales.


Open-end responses are valuable tools, but they're not the only ones you should be using if you want better insights into what your customers think of you and your products.

Sentiment analysis can help you create sales messages that resonate and convert immensely.

#contactcenterworld, @PhoneIQ_US

About PhoneIQ:
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