To celebrate the release of our new guide “A-Z of Email Marketing,” we’re spotlighting a few of our favorite letters. Today’s 2016 email marketing tip comes to you courtesy of the letter “E.” For the full alphabet of tips (26 of them to be exact) download our guide!

I predict that 2016 is going to be the year of engagement in the world of marketing. Not to say it wasn’t a big deal before (it’s always been a behemoth deal), but this year it’s going to play an even more important role in helping email marketers cut through the clutter and deliver wanted content to their recipients.

We often talk about email engagement metrics as if they’re common knowledge, but to start the new year off strong it’s in everyone’s best interest to have a quick review of the basics so we’re all on the same page. We’ll start with positive engagement metrics, which are metrics that you want to see high rates for, and then move to negative engagement metrics, which you want to see stay low!

Positive Engagement Metrics

Open: An open is when a recipient finds your email in their inbox and clicks on the message to learn more. At this point all they can see is the from address, subject line, and pre-header text. There’s a chance they can also read the first sentence or two of the email, depending on how they have their inbox configured. To increase your open rate, we recommend testing different subject lines to determine what resonates best with your users.

Click: This is when someone opens and clicks on a hyperlink (which could be a text link or a button) in your email. The only link recipients can click on and not have it count towards the click percentage, is the unsubscribe link (see below). An important thing to keep in mind is that multiple CTAs can dilute the message and purpose of your email. As a general best practice, we recommend you keep things simple and straightforward with your emails and focus on one CTA per message, though there are use cases where multiple CTAs are justified (i.e. newsletter, weekly digest, etc.).

Negative Engagement Metrics

Unsubscribe: An unsubscribe occurs when a recipient opens your email, determines they do not want to receive the content anymore, and clicks on the unsubscribe link included in the email (which must be present in your email in order to be CAN-SPAM compliant!).

What happens after the user clicks the unsubscribe link can vary–it could take them to a preference center where they could potentially opt to down-subscribe, or it could immediately take them to a landing page that alerts them they have been removed, but in majority of cases it ends with the user being taken off of that organization’s active mailing list.

Spam Report: This occurs when a user clicks on the “report as spam” option in their email client as a response to an email in their inbox. Thanks to feedback loops, like Gmail’s, senders can find out who is marking their mail as spam and remove them from their sending lists.

Your mail can be marked a spam for a variety of reasons, whether someone was frustrated that they couldn’t find the unsubscribe or maybe they flat out never signed up for mail in the first place. Some recipients may be more justified in using the spam button than others, but it’s an email marketers job to watch their spam report complaints and make adjustments to their program accordingly—your subscribers and your deliverability, depend on it!

For more 2016 email marketing tips, download the full guide A-Z of Email Marketing.

When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.