Measure what matters in your email marketing
So, you’ve finally decided to take the leap and invest time and effort in email marketing.
After all, why shouldn’t you? With close to 4 billion email accounts currently in use, email presents you with a huge audience. Despite the advent of more convenient and novel channels of online information exchange, email still remains the preferable mode of communication for businesses the world over.
Just consider this: almost 250 billion emails are sent every day. The numbers themselves prove that email can still provide your business with the maximum number of leads and sales. Marketers the world over agree that email is still one of the best channels for customer engagement, and must form the core of any successful marketing strategy.
But we’re sure you already knew that. In fact, we're certain that you've already spent ample time researching your target audience, analyzing psychographic profiles, and collecting mailing lists. Then you and your team must’ve put in the hours and designed that perfect email campaign. And you’ve no doubt created a stellar email template that you can use in your marketing efforts.
And it’s only after doing all this that you sent the first email.
And then the next ones…
But what do you do after that? Once the emails are sent off, can your marketing team rest easy?
Of course not! Because all of the above was just the first step!
In any successful email marketing campaign, the real work of the marketers starts only after all the emails are sent. It’s now that you need to measure the impact of the campaign you're running. And this is exactly where most businesses trip up.
Whether you're a business owner, marketer or everything rolled into one, the best thing you can do for the success of your email campaign is to measure its performance. And surprisingly, email marketing is actually very simple to measure. Most email marketing and analytics platforms provide the user with a large amount of data, and by correctly analyzing this data your business can uncover valuable insights that can further streamline your campaigns.
To help you do just that, in this article we're going to deal with the nitty-gritty of measuring the performance of your email campaigns.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s begin!
Top metrics for measuring email marketing success
Data is abundant these days; what's scarce is the knowhow regarding what to do with this data. Obsessing over the wrong data points can actually throw your marketing campaign off-balance.
For email marketing campaigns, measuring the performance is simply a matter of tracking the right metrics. Once you're following the correct metrics, you can be sure to lead your campaign to a resounding success. The following is a list of the most important email marketing metrics you should consider tracking.
This is the first and foremost metric that you should be tracking for any email campaign. The open rate is simply the percentage of recipients who have actually opened your emails. As you can understand, this is one of the metrics that matter. Your email campaigns won’t have any effect unless the recipients are opening the emails. It's only after they open the emails can your prospects be expected to take the desired action.
The open rate is calculated simply as the total number of emails opens divided by the total number of emails sent. Email open rates are influenced mostly by the subject line of the email, though it also depends to some extent on the recipient's policy towards opening marketing emails.
Email open rates should be measured on a weekly basis for the best results. Open rates average at around 15-25%, depending on the industry and campaign.
Just getting your customers to open the emails is only half the game; the real challenge lies in getting them to click the target link inside them. This is the exact action that you need your call to action (CTA) to initiate. And the percentage of users who click on the links is denoted by your click-through rate.
Click-through rate is simply the total number of clicks measured against the total number of emails delivered. Click-through rates determine whether your users are taking the action that they're being guided to take by your campaign. Click-through rates are usually influenced by the link's anchor text, location, the number of links in the email body and also the email copy itself.
Similar to open rates, click-through rates are also best measured weekly. The Click-through rate across industries is usually benchmarked at an average of around 2.5%.
Bounce rates are another important metric that you should be tracking. It's simply the percentage of emails that weren't successfully delivered to your subscribers' inboxes. Tracking bounce rates is very important as they're indicative of the quality of email lists that you're using.
A high bounce rate means that the email addresses you're working with aren't really valid, and you should whittle your lists to weed out the invalid addresses. Emails can also bounce if the server at the receiving end is overloaded, if the recipients' inboxes are full or even if the email has been manually blocked by the receiver.
Bounce rates are best measured on a monthly basis. Usually, a bounce rate of 2% is considered standard, though this benchmark, like others, also varies across industries.
This is, perhaps, the most important metric to track. After all, all the data in the world doesn't matter if your emails aren't converting. A conversion is defined as the recipient taking the desired action based on your emails. This can be downloading an e-book, visiting a page on your website or even purchasing a product. Conversion actions tend to vary from campaign to campaign.
Conversions are most important because they directly reflect the actual effectiveness of your campaign. They tell you whether your emails are getting the users to take the right action or not. Conversion rates are influenced by email copy, landing page quality and even the nature of the converting action itself.
Again, it's most effective to measure conversion rates on a monthly basis. Industry standards suggest that average conversion rates hover around 22%.
This is probably the most painful metric to look at, but look at it you must. Knowing how many people are going for that unsubscribe button can be helpful in understanding what isn't really working for your email campaign, and how you can improve the performance and retain subscribers.
Unsubscribe rates are influenced by a large number of factors, including subject lines and email frequency. And for the most effective tracking, you should be measuring this metric weekly. The average unsubscribe rate ranges from 0.2 to 0.5%.
Key factors that influence email performance
Well, now that you know the metrics you should be tracking, and also the industry benchmarks to aspire for, it’s time to know how to improve them. In this section, we are going to take a look at some of the significant variables that determine the success of your campaign. By carefully controlling each of the following, you can improve the performance of your campaign by leaps and bounds.
Time of sending
The time when you actually send the emails will have an immense effect on the performance of your campaign, to say the least. If your emails are sent at a time when your prospects are not in the habit of opening emails, then they might just end up in the trash.
Generally, it's best not to send emails in the early morning, during lunch or even at the end of the work hours because these are times when people are most likely to be purging their inboxes. This is not a given, however, and the best times to send the emails will depend on the target demographic, their online habits and the nature of the business you're campaigning for. It's best to test different timings and see what clicks for your campaign.
The metrics that you need to track for the success of your email campaign can be vastly influenced by the topic of your emails. It's best if you tag and segment your subscribers in terms of their interests. This way you can send them emails that appeal to their tastes. This will allow you to increase the relevance of your emails and remain a valuable resource for your recipients.
But the job doesn’t end there. Even after you've segmented and sent emails based on your target's interest, you need to monitor their responses to the emails sent. This is because interests change over time, and you need to be on top of your customers' requirements if you want them to become loyal patrons. Also, tracking the changing tastes of your target demographics will allow you to innovate better and create appealing products and services.
Email subject line
This is the hook that does the job. Statistically speaking, subject lines are the biggest factor that influences email open rate. Usually, you need to format and make your subject line as enticing as possible, because this is the first thing that your recipients will notice in the inbox. You can employ direct subject lines that speak your intent clearly to the customers, or you can also go in for curiosity building subject lines that inspire them to open the email and find what's inside.
Either way, without an enticing subject line you're bound to fail in your email marketing efforts. So make sure you take special care. Also, be careful using all caps in your email subject line as this might result in email filters designating your email as spam.
This is the one factor that influences the click-through rates of your campaigns. Link anchor texts need to be relevant, to-the-point and, most importantly, they must hold the promise of value for the customer. Unless you can provide value to the end-user, your campaigns are sure to fail no matter how attractive you make them.
Usually, the anchor text should contain a strong CTA that inspires the recipient to click on the link. To make the anchors more attractive, consider using alluring copy that can make heads turn.
And we’re done! These are the top things that you need to keep in mind in order to guarantee that you're able to run a stellar email marketing campaign. By keeping these metrics at the forefront of your email marketing performance measurement, you can create an impactful email strategy that's sure to deliver both for you as well as your customers.
We've also included some of the strategic factors that you need to keep in mind if you want your email marketing efforts to provide significant ROI. While we are by no means claiming that these are the only factors that'll influence the success of your campaign, they're benchmarks that you need to stick to for ensuring results.
And so, now it's up to you! Get your marketing chops ready, and start evaluating the performance of your email campaigns by following the metrics mentioned above. Not only will they help to improve the performance of your present campaign, but it will also let you set future goals for upcoming ones.
So don’t wait! Go get mailing!