Email marketing can certainly be a tricky skill to master. Marketers need to keep their most effective practices in mind for every campaign they embark on, learn from their mistakes, and optimize the emails they send for maximum engagement.
Sadly, keeping these things in mind don’t necessarily guarantee success. It’s also important to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
Before you brush up on all the insider information regarding email marketing, it’s worth taking a step back to determine your goals and to figure out exactly how you can measure your success.
Each email campaign can be entirely different, especially if you have different goals – such as generating more leads for your business, growing a mailing list etc. However, there are some universal and basic metrics that every email marketer should learn to track.
With this in mind, let’s take a look into nine of the most significant email marketing metrics and KPIs that you should be tracking in order to boost your conversions.
You may have a mailing list that consists of over 1,000 recipients, but this doesn’t mean that your messages are actually being delivered.
According to Maropost, the notion of a 100% deliverability rate is actually impossible. For instance, if 85% of your emails make it to the inbox of their intended recipient, it means that the remaining 15% are rendered entirely useless. If you have 1,000 names on your mailing list – only 850 would have actually received your outreach.
Furthermore, it’s important to know if there’s any hindrances to your deliverability. Occasionally, a marketer may find themselves blacklisted by an ISP. This may happen more commonly if you use a shared IP, as opposed to a dedicated one. If you’re suddenly unable to email anyone with a Gmail address, it’s imperative that you act fast in addressing the problem.
When it comes to deliverability, it’s vital to remember that there’s a significant difference between an email being listed as ‘delivered’ and it actually arriving in the inbox of its intended reader. For example, it could well have been delivered and automatically sorted into the junk folder of a recipient. This tends to be the reason behind marketers adopting Inbox Placement Rates (IPR) as a KPI. This enables them to accurately measure the level of emails that make it into the inbox of the people who matter.
2. Open Rates
It’s fair to say that open rates account for the simplest email marketing KPI for marketers to interpret. Its importance can’t be underestimated, however, and monitoring your open rates is key to understanding whether your emails are being appreciated by their intended recipients.
Open rates provide insights into how many subscribers are opening the emails that you’re sending and can provide insights into certain outreach variables like your subject lines.
On this topic, Campaign Monitor notes some examples of how open rates can be transferred into marketing insights. For instance, studies have shown that subject lines using the first names of subscribers are 26% more likely to be opened, while the act of using emoticons and keeping subject lines short and sweet can also improve open rates.
On average, email campaigns feature an open rate of around 24%. For many marketers, this percentage represents the target to surpass. These types of marketing stats are brilliant in monitoring the quality of your campaigns, and alerting you to faltering strategies if open rates begin falling.
3. Click-Through Rates (CTR)
An email’s Click-Through Rate tells marketers the number of recipients who clicked on embedded links within an email.
Unlike with open rates and deliverability, these metrics require a little bit more digging. For each campaign you undertake, you’ll need to know not only which links recipients were most keen on, but also where each link is located.
If, for example, the majority of clicks took place above the fold, then it’s clear that your emails are passing the blink test.
Also, if you were to offer the same link but worded in different ways and one performed better than the other, it’s possible to optimize the text surrounding your links accordingly. It’s also possible to change other factors like the style of button-based or text-based links and how they’re presented to users.
As we can see in the chart above, different industries feature different average CTRs, with this in mind, it’s clear that marketers will need to adapt their efforts based on their company’s area of expertise.
Be sure to keep in mind the context in which your links have been gained. You may find that more subscribers are choosing the click on an unsubscribe link. While this may count for your CTR it’s definitely not a good sign.
4. Learning From Conversions
While your CTR measures the number of people who clicked on your link, the conversion rate monitors how many recipients completed a specific on-site action following on from clicking a link. For instance, if you added a link in your email that invites subscribers to take part in a flash sale, your conversion rate can tell you the percentage of visitors who clicked a link to make a purchase.
Conversion rates can offer up fresh insights into your ROI. When you have access to a quantifiable figure that relates to how much you’ve spent on marketing while seeing how many subscribers are making conversions, it’s considerably easier to figure out whether or not the amount of budget you’re dedicating to your campaign is actually leveraging some revenue.
Use platforms like Google Analytics and Finteza to monitor the conversion rates resulting in email campaigns and how subscribers are interacting with your sales funnels. These tools allow you to evaluate sources, such as channels, campaigns and medium and analyse which pages/campaigns bring more email subscribers.
5. Bounce Rates
When undertaking an email campaign, it’s important to track your bounce rates. The bounce rate shows how many subscriber email addresses failed to receive your email. Soft bounces cater to temporary problems within email addresses while hard bounces monitor long-term and permanent problems with recipient email addresses.
Analysing bounce rates against open rates can give marketers a solid idea of the quality in their subscriber lists. If you find that you possess a high rate of hard bounces, it’s possible that your mailing list could be full of fake email addresses, old addresses, or addresses with typos present.
As we can see, email campaigns behave as sales funnels themselves, and limiting bounce rates can create a more broad volume of recipients making a click and progressing towards making a purchase.
Hard bounces can be mitigated by a more concrete mailing list call-to-action which asks for email addresses to be verified. There are plenty of software packages available for marketers to fully get to grips with their bounces and to get to work on remedying them. One of which is Mailgun, but there are lots of alternatives available.
6. Keeping Track of Unsubscribes
One of the simplest KPIs to track when it comes to email campaigns is measuring the number of recipients who wish to unsubscribe. Email providers can be on-hand to inform you of how many recipients decided to unsubscribe after receiving an email, and this metric can typically be found in your main dashboard or within your campaign metrics.
While it’s certainly not a good thing to receive a large number of unsubscribes, many marketers view the unsubscriptions as an effective way of optimizing subscriber lists – leaving only high-quality prospects.
It may be tempting to remove any option for recipients to unsubscribe from a mailing list, but in adding a link to unsubscribe, it lets them know that they have a choice as to the kind of content that they can receive from your brand – helping to build trust.
7. Limiting Spam Complaints
Furthermore, on the topic of trust, it’s important to monitor your spam complaints alongside your unsubscribes because there can often be cases of recipients who simply report unwanted emails as opposed to going to the effort of making a click and filling out a short form to unsubscribe.
If both KPIs are beginning to trend in the same direction, this could be an alarming sign that your outreach campaign has become abrasive for subscribers, and that it could be time to act quickly to change your approach before it starts to cost more potential conversions.
8. Watching Out For Forwards and Shares
Forwarding rates and email sharing metrics can display the volume of recipients who either share your posts on social media or forward its content to friends and contemporaries.
This is a useful metric to keep track of because it helps to show how many brand advocates your business has. By working out the percentage of subscribers that are recommending your content to others, you can better chart the success of your campaigns.
Creating brand advocates via email marketing is one of the greatest measures of success for a marketing campaign. This is especially the case when considering the fact that 81% of consumer purchasing decisions are directly influenced by social advocacy among friends.
9. Total ROI
Total Return on Investment is undoubtedly the most important metric to track when it comes to marketing campaigns. This will provide insights into your overall levels of investment and the costs of each campaign you create.
This metric can be calculated by taking the money you’ve generated in sales as a result of the campaign and subtract the money spent on setting up the campaign in the first place. This can then be divided by the money invested in the campaign and finally multiplied by 100 to get the result.
When performed right, email marketing boasts the best ROI within marketing, and the approach can be highly rewarding for businesses. However, the most effective results can only be achieved when marketers take into account the various marketing metrics listed throughout this document and incorporate them into their strategies. By listening to your subscribers, it’s possible to reap the benefits for them and your own endeavour.