Measuring and evaluating performance should be part of any email campaign right from the very start. You want your emails to reach as many potential customers as possible, and convert into as many leads or sales as possible too.
Properly analyzing and tracking your email campaigns allows you to answer questions as to whether your campaigns are generating leads, converting customers, and engaging people. Or whether they’re not! More importantly, these insights allow you to take the correct actions. If you’re not tracking campaigns and looking at the data, your email marketing efforts are little more than a stab in the dark.
Your email metrics can also be used to create better user experiences and improve KPIs elsewhere in the business. As an example, someone who clicked through to a specific offer on your website might be a better prospect for a salesperson to call than a user who never opens your emails.
Of course, there’s an endless list of metrics you could look at. But which ones are important, and why?
These metrics should be part of your email marketing KPIs
First off, what’s the difference between metrics and key performance indicators, or KPIs? The terms are often used interchangeably but there is a difference. While metrics are used to track performance and inform strategy or decisions, KPIs are key measures to monitor business performance that have the most impact on your long-term objectives.
Each business or role will have slightly different KPIs, but there are certain email marketing metrics that are proven time and again to be useful as KPIs:
1. Open rate
This simply tells you the percentage of recipients who actually open your email. An average open rate is around 30%, depending on industry standards.
Plenty of research has shown that subject lines are the main factor in deciding whether a user opens an email or not. So if your open rates are low, you may want to test out different subject lines to entice users to click on the email and read more.
2. Clickthrough rate
This is the percentage of users who click on any link within your email. This gives you important insight as to whether people are interested in and engaged with the content your email contains, and whether your call-to-action is working. Acceptable clickthrough rates depend on your industry, but 6% would be considered a good performance by most marketers
3. Unsubscribe rate
This refers to the percentage of people who choose to unsubscribe from receiving your emails. For most campaigns, you should be receiving an unsubscribe rate of less than 0.5%. If your unsubscribe rates are high, consider whether you’re sending too many emails, have the wrong target market, or have content that people find “spammy.” If they’re consistently low, it’s a good sign that people are enjoying the content within your email campaigns!
4. Conversion rate
Your conversion rate is the percentage of recipients who completed a specified event or goal. This could be filling out a form, downloading something, purchasing a product, or whatever else you choose. Conversion rates tend to hover around the 4-6% mark dependent on industry and conversion goals.
Conversion rate is crucial to good email marketing. Each time a recipient converts, you’re one step closer to meeting your larger business goals. Plus, a good conversion rate is an indication that your campaign call-to-action, email content, and business offers are well aligned and that you are targeting the right market.
5. Overall ROI
Having great open rates and huge subscriber lists is no use if you spend far more money getting them than you do from selling your products or services.
The overall return on investment (ROI) measures how profitable your email marketing efforts are. The average ROI for email marketing campaigns is about $42 for every $1 spent. Of course, some may do better or worse than this. Regardless, not knowing whether your campaign has resulted in an overall profit or loss can make it hard to track what really works and what doesn’t. Knowing which campaigns have a high ROI also enables you to make better decisions with future advertising spend.
Remember that these aren’t the only metrics available to businesses. There are loads more metrics and KPI’s email marketers can make use of. The more you rely on email marketing, the more likely it is you’ll want to analyze across different areas.
Depending on your goals, you may also want to measure and report on a few other metrics such as:
- Email delivery rate
- Subscriber growth list
- Spam rate
- Cost per acquisition
- Unengaged subscribers and top subscribers
Reporting on email marketing
Reporting in a way that helps the wider business understand progress, achievements, and challenges of email marketing is crucial to the success of a marketing department. The easiest way to do this is to use an email marketing software or tool like DirectLync which does the hard work for you! Being able to easily export reports and statistics for a succinct overview can save you loads of time.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure any reporting leads to valuable and actionable insights:
1. Stick to a schedule
You can and should track your email marketing performance regularly. But decide in advance what your schedule is. Do you want to track on a weekly basis? Monthly? Quarterly? On a campaign-by-campaign basis? Having a consistent schedule makes it much easier to compare apples with apples, and helps you to stop any trends.
2. Link KPIs to objectives
Make sure you’re not tracking for the sake of it. Your metrics and KPIs should relate to specific goals, both in terms of the campaign and larger business objectives. If you have to achieve a certain cost per acquisition or sales target, prioritize tracking those over unsubscribe rates.
3. Dive in
Gathering data is necessary. But the real value comes in drawing insights from that data. While a good email marketing tool will report on important metrics for you, putting real depth into the analysis is key to getting exceptional results. Rather than just reporting the number of opens or clicks, look into your content, audience behavior, trends, and more. What devices are performing best? Do certain subject lines always do well? Do discount codes or flash sales result in more purchases? If your open rate increases around lunchtime vs 6 pm, why might that be?
This is where A/B testing of subject lines, content, design, sending times, and so on can be useful, especially when you’re starting out and need to test what works with your audience. Some tools (like DirectLync) even automatically send out your best-performing content after you A/B test different variables.
The more you can measure your successes or failures and attribute them to something specific, the better your email marketing campaigns will perform. Using an email marketing tool is the first step towards this, thanks to inbuilt A/B testing and other automation tools.
However, having an experienced team of marketers to help mold these insights into strategy is important too. With DirectLync’s suite of marketing tools and services, you can have both.