How to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns
An email marketing campaign is only as good as the stats that it produces – so anyone not tracking their emails is missing an opportunity to gauge their effectiveness.
In any area of business it pays to always be improving and email marketing is no different; by measuring how successful your emails have been at persuading consumers to check out your website or sign up for product, you give yourself a frame of reference – a platform from which to improve your return on investment.
While it may differ from company to company, or even campaign to campaign, here are a number of ways to measure the effectiveness and the success of your email campaigns.
But how do you measure the success of your campaign? This will differ slightly depending on the overall aim of the organisation and the narrower objective of your email marketing communications. Not all campaigns are intent on getting people to purchase something, others are about persuading people to visit websites as part of a bid to spread information (many government initiatives do this).
There are a wealth of performance metrics available – to measure your success effectively you should evaluate which ones are most appropriate for your purposes, then monitor them. By producing periodic reports you can see how well the campaign is performing over time according to the parameters you have set.
You will need to tag email links in your emails and set up other tracking processes to follow their progress, although this may be something your email marketing partner does for you.
Which metrics should you use?
Using web analytics systems you should have access to a host of valuable information that can help you measure success. Most email and digital marketing platforms allow you to monitor, track, and report on your campaign results. We’re no different. Here are some of the most important:
This is calculated by dividing the number of opened emails by the total number sent out (x100 for a percentage). It is a great indicator of how well your subject line is working and can offer insight into how your brand is perceived by recipients; however, the open rate does not tell the whole story – just because a lot of people opened an email does not make it successful.
Campaigns where you’ll want to monitor your open rates: All of them, although for different campaigns there will be different reasons.
This metric (number of clicks divided by the total emails sent, x100 for a percentage) relates to how many people have clicked a link on the email and offers arguably a more telling barometer of how good your content is, since if high numbers of recipients are clicking through, then your message must be relevant.
Campaigns where you’ll want to monitor your CTR: Any that include a call to action (CTA), or where you want the recipient to take an action. Depending on the type of campaign, this could be clicking on a link to update a profile, confirm their email address and opt in, to purchase a product, and so on.
For marketers more interested in the big picture, the conversion rate is the metric to monitor. The calculation (number of conversions divided by total emails sent, x100 for a percentage) tells you plain and simply what proportion of the time you are succeeding with a sale/sign-up/other call to action from your emails.
Campaigns where you’ll want to monitor your conversion rate: As above, any campaigns where you want the recipient to take action in your email.
This statistic (the percentage of emails delivered) shows how many of your emails are getting through to people’s inboxes. A poor figure here could hurt your reputation with email service providers and put you in danger of being treated as spam, so make sure you remove any recipients from your list that are bouncing back as invalid addresses.
In recent years the conversation and awareness around deliverability has become more widespread. If your emails aren’t reaching the inboxes of your subscribers or customers, then you campaign results will ultimately suffer, especially if you’re selling a product or service online. If you don’t know a lot about deliverability and why it is becoming a crucial component of your digital marketing strategy, this guide is a good starting point.
Campaigns where you’ll want to monitor your deliverability: Every. Single. One. If you notice sudden drops in open rates this is a cause for concern, and should be looked into quickly. The sooner you act, the sooner you can discover the root cause of the problem and do what you can to improve your deliverability.
List growth, revenue per email, and more
There are all sorts of other metrics that could apply to your campaign, including sharing rate (the number of people sharing your messages either by email or social media), subscriber retention (how long you are keeping subscribers for), revenue per email (the revenue brought in by each email on average) and list growth (fluctuations in subscriber numbers).
Additional factors to consider
The metrics mentioned above will give you a great indication of how well your campaign is performing, but it is crucial to consider them in context. For instance, it is important to benchmark your campaign in the right way, as the statistics relating to different kinds of initiatives can be wildly different – for example a promotional message is likely to have a far lower open rate than a transactional email.
In addition to this, there may be external factors that relate to your email marketing metrics but are perhaps not strictly caused by the campaign. An example would be if you have a high click-through rate but low conversion rate; this is likely to be down to a problem with the product or landing page that the recipient is being directed to. Analysis and testing should help you determine if an external factor is having an effect.