Welcome to measurement Mondays, our opportunity to share some best practices, educational information and talk about all things related to measurement to start your week. In this week’s measurement Monday post, we will be reviewing some of the different metrics used when analyzing email campaigns.
Email is an integral part of today’s content marketing and marketing automation strategies, and contributes greatly to the success of each by maintaining customer relationships, nurturing leads and even attracting new contacts through sharing.
As such, you want to be sure you are sending the right content, at the right time to the right people while walking the fine line between too many and too few emails and interactions and simultaneously maintaining a growing, yet healthy email list…oh, and driving traffic to your landing pages and increasing conversions.
So how do you determine success with the goals above?
Email doesn’t have to be difficult to measure and is relatively straightforward using a few key metrics.
Delivery rates indicate how many recipients receive your emails versus those who do not. Sometimes, emails do not reach their intended recipient because of issues with the email software or the email server.
Sometimes an entire server is blacklisted as a result of sending spam. If you happen to be sending from that same server, your email delivery rates can be negatively impacted. Additionally, your IP or even your domain can be blacklisted if you’re not following best practices and abiding by the CAN-SPAM Act, which was enacted in 2003 to protect email integrity and set policy.
Email being labeled as spam can, however, also be affected by bad or invalid addresses in your list or poor structure and language, which causes it to be flagged as spam. A bad email address can cause an email to “hard bounce” (versus a “soft bounce”, which are typically the result of temporary issues such as full inboxes).
High bounce rates indicate the overall health of your list may be suffering and need to be cleaned of addresses that either no longer exists or may have been incorrectly entered into your contact database. Having too many bounces can cause an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to tag you as a spammer, so keeping your list clean and relevant is vital to email campaign success.
To improve deliverability, use a clear and familiar from name, and offer both HTML and plain text versions of your email, avoid spammy subject lines and content, and regularly prune your list of bad addresses.
Engagement can be measured with open rates and click rates, which are fairly easy to track and view. The open rate indicates how many recipients opened your email. But take this number with a grain of salt; open rates can be affected by preview panes (typically used in Outlook) in an email client or recipients who do not download images. The click through rate is the percentage of clicks compared to the number of emails delivered.
High open rates can indicate that your subject lines were compelling or that your business or brand is a trusted or reputable sender. High click rates can let you know a particular piece of content or an offer resonated with or interested recipients.
If an email has a high open rate but low click through rate, there is an indication the content may have missed the mark…this time. This is where the click to open rate may be valuable. This measures the percentage of recipients who clicked a link divided by the number of opens.
You should also measure these metrics over time versus individual emails or campaigns. If your opens and clicks are declining with each email, you might conclude that you are sending emails too often resulting in email fatigue.
Engagement can also be measured using the unsubscribe rate and spam reports. These lost contacts indicate contact churn or the rate at which users opt-out of your mailings. While 0% contact churn would be ideal, it is unlikely. However, of the two methods a recipient can choose to stop receiving your emails, it is better for him/her to unsubscribe than to mark your email as spam thus impacting your email reputation.
Unsubscribe rates can be deceptively low as many will simply mark an email as spam rather than taking time to unsubscribe. To avoid high numbers of spam reports, make the unsubscribe process easy.
Going Deeper: Conversions and Revenue
The above metrics give you a good sense overall about the performance of your email marketing. But to dive deeper, you can also look at conversion rates and revenue per email.
A conversion is not the same as a click. Conversion rates are tied to specific actions such as signing up, completing a form or making a purchase. If recipients repeatedly arrive from your email to your landing page and fail to convert, then it might be time to review the landing page for issues or inconsistencies in messaging or user experience barriers.
Revenue per email is the ROI of your email marketing. Simply, this is the revenue directly earned as a result of the email divided by the number of emails sent.
Measuring the success of your email can improve deliverability, ensuring the largest portions of your subscribers receive your messages. It can also help your email campaigns. Knowing which emails garner the most opens and clicks allows you to improve your subject lines, content and offers for your specific audiences. Lastly, measuring your conversion helps you monetize your email and demonstrate its value as well as identify issues in conversion pages and messaging.
Have metrics you analyze on a regular basis and rely on to provide campaign success? Please share using the comments below.