Best Practice Article
Important email marketing metrics and how to use these to improve results
One of the main advantages of email marketing is the ability to get detailed data for tracking and reporting campaign performance. Measuring your email marketing performance allows you to see how a specific email campaign performed and then improve your results for future send-outs. In this month’s best practice article, Simon Bowker, eCircle’s UK Managing Director, illustrates the top three most common email metrics used by marketers, and what tactics are used to improve performance.
Marketers know that the three most important email marketing metrics tracked by companies are: click-through rates, open rates and email deliverability rates. This is been further supported by a recent MarketingSherpa benchmarking study and this article will offer best practice advice and emphasis on how to improve your performance in each of these areas.
The most tracked email metric is click-through rates. If you integrate your email broadcast tool with CRM or web analytics systems you will be able to measure further metrics such as post-click conversions, revenue per email and of course your email ROI.
To continually improve the performance of your email campaign you can use different tests on subject lines, calls to action, content and links, which will have a direct impact on your click-through rate. This helps you to determine what is working and importantly, what is not. You then have the opportunity to change lists, subject lines, topics, offers or formatting to drive clicks and conversions. By taking note of what generates higher click-through rates, you can incorporate similar links (i.e. product category) in future messages. These adjustments to your newsletter content can enable you to increase click rates.
Of course, one of the most important email marketing tactics to improve your email results is segmentation. Through smaller, more targeted segments with more relevant and timely messaging you’ll be able to increase your results significantly. Today, the ‘spray n' pray’ tactic no longer works. By targeting segments by location, (especially for the travel industry for example), you can significantly improve click-through rates and your recipients will have relevant content, adapted to their needs, which will increase engagement and customer satisfaction.
Open rates are also used as one of the principle metrics of email marketing. Subject lines have the biggest impact on open rates this therefore makes split testing on headlines essential to see which subject line performs best. Body styles can also be tested down the track using open and click-through rates to establish which combinations perform better. This testing can help you to determine whether you may need to redesign your newsletter.
Another simple piece of advice is to keep an eye on the time and day of the week your email campaigns are sent out. Depending on whether you operate in the B2B or B2C channels and what industry you operate in, the results will vary. Analysing the send-out time will help you to find out what works best for your campaign, as certain times of the day will affect the open rates. The best advice is to test test test!.
You can also track open rates by segment i.e. by email domain or age. This gives you great visibility into segmentation, which can help drive content, offers and your email acquisition. Apart from seeing whether the email campaign has been successful, open rates can be used to assess a client’s engagement with your products.
Email deliverability is the first link in a chain of key metrics. It is important to define a clear formula for calculating the delivery rate and apply it consistently across your email programme. Most of the time, the simplest method for determining your deliverability rate is to divide the total number of emails delivered by the total number sent. Another way to assess this is as follows: emails sent, less hard bounces only, divided by total number of emails sent. Making it to the inbox involves a complex set of issues and is a big challenge for email marketers. Removing non-active subscribers is one of the most efficient tactics to improve deliverability and overall email performance rates.
The secret to a successful email marketing programme is to experiment, test, and to measure the performance. Best practice shows that even slight changes can make a huge difference, by measuring the results can help you to determine what messages work best so that you can then optimise and modify your email marketing to ensure that you are always in touch with your customers. For further inspiration on how to how to optimise your newsletter’s ROI and how to increase your conversions via email marketing please refer to our other best practice articles available on our website.
This article is a summary of eCircle’s newsletter "Inside Digital Marketing". If you wish to receive further news from the email marketing sector please subscribe here: http://www.ecircle.com/en/newsletter