Email marketing is a great way to reach current customers outside the realm of social media. I mean, let's face it, there are some out there who aren't on Instagram or Twitter. Email is a great way to remind your customers of who you are and what you have to offer. It's also a unique way to add value to their lives, even when they aren't making a purchase. As with most marketing, tracking your success is crucial when it comes to improving your efforts.
Email Marketing for the Win
Emails are a great opportunity for your brand to build trust and share your expertise. It allows your subscribers to get to know you a little better. And a result, trust you. This type of marketing strategy will help your brand stay in the forefront of their minds. But you have to keep a few goals in mind. Each email should do the following:
- Attract - Create content that attracts target subscribers in order to capture their email addresses. Content includes blog posts, social media updates, and opt-in incentives.
- Nurture - Deliver value to your subscribers. Send high-quality content to your list on a consistent basis. You want them to expect it – train them to not only open your emails but to click on the links within.
- Convert - This is your money maker. Set up your offers and ask for the sale. Since you have already built a connection with them – it’s time to benefit from it.
5 Important Email Metrics You Should Be Tracking
Once you've gotten the basics down, it's time to start tracking your email metrics. Below you will find email marketing metrics that will help to assess the health and success of your email campaigns. It really is always a good idea to benchmark your data and work to improve until you have a perfectly executed science. We'll cover some of the benchmarks down below.
1. Unique Opens
Unique opens is the number of people who open your email and it doesn't count multiple opens. This means it's the best picture of how many people actually open your email. So what exactly does this number tell you? It lets you know how...
- enticing your subject line is
- engaged and interested people are with your brand
But why do those metrics matter? You might not think it, but they actually matter a lot. An enticing subject line tells the subscriber what to expect in your email and if it isn't attention-grabbing they won't open your email, period.
If you send too many emails (or adversely, not enough) the rate may be low because people aren't connected with your brand via email. However, if you send too many emails, the opposite is true and they could be completely sick of seeing messages from your brand.
Once you've found your baseline for your unique open rate (or total unique opens) with your own historical data you can start improving it. Don't worry if you don't have any data to look back on, you can always check the industry averages. Below are a few tips to help boost your unique open rate:
- express exclusivity or deadlines in the subject line - this plays into the FOMO (fear of missing out) which drives them to open the email
- use numbers in the subject line - they're a lot easier to process
- personalize the subject line based on location - you can do this using merge tags in your email client. For example, try something like, "Our Favorite New Spot In Montreal!" or "We have an awesome deal for you, Olivia!"
Don't forget to test your "From" address as well. It's a good idea to always use the name of someone instead of the company. The latter could deter people because they might view it as a sales email.
Click-throughs (click through rates) are the number of people who clicked on a link in your email. This metric answers the questions: Are people engaged with our emails? Are we sending information that makes them take action? Thankfully every email client provides you with this data, but the key isn't to calculate it. You should track it religiously and make changes based on what you find.
In order to track this properly, start with your benchmark. Each month check out the analytics dashboard of your email client and make a list of the top five and bottom five emails and ask yourself, What did each group have in common? and Did the top performing emails have something different than the lower performing ones?
- Send the right amount of emails. Hubspot found the sweet spot correlation number of emails sent and click-through rate for B2B and B2C companies.
- Make your emails more interactive. Embed videos in order to increase your click-through rates by 65 percent.
- The links should be enticing. Test different CTA styles, button, images, or anchor text. Don’t forget to test link location and color with these tips from Constant Contact.
3. Total Number of Forwards/Forward Rate
This metric lets you know how many people forward your email to someone else. This is incredibly important if you want to build brand impressions and attract new customers. The high forward rates let you know more about your subscriber engagement and if your content is relevant to both your subscribers and their network.
Surprisingly, 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase per year based on a promotional email. So, the more people see your email and become aware of your brand, the more likely they are to make a purchase at some point.
In order to figure out the benchmark with your data, use the following formula:
Total number of emails forwarded/total emails sent x 100 = forward rate
Once you have your benchmark, it's time to test it. Emails that have the highest forward rate has a lot to do with content, as opposed to the subject line. So make sure you have some killer content in your email. Then you can test a variety of elements and update your data every month. Over time you'll build the blueprint for a highly shareable email that you can use again and again.
4. Email Generated Sales
This lets you know if your efforts are actually driving revenue. Seriously, you send all kinds of emails, but how many of them are actually generating sales? If you aren't tracking this metric, you'll remain in the dark about what works and what doesn't.
Tracking email-generated sales are easy as appending each URL with a Google Analytics UTM. Thankfully platforms like Woocommerce and Shopify integrate with most email clients. All you have to do is connect the two programs with an API key and check your dashboard for the data.
Once your tracking is in place, it's crucial to separate the type of sales emails so you can see which one is most effective. Here are a variety of sales emails that you can track:
- Coupon/Discount Emails: Segment these sales out from the rest to see if this type works more than others. If so, delivering discounts can definitely drive sales.
- Themed or Seasonal Sales Emails: These types of emails are a great way to encourage timely purchases. If the numbers show that they drive a lot of revenue, see how you can add more of them to your email marketing plan.
Whenever you analyze these numbers don't forget to take a look at the subject line, email design and CTA's. All of this really does have an impact on whether someone buys or not
Bounces let you know if your emails are actually making it to your subscribers' inboxes This is a critical metric because you can start to get penalized for too many hard bounces. But here's the thing, not all bounces are troublesome. Most of the time bounces are labeled as either hard or soft. When you know the difference between the two, you can greatly improve this metric. What's most important is the health of your list. So let's take a look a the two categories:
Soft bounce - this means that the person's email address is valid, but for some reason, the email wasn't delivered. Maybe their inbox is full or the message is too large for their inbox. Or the server is down. All of this is totally fine and fairly common.
Hard bounce - this is where you need to be more careful. This happens whenever an email is rejected because the email isn't valid or doesn't exist. If you continue to send emails to these addresses your reputation of the email and IP address will start to be flagged as spam. This can get ugly because it can cause a significant decrease in deliverability. As a result, fewer people will receive your email, simply because their provider (ie. Gmail) filters it out as spam.
The best way to avoid issues with bounce rate is to make sure that your lists are clean at all times. Some email software clients do this for you, which makes it even easier to maintain and avoid these bounce rates. You can also email subscribers once in awhile, asking them to update their email address.
The best way to find your benchmark for this metric is to compare your average bounce rate to these industry averages.