Email marketing is one of the oldest “new” ways of marketing to your customers. With better spam filters and more savvy Internet users, it’s more difficult than before to have a successful campaign. Using metrics can help! Here are five metrics you can use to improve your email marketing campaign.
Spam Percentage – Email is sent to spam folders for a variety of reasons – too many links, a high percentage of words that are universally recognized as spam, and questionable subject lines. Many email-marketing companies provide what’s called a “spam percentage” or the likelihood that your email will be sent to your recipient’s spam folder instead of their inbox. Even if your provider doesn’t include this feature, you can do your own metrics by tallying the number of spam words (HubSpot has a great list) compared to other text and finding the percentage.
Open Rate – The open rate is the percentage or delivered emails opened by the recipients, and is calculated by dividing the number of email messages that were opened by the number of email messages delivered (the number is then calculated as a percentage.) Although open rate is a very useful number to gauge the performance of your email marketing campaign, it could be slightly skewed depending on the audience and type of email. For instance, if your email marketing piece includes lots of images, the open rate will include any message in which the images were downloaded. Some recipients may open the email, but not download the images – or vice versa. Open rates tend to be higher during the first half of the year, and lower during summer and fall.
Click Rate – Your click-through rate determines how many people took the initiative to click on a link in your email-marketing piece. Click through rate is the number of unique clicks on links in the email-marketing piece divided by the number of delivered emails in a campaign. Click-through rates for email in the US average about 5.4%. To use this metric, track your click-through rates for a few months and compare them for each subsequent campaign to previous benchmarks as well as the national average. Keep your emails short and sweet – relevant, concise content accompanying a direct link. The more words you use per URL, the lower your click-through rate will be – don’t make your readers hunt for the link! Use concise messages to show them exactly what your call-to-action is for each email.
Bounce Rate – An email bounce rate means that the email was returned – or “bounced back” – from a particular address. Bounce rates can be soft or hard. Soft bounce rates happen due to a server error or a temporary issue – such as a full inbox for an email recipient. A hard bounce rate occurs when the email provided is incorrect or invalid. Bounce rates can negatively effect other metrics, like open rate, for instance, so getting your bounce rate under control (to the best of your ability) will help the overall campaign. If your bounce rate is the same each time you send, you might have some bad email addresses; clean up your database and remove invalid addresses. Another way to control bounce rate is to clearly offer a way for users to unsubscribe to your communication. Also, offer a double-opt in – users must confirm their subscription through an emailed link, thus guaranteeing the email is legitimate.
Unsubscribe – It’s important to keep track of the people unsubscribing to your newsletter or email marketing campaign, and you can do that with two metrics: Unsubscriber number and unsubscribe rate. Unsubscriber number is simple: the number of people who opted so unsubscribe from your content with each delivery. Tracking these numbers gives you an idea of how many people are on your list, which is especially important if you’re paying by the number of recipients. The unsubscribe rate works with other metrics to help you determine what percentage of your recipients are unsubscribing. Using both these metrics, you’ll be able to see what kind of content works best.
About the Author: Robert Woodford has been writing about email marketing online for over 10 years for companies like ReachMail. When not writing, you can find him at home with his family or practicing his guitar skills.