Every marketer understands the importance of email marketing in any business, however not everyone is clear on how to analyse the results of previous newsletters or how to improve going forward.
In this blog, we will discuss which metrics you should be focusing on (depending on your business objectives) and how this information can help you test and improve your next email marketing campaign.
Before continuing, consider, if you haven’t already, what you want to achieve with your next newsletter . Then you will be able to see how you should be tracking the metrics below in order to find out how successful you have been.
Click through Rate
If the main objective for your newsletter is to drive traffic to your site, then obviously you will want to measure click throughs from the email and see which links the readers clicked, as well as the ones they didn’t. The click through rate (CTR), which is calculated as a percentage based on how many people saw your link and who then decided to click on it, will also provide insights into any A/B testing you have included in your campaign by allowing you to clearly see which call to action your readers engaged with more.
If you have a clear goal for your newsletter such as sign-ups for a webinar or a download of your latest case study, then tracking your conversion rate will allow you to see how effective your campaign has been at achieving these goals. This is calculated as the percentage of people who performed the desired action after clicking through to your content, such as downloading your case study. By tracking the conversion rate of your email marketing campaigns, you will be able to start to A/B test small changes, from the language used or even just the colour of your call to action buttons, to help see which version of your newsletter has performed best. If you are experimenting with your campaign, do make sure you only make a small tweak each time so that you can clearly see which change has had the greatest impact.
Although this can be quite a slow process, A/B testing should be present in every email you send to your contacts. This is so that over time you are able to build a well-optimised template that will drive more engagement and improve the ROI of each campaign you send out.
The bounce rate is calculated on the percentage of emails that were unable to be delivered from your chosen database. This is usually broken down into two types of bounces, hard and soft.
Soft bounces are those, which are temporarily unable to be delivered to the subscriber’s inbox. This may be due to a server problem or a full inbox. These emails will usually be delivered once the problem has been resolved.
Hard bounces are from invalid email addresses and the intended user will never receive your campaign. It is important to remove any hard bounces from your database after each campaign, as internet service providers will use your bounce rate data as a way of determining your sender reputation, which, if deemed as low, could see your hard work being delivered to spam folders instead.
Database Growth Rate
The growth rate of your database is an important metric to track, as with time, in any industry, your database is likely to decay by 25% per year and so it is vital to maintain a healthy number of subscribers in your contacts. Which also takes us on nicely to our next metric:
Social Sharing/Forwarding Rate
By monitoring any social shares and if any subscribers have forwarded your message onto a friend, you will be able to start to distinguish what makes your current audience share your campaign and with this knowledge, continue to grow your audience by writing content that is likely to reach more and more new contacts.
By encouraging your readers to share and forward the email, you will be able help to keep that database at a healthy size by attracting new contacts through their friend’s recommendations.
By monitoring the above metrics in every email marketing campaign you send out, you will start to build a good understanding of the ROI of your newsletters and see which areas you can continue to improve. However you may have noticed one or two metrics that I haven’t included that historically, you would expect to see in an email marketing blog. These are open rates and the unsubscribe rate.
Although it is clearly important to create a well-optimised subject line to entice your subscribers to open your newsletter, this metric will not give you much more insight into your reader’s engagement with your message, more than it was opened. Of course, this metric should not be completely ignored, but just make sure that you are using this as a comparative metric to see how different subject lines compare from email to email, rather than as a basis of how well single campaign performed.
When it comes to the unsubscribe rate, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is not always a clear representation of subscribers who are no longer interested in your brand’s emails. We’ve all been guilty of having a few newsletters that just we no longer pay attention to, but have not bothered to go through the process of actually unsubscribing from their lists. To gain more insight in how engaged your audience really is; focus more on your CTR and conversion rates.
By regularly tracking these metrics, you will be able to use your findings to improve your campaigns over time to improve each campaign, as well as keep a healthy database.
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