7 Email marketing metrics that matter

Marketers and buyersagree that no matter how much email marketing, is criticized, it remains one of the most effective business tools. The main reasons for mailing are increasing the company's revenues and brand promotion. I hope that you have the same goal: not to sell immediately and as much as possible, but namely to increase the income of the company. For example, MarketingSherpa reported that about 60% of marketers believe that email marketing brings a positive return on investment for their business. Direct Marketing Association claims that about 60% of consumers made purchases as a result of received emails.

Today we will consider the most popular indicators that are available to almost everyone, so they are paid so much attention. But to stay "sober" in our own judgments, we also explain why some of these indicators should not be overused. Of course, it is better to have following metrics:

  • «The relevance of the letter to the user.»
  • «The importance of the letter to the user.»
  • «Subscriber loyalty to the brand.»
  • «Client/ Subscriber Satisfaction.»
  • «How much money a client is willing to spend on our services/goods,» etc.

Unfortunately, these figures are very abstract, and it is not so easy to get them, but there are some substitutes. Let's talk about them :)

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1. Opens (Open Rate)

How many people viewed or opened a particular message. Most people open the letter in the first two days, while the other clients can read it after a week or even longer. This is probably one of the first indicators that you are viewing when sending emails. In fact, it is «inaccurate» indicator showing the ratio of opened letters to delivered ones. The letter is opened if the image is loaded. But the fact that the letter is loaded does not mean that you read it, but were just quickly deleting everything. On the other hand, the fact that the picture is not loaded does not mean that the letter was not read. Although in general, this indicator can be trusted.

What will the % of openings tell you:

  • What email topics are interesting to your subscribers. You can even hold a special  experiment in our system, specifying several themes.
  • What weekdays and what time are the letters best opened? It is already a cliché that a letter should be sent on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. But it is better to not believe it and to experiment all the time. Imagine if all companies sent emails only on Tuesday at 12:00. Then the client would receive all emails in one day and spend a week to sort them out, but probably he would delete it :)
  • What percentage of clients on average does respond to your messages?
  • How recognizable is a sender? Add company name/brand in the «From» field for easy recognition of your email by client.
  • The frequency of sending. Perhaps the reader simply does not have time to browse all your emails, especially if you write a lot and it is a longread.

The % of openings depends on the scope of the company, but most of all the openability is influenced by  the time, sender field and the subject line. There is no clear, no permanent figure, but on average it is 20%. Even if the open-rate will be lower, it does not mean that it is time to panic and tear your hair out. Please look what next figures will tell you about the letter in the first place.

The percentage is also good because it makes it easy to compare the two campaigns with different number of contacts. But we should always remember that you can not compare the incomparable. For example, the percentage of trigger letters and regular mailing, or the open rate of campaign to a list of 100 people and a list of 10 000 people, or the percentage of openings by active users and those who have not read your emails for a long time. You had better not pay too much attention to percentage since it is a measure that is important in dynamics, for example, the last time was better, or in general, it is always better, but now the whole month is going down!

We must remember the secret of high conversion:

Do you want to get 100% openability of your letters? Send them to your mom!

Or, for example, send an email with the subject «I'm naked here!» or something like this. The percentage of email openability is the transition option for sales. In order to bring customer to a purchase - there must be both interesting content and  vivid CTA, to make clients want to follow the links and buy goods.

The alternative of the percentage is a «Total open» indicator — the absolute number of those who opened the letter. Sometimes it is more important than the open rate.

2. Passing on the links

Here everything is much easier than with the openability: if somebody has already clicked — he/she clicked. Sometimes it is said that the purpose of the letter is not to get a sell but a click. If in your case this is true, of course, this figure is one of the most important. First of all, it will point you on how the audience is interested in your letters. This figure includes the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and individual elements: the theme, the text, the interest of subscribers to your brand, your credibility. The rate for this indicator is about 4%.

3. Readers who «pushed the button » (CTR)

This figure tells you the ratio of clicks on links to openings. The median is 15%, which demonstrates the effectiveness of your text. CTR will tell you how much your email meets the expectations of subscribers and proves to be interested to them. If your readers do not go to the links on your site, then you should try to work on this indicator.

What should I do to increase conversions:

  • Promising something subscribers in the subject line, it is important to disclose the intrigue in the text. When your theme is bright and attractive but does not apply to the letter — the credibility of these letters is lost, and you can’t expect any clicks.
  • The more often you update the contact list with new email addresses, the higher your chances are to increase CTR, so it does not «burn out». Recently added contacts are often more active than the «mailing veterans ». A small contact base which is always ready to listen to you is far better than big but passive one.
  • Probably, you write about what is interesting to you, not your clients: commercial offers, your news and updates, promotions, which the client does not need at all. Think about how you can improve writing and then send only that content , which will allow the client to solve the urgent problems, get answers to questions, to see something from a new perspective, etc.
  • Try to write short letters, as close as possible and useful to your audience. Motivate them to follow the link. Perhaps it will be a very short letter with the results of the contest, links to directories, article or previously unavailable materials, a limited time offer also works well. Note: letter should be read without scrolling, and the content has to be simple and easy to scan.
  • Agree that not all users read a letter to the end, so add the important links higher to achieve the goal.
  • Make sure that the CTA button is visible and attractive, even if the images turned off in their email client. Run experiments with CTA button using different colors, shapes, and positioning of the text.
  • Segment your lists, based on customer profile, geography, interests, and position in the sales funnel. Set up email by these criteria, since personal letters are always interesting.

It is hard to underestimate this figure because the topic is already interesting, person spent time and opened the letter, but did not find anything useful. However, it happens sometimes, that an interesting topic was found, but the person did not follow the link and simply thought «I will read this later», and then, of course, he/she has never returned to this letter again. Sometimes it makes sense to make an offer again but to formulate it a little differently.

4. Marked as spam

Unfortunately, the complaints will always be, and it is inevitable. Perhaps you are not to blame, the client simply had a bad day, or he got millions of messages, and to click «Spam» button is faster than unsubscribe. It is always important to try to understand why this happens but you should pay attention if this percentage is too high, and there are many angry comments. There are several ways to prevent such a situation:

  • Use the subscription confirmation, so the client would not forget that he had signed and once again confirmed his/her intention. It will reduce the number of people receiving the letter against their will.
  • Do not use a «clever» subscription methods as an imperceptible tick when ordering or after a comment left on the blog. Probably, so you can collect a base faster, but to get people to stay with you will be much more difficult, especially because such methods may increase the number of complaints, especially if you have no any confirmation and the client does not even know that has become your subscriber.
  • Do not overwhelm the client with letters. The fact that you have the permission from the client does not mean that you have to attack him with a few letters a day. If you are on good terms with the neighbors, you do not go to them for no reason every two hours. Right? Write only what's important and useful to the client and not to irritate him.
  • Sometimes people click on «Spam», because they have forgotten about you. So do not delay with the next letter.

5. Unsubscription

Unsubscription points to the falling interest of the reader to your messages. The acceptable percentage is 1-2%. If there is a sudden surge, try to find out the reason for this, in order not to repeat the mistake in future campaigns. Why it may happen:

  • A client stays with you for a long time and has already stopped reading. For example, when the sent information was needed for work, but the client has quit.   
  • Readers are tired of your letters, and there is no use for them. Consider a new email campaign with a new message format, and possibly with a new template.
  • You write too often. Try to send emails less frequently.
  • You have not justified expectations of the client. You promised newsletter about beauty and health, but instead, you send the gossip about the stars.
  • The reader has subscribed only to get bonuses. To get the client interested in receiving your emails further, send them a welcome letter and set expectations that will continue to be even more interesting. Tell them about what you write and how often.

6. Returns (errors)

Returns show the number of undeliverable messages to the recipient. Acceptable % of returns for a regular campaign — 0,5%. Sending messages, once a month or less, it may be 4.4%. Here are some tips to bring the number of returns to the minimum:

  • Do not buy lists. A black contact base is a dead graveyard of addresses that can potentially be blacklisted.
  • Grow lists. It is time-consuming but worth doing.
  • Do not start your newsletter for a year or two. Periodic mailing enables gradually to clean the base.
  • Keep your base clean. Painlessly remove inactive addresses, in order not to spoil your reputation.
  • Adjust the data input check in the form of registration/subscription, to avoid typos.
  • Adjust the address confirmation email in the first letter. Thus, you can weed out the bots and the «fake» addresses.

7. Conversion

How many subscribers have bought your products/services, after clicking on the link? Conversion depends not only on emails, and also on how comfortable and simple your site is for the client to navigate. This number may be difficult to track because conversion occurs over a long period. But the goal of all marketing activities, including email marketing is more sales, so you have to work hard. The email services do not have this indicator, so to track it, you need to integrate with analytical tool. Alternatively, you can put UTM-tags in the letters, so latter you could track clients in Google Analytics.

This is our version of the seven basic metrics of any letter. After all the key figures are carefully checked, all other metrics might be selected individually, depending on your goals. For example, you can view what postal service is used by clients (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.); what kind of devices they use (mobile, desktop); what domains the readability is higher on, etc. These figures allow you to please clients and decide in which direction to move forward.

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