But how do we measure exactly how well your email marketing is performing?
The answer is email analytics. And lots of them!
Throughout this email series, we’ve used MailChimp as a demonstration. Today is no different, as MailChimp offers a vast array of stats and figures on your campaigns.
To access yours, log into MailChimp and head to ‘reports’.
Ready? Lets dive into the essential metrics.
1. Progress against your overall business goals
Before we look at open rates and click rates, I want you to think about your wider business goals.
Statistics and numbers are crucial, but if they’re not leading you towards a larger goal, they are just ‘vanity metrics’. In other words, they might look good, but are they helping you achieve anything?
Think about whether your email marketing is increasing loyalty, generating more sales and taking your business to the next level.
The true measure of success for any email marketing campaign is if it pushes your business further.
As well as the conversion rate, I also like to measure the bounce rate. In other words, how many people landed on this page and disappeared without doing anything?
A high bounce rate here means I’ve convinced people to click through to the page, but I haven’t done enough to make them convert.
It’s all about finding these small weaknesses in the journey and figuring out what you can do better. For me, the bounce rate tells me I need to tighten something up.
6. Revenue and Sales Rate
This is similar to a conversion rate, but specifically designed for online orders and revenue from sales. MailChimp has a clever way to calculate this. It tells you exactly how many orders you have generated from an email campaign.
It also breaks it down into revenue per order and total revenue generated from the campaign.
It’s ideal for e commerce websites to see if an email campaign drives real sales.
7. Unsubscribe Rate
Average unsubscriber rate for e-commerce company – 0.23%
It’s natural to expect a few people to unsubscribe from your newsletters or updates. There are all sorts of reason for this. Perhaps they forgot they signed up, or maybe they already solved their problem.
No big deal.
BUT, if you notice your unsubscribe rate pushing higher than average, there might be something wrong. You may be pushing out newsletters and updates too often. Your content may be irrelevant to the audience.
If your unsubscriber rate starts creeping up, take some time to reassess your strategy.
8. Unengaged Subscribers
Unengaged subscribers are just as important as unsubscribers. These are the people stay on your list but never open your emails or interact with you.
For example, let’s say you have 10,000 subscribers, but 5,000 have never even opened an email. These are ‘unengaged’ subscribers. You’re paying to send emails to people who never open them.
The best thing you can do here is remove them from your list. Sure, it can feel wrong to slash subscriber numbers in half, but it’s for the best.
Average ‘soft’ bounce for e-commerce company: 0.3% Average ‘hard’ bounce for e-commerce company: 0.24%
An email ‘bounce’ is an email that can’t be delivered. There are two types of bounce: a ‘hard bounce’ and a ‘soft bounce’.
A soft bounce is an email that cannot be delivered only temporarily. Maybe the subscriber has a server problem or their inbox is full.
A hard bounce usually means the email address doesn’t exist. It’s either fake, been entered incorrectly, or been deleted.
Soft bounces are fine, but you want to remove any hard bounce email addresses. Why? Because they look like a sign of spam, and that reflects badly on your email list. Your list could ultimately be blacklisted.
After each campaign, clean out any hard-bounce emails, especially if your percentage is higher than the average.
10. 24 Hour Performance
MailChimp’s 24-hour performance chart is both fun and useful. It’s fun because you can watch in real time as subscribers open your emails and interact with them.
Most subscribers will open your emails within the first hour, so that initial response is a good indication of your email list health.
The rest of the time period is also useful though. It shows you peaks of activity at certain times of the day. For example, it might show you that a large portion of your subscribers opened the email at 10 PM.
If this is a common pattern in your campaigns, you know that your audience is generally engaged in the late evening. It’s handy information to know about your customers.
11. Subscribers With Most Opens
This table tells you how many times your subscribers opened your email, and ranks them. As you can see below, one subscriber opened my email 73 times.
This is quite out-of-the-ordinary, so I know this is a key customer for me. They are so interested in my newsletter that they’ve opened it 73 times! This person is a power-user. In future, I could send this subscriber a special email with a discount or an offer.
Essentially, I can keep track of my most active and engaged subscribers.
This map shows you exactly where people opened your email. Knowing where your most engaged customers and subscribers live is important for so many reasons.
First of all, it gives you an indication of the best time to send your next email newsletter, based on the timezone of your subscribers.
But it does more than that. It tells you where your business and products are most popular. It gives you a clear demographic that you can use for further promotion and adverts on, say, Facebook.
It lets you know how to tailor your marketing and your local SEO.
Other analytics maps (like on Facebook Insights or Google Analytics) are also useful. But your email map is way more specific, because these are your most engaged followers.
We don’t often consider the importance of ‘sharing’ an email, as much as a blog post or web page. But it can be incredibly powerful.
For example, if a friend forwards you an email, you’re almost 100% going to read it, right? It’s a personal recommendation. That’s why I pay quite a lot of attention to my ‘forward’ rate.
First of all, it means my content reaches a new reader, which could become a new customer.
Secondly, it means my subscriber found something really useful in the email. They were moved to pass it on to someone else. It means (hopefully) I’m doing something right.
Try explicitly asking your subscribers to forward the email to a friend next time you send out a newsletter.
14. Return on Investment
As I mentioned at the start of this article, the statistics mean nothing if your email strategy doesn’t push your business forward.
Data, figures and analytics tell you everything you need to know about your email campaigns. Are they working? Who are your best customers? What could you do better?
However, don’t just focus on the ‘vanity metrics’. Make sure you’re digging deep into the figures that really matter.
What metrics do you consider most important with your email campaigns?
This post brings me to the end of our six-part series on email marketing. I hope you’ve found it useful! Would you like another in-depth series on a specific aspect of marketing or web development? Let me know in the comments.
Daren Low is the founder of Bitcatcha.com and co-developer of the free Server Speed Checker. With a decade of experience in website development and internet marketing to his name, Daren is considered a premier authority on all things related to building and managing an online presence. Feel free to pick his brain by connecting via Google+ and Twitter.
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