Is Your Email Marketing Working? 14 Essential Metrics to Measure (The Definitive Email Marketing Guide Part 6)

By    Last updated April 25, 2017   Email Marketing

When it comes to data, statistics and numbers, I’m kind of a geek.

 

I love combing through my Google Analytics figures. I’m obsessed with measuring my email marketing campaigns. I love graphs and tables and numbers.

 

With email marketing metrics, I can see immediately who’s opening my newsletters. I can see my best customers and I can figure out which subject lines work best.

 

 

 

 

 

I can also see what’s not working. What could I do better next time?

 

This is why statistics and data are so important. They’re not just interesting, they’re essential for improving your business.

 

There’s another reason I spend so much time looking at email analytics too:

 

The people that open your emails are your most engaged and important followers. They value your company. They engage and interact with you.

 

Why wouldn’t you want to know more about them?

 

 

email campaign data

 

 

A quick glossary of email metrics terms

 

First things first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. I’ll be talking about various email marketing terms in this post including:

 

Open rate – The percentage of your total subscribers that opened your email.

 

Click rate – The percentage of your total subscribers that clicked on a link within the email.

 

Unsubscribed – How many people unsubscribed from your list after an email campaign.

 
 

If you’ve followed our email marketing series so far, you will have set up an an email signup form on your website, created an email welcome series, and nailed your subject line.

 

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’.

 

 

mailchimp 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.

 

 

2. Open Rate

 

Average open rate for e-commerce company – 16.71%

 

The open rate is often the figure that marketers focus on. It represents how many people opened your email.

 

Naturally, we’re looking for the highest possible number here. The more people opening your emails, the more chances to convert them or drive them back to your website.

 

 

open rate

 

 

A high open rate also suggests a certain loyalty. It means your subscribers are eager to open your emails and see what’s inside.

 

The average open rate for an e-commerce company is 16.71%, so if you’re hitting above that, good work!

 

BUT, don’t rely on the open rate alone. We need to dig deeper to see whether those subscribers are taking action.

 

Want tips on improving your open rate? Read Part 4 of our Definitive Email Marketing Guide.

 

 

3. Click Rate

 

Average click rate for e-commerce company – 2.3%

 

The click rate is often a much better indicator of your campaign success. A high click rate means that people aren’t just opening your emails, they’re actually clicking through to your website.

 

 

click rate

 

 

It means they’re intrigued and interested about the content of your email. It also means your call-to-action is working and you’re engaging the right audience.

 

The average click rate is pretty low, so don’t be disheartened. But take note of those that do click through. They are your most engaged customers.

 

 

4. Conversion Rate on Your Landing Page

 

Many people think a good click rate means their work is done. But, the real test of a good email campaign is whether that click drives a conversion or a sale.

 

Let’s say you run an online marketing course. You send an email to your subscribers promoting the course, and direct them to a landing page.

 

Five percent of your subscribers click through to the landing page, but how many of those people then sign up to your course?

 

 

 

 

That’s the real measure of how successful your campaign was.

 

You can track your email conversions by creating a tracking URL from Google Analytics and placing that link in your newsletters.

 

 

5. Bounce Rate on Your Landing Page

 

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.

 

To set this up, you’ll need to link your e-commerce site to MailChimp (which is a paid feature). Once you’ve connected your store to MailChimp, the results are displayed like this:

 

 

mailchimp email 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.

 

HubSpot recently removed 250,000 subscribers from their list for this reason!

 

 

9. Bounce Rate

 

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’.

 

 

bounce rate

 

 

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.

 

 

24 hour email performance

 

 

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.

 

 

email opens

 

 

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.

 

 

12. Location

 

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.

 

 

top locations by open

 

 

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.

 

 

13. Forwarding

 

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.

 

 

 

 

One of the most straightforward ways of measuring this is return-on-investment, or ROI. This is how much money you generate compared to the investment you put in.

 

For example, let’s say you’ve got 5,000 subscribers, which costs $50 per month with MailChimp. You also spend $50 per month on Facebook advertising to get people to sign up to your email list.

 

In total, you’re spending $100 per month on email marketing. You need to generate $100 every month, directly from emails, to cover the cost.

 

If you make $200 back from sales through email marketing, you’re doubling your ROI. If you make $500, you’ve got a 5X ROI.

 

When it’s cranked up to a big scale, email marketing can provide up to 4,300X return-on-investment.

 

 

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

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 and Twitter.

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