8 Metrics to Measure the Success of Your Email Marketing

Brian Honigman ,

According to The Small and Midsize Business Email Marketing Survey from 2013, 56% of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing in 2013. Is your company ready to engage your email list effectively this year and in the future?

Setting strategic goals for your email marketing efforts from the very beginning is important to ensure that your messaging is helping your business reach its full potential. To determine if your goals are being reached when it comes to your email marketing, pay attention to the following metrics when measuring success.

Here are 8 metrics to help measure the success of your email marketing efforts.

1. Total Opens - Total Opens measures the number of times an email is opened.

Monitor the total number of opens to your emails over time to better understand what is resonating with your audience when it comes the contents of your messaging. Compare the total number of opens between mobile and desktop devices to inform your continued strategy for reaching your customers where they are most active. According to this chart from Rackspace, it is projected that there will be 1.92 billion mobile email users by 2015. Will you be ready?

2. Open Rates – The Open Rate is the total times an email is opened divided by the total amount of emails sent during a campaign resulting in a percentage of email’s opened.

Monitor the open rates of your email messaging because it is one of the most important metrics that helps determine the success of your efforts. Increased open rates can be an indication of increased interest in your email content, as well as a sign that your click thru rates, conversions and overall revenue from your email list will soon be on the rise. Pay attention to what subject lines and promotional offers positively affect your open rates overtime to tap into the continued interest in your company from your email list.

3. Total Click Through Rate (CTR) - A click thru rate or CTR is the number of times a click is made divided by the total impressions on an a email.

The CTR of your emails can help determine if the content of your email is compelling enough for your audience to click on and ideally, take action. If your open rate is high, but the CTR of your emails is low, then it is a strong indication that your email list is engaged with your company but wasn’t interested in your recent email.

The point of your emails is to increase the visibility of your company and help increase revenue. The CTR as a metric is a strong indicator of increased reach and profits for your business from the traffic the clicks that your emails helped generate.

Industry standards for click through rates by vertical were covered in this post in MarketingProfs, but some of the best highlights include:

The median click thru rate in the world was 2.3%, in the U.S. 2.2%.

The education, healthcare, retail and consumer products/services verticals performed the best out of all 14 industries analyzed in the post when it came to their click thru rate.

The consumer products industry had the highest median click thru rate of 3.3%.

4. Abuse Reports – The abuse or complaint report is the rate at which email list subscribers marked your email as spam.

Of all the marketing reports for your business, the abuse or complaint report is a metric business owners and marketers aren’t excited to see. There are many reasons a person might say your email is spam and that they didn’t want to be a member of your list any longer.

It’s impossible to have a perfect list and not have people label your content as spam, but it is possible to avoid this issue with a majority of your audience. For instance, always make it easy to adjust your email settings, offer a one-click unsubscribe and experiment with the right frequency for your emails to ensure you aren’t overwhelming your audience with too much messaging.

5. Bounce Rate - Email bounce rate is defined as when an email doesn't pass through a recipient's mail server or other mail handlers, never making it to an individual’s inbox.

Often bounce rate is confused with an email not making it into an individual subscriber’s email inbox. When an email actually bounces it never makes it to an individual’s inbox due the various handlers and email servers the message goes through and at some point along its journey is tagged as spam by these systems. Monitor your emails regularly to understand if the content of your emails is triggering any of these systems to block your content from getting to your customer’s effectively.

6. Unsubscribe Rate – The rate at which email subscribers remove themselves from an email list.

The unsubscribe rate is a strong indicator of how your messaging is resonating or not resonating with your audience overtime. There are many ways to minimize your email unsubscribe rate, but overall it comes down to understanding what messaging your audience continually wants to see from your business. Staying aligned with the interests, opinions and dislikes of your list will go a long way towards keeping your unsubscribe rate low overtime.

What is a reasonable unsubscribe rate? If your list receives less than a 2% unsubscribe rate than that is typical for most verticals. If your unsubscribe rate is higher, than it is time to rethink your approach to your email list.

7. Email Conversions – An email conversion is how well an email succeeded in converting subscribers into customers.

Email marketing analytics can help your business better understand one of the most important metrics that affects your bottom line, email conversions. Email conversions result when someone finds out about your product or service offerings via an email, leading them to your website either right away or later on to make a purchase and become a customer.

As compared to many other marketing channels, email marketing often converts the best as compared to other options available to advertisers. Tracking these conversion rates can help you decide how much of your marketing spend should be allocated to your email efforts, how much time should be spent building your list and how much focus should be given to continually segmenting your list.

8. Email Revenue – The total revenue generated from your individual emails or your total email marketing efforts.

A lack of revenue would mean that there wouldn’t be any spend to conduct email marketing for your business. Therefore, it is extremely important to measure and attribute what revenue email marketing is helping drive. When trying to drive revenue from your emails, it is all about retaining your customers for the long-term because those are the customers that are going to spend the most on your offerings overtime.

Target customers at every point of the buying process to help them stay engaged with your business and interested in your messaging for the long run. Send birthday emails, survey your audience, send empty cart emails after a few days to trigger a future purchase and send an automated follow up email once a product needs to be replenished like perfume, contact lenses or groceries to encourage the subscriber to purchase from your website again. Each of these tactics will help keep your list subscribers remain loyal overtime and therefore, increase the revenue driven from email marketing as a whole.

Images courtesy of World Innovators and e-Strategy Trends.

Share this post

Brian Honigman
Content Marketing & Social Media Consultant