When it comes to marketing, email campaigns are one of the most effective tools. Consumers prefer email — 72% of consumers choose email as their favorite method of communication with companies. Email also ensures your customers receive your message — 90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. We’ve talked about characteristics of a great marketing email in another post and today, we are going to talk about how to measure a successful email campaign.
MyTime recently released a new campaign dashboard that helps merchants understand the effectiveness and ROI of their email campaigns, including how much additional revenue can be attributed to each email. In developing that feature, we spoke with several business owners about how they track and improve their emails.
First of all, there’s no universal definition of what success means for an email campaign — as long as your campaign accomplishes your goal, it is a success. You should determine exactly what it is you’re looking to achieve and then figure out a way to judge if your campaign meets your goal. Let’s say you want to bring more visitors to your website through your email campaign. How many means success to you? Of course the more the merrier but you have to have a goal with specific numbers so you can objectively judge if the current campaign is doing well and improve your next campaign. Experienced marketers have devised numerous metrics to measure the effectiveness of email campaigns from different aspects. We have chosen four of the most common metrics and will explain why these metrics matter and how to improve your campaigns accordingly.
What it is: The percentage of emails sent that failed to reach recipients’ inbox.
How it’s calculated: (# of bounced emails) / (# of total emails sent)
Why it matters: Your bounce rate is an indication of how accurate your email list is. It also affects how internet service providers (ISPs) treat your emails. ISPs use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. If you have a consistently high bounce rate, ISPs may flag your emails as spam.
How to improve it: The key to a low bounce rate is to keep your email list as clean as possible. If clients provide a new email address, be sure to update that information in your marketing database. If you have clients sign up online for your newsletter, use the confirmation message to check that the email address works. Meanwhile, you should immediately remove hard bounce addresses from your mailing list. A common bounce rate is around 10%, but you should keep your bounce rate as low as possible, with under 1% as a goal.
What it is: The percentage of emails delivered that were opened and viewed.
How it’s calculated: (# of opened emails) / (# of total emails delivered)
Why it matters: Open rate is an indication of how engaging your email is when it’s sitting in the inbox. There is some controversy among email experts around whether open rate really matters. The bottom line is you can use it to compare how different subject lines perform, what time of day is best to send emails, or whether your emails viewed on a smartphone are as eye-catching as they are on a desktop.
How to improve it: Open rates largely depend on the subject line and your timing. 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. Certain keywords, the length of your subject line, the time of the day and the day of the week, etc, all influence open rates. Typically, keywords like “new” and “sale” increase open rate, so if you are introducing a new service or promoting a deal, be sure to include these words in your subject line. Frequently experimenting with different combinations and tracking results will help you increase your open rate. Optimizing your email for mobile devices is also important because more people are reading emails on their mobile devices than desktops. Open rates vary for different industries, but they usually range from 10% to 30%.
What it is: The percentage of unique recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in a given email.
How it’s calculated: (# of unique recipients who clicked) / (# of opened emails)
Why it matters: Click-through rate directly shows you the engagement activities in every email. You can see how many customers find your email content interesting enough to click to your website or Facebook page. For example, in an email that introduces your new online booking service, you can include a link to the booking page on your site, and track how many people clicked that link.
How to improve it: You should try to make it effortless to complete your call-to-action (CTA). If you want your customers to “Visit Our Website”, you need to make the CTA button easy to find and click. You can highlight the links and cut non-essential text, so people reading your email don’t get distracted. Including the same link in multiple places throughout your email also helps. Click-through rate is usually close to 5%, which means any incremental increase makes a huge difference.
What it is: The percentage of unique recipients who completed a desired action after clicking, such as booking an appointment with you, or purchasing a packaged deal online.
How it’s calculated: (# of unique recipients who completed a desired action) / (# of unique recipients who clicked)
Why it matters: Conversion rate reflects the extent to which you’re achieving your goals and tells you how to improve your emails or your website so more recipients will complete the actions you want. Having a good conversion rate is the foundation of more sales.
How to improve it: Think about what your customers expect when they click through your email. When they get to the website, you want to make the conversion step clear and easy to carry out — whether that’s booking an appointment, liking your Facebook page, or something else. Conversion rate tends to hover between 2% to 10%; like the other metrics above, the acceptable rate is different for each industry, and you should benchmark your number against your industry average.
Your email service platform should allow you to track these metrics for each email campaign at a glance and help you achieve lower bounce rates, higher open, click-through, conversion rates, and ultimately, a higher ROI.
Click here to learn how MyTime’s new marketing dashboard helps you understand the effectiveness and ROI of your email campaigns.