How to Get Actionable Intelligence from Your Email Campaigns
There’s no point sending out email campaigns, no matter how brilliant, unless you know exactly how they’ve performed. There are various ways of tracking performance, depending on the type of campaign, but you should always be able to answer three key questions:
- How well did the campaign perform?
- Can I confidently attribute new sales and new customers to it?
- Is the return on investment good enough?
So far, so good. But where do you find the answers?
You need a set of email measurement and tracking tools, or ideally one good quality all-rounder that does the lot for you in one place. Once you know exactly what’s what, you’re in a position to tinker with your emails in all manner of creative ways to methodically improve your performance and achieve perfection!
If you’re looking for expert support to hit the email marketing ground running, find someone who provides all this.
You sent out 1000 emails, but how many were actually delivered? Good quality, current data should come with a minimal bounce rate, while older or out-of-date data is often less reliable, usually generating a higher bounce rate. A low bounce rate gives you an up-front advantage, putting your message in front of as many people as possible at inbox level.
If you suffer high bounce rates for a data set, you might want to change your list broker or clean up your in-house database.
The open rate is a basic indicator of a campaign’s success, expressed as a percentage of the people to whom you sent the message. Open rates are useful for comparative tracking, for example, revealing whether one subject line works harder than another. Subject line testing is classic direct marketing best practice, letting you tinker to establish the best-performing hooks.
A bunch of people have opened your email. But how many of them followed your call to action and actually clicked through the link or links in your email? Click rate data helps you format your message so there’s the best chance of click-throughs, for example, by moving your link to a different location within the email body. It can also determine which of several links people preferred to click through; you might decide to remove all but the most popular link in your next campaign.
When you track specific customer behaviour you can establish vital fine detail, for example what kind of device people used to open, read, and interact with your message. When you identify how many people used a smartphone, for example, you can make informed decisions about the future nature of your campaign’s layout, content, and format.
Forwarding and sharing
If the people who opened your email loved it so much they shared it with their friends, family, or business contacts via social networks, you know you’ve done a good job. The more sharing that goes on, the better, and the better value you get for every marketing pound spent. You might notice that one particular special offer drove large numbers of people to pass it on. In which case you can roll it out across more segments, repeat it, or improve it to increase your ROI even more.
Say you make a special offer. You need to establish how many people took advantage of it so you can do more of the same or, if it bombs, drop the idea and think again. This is one of the most important metrics because it goes right to the heart of the money side of things, clearly revealing your ROI.
Data tracking highlights the relative value of campaigns and their content to your customer base, providing insight to help you improve performance and increase ROI over time. But data is only useful if it’s actionable.
If your tracking data isn’t empirically sound, the results, while interesting, will be meaningless. It’s no good emailing 20 people and basing your next actions on the fact that 3% of them responded positively. Big, statistically sound chunks of data deliver results you can trust; you should never draw conclusions from small data sets.
Targeting and segmentation
If you want to take database marketing a step further, you can subdivide your data into segments and target each segment with a directly relevant message. Provided the segments are big enough to deliver accurate insights, the data you track will have even more relevance, allowing you to fine-tune your offers through a greater understanding of your customers’ and prospects’ needs.
Email marketing systems – What to look for
The best email marketing systems, for example Emarsys, let you customise customer life cycle clusters, analyse demographics, opens, clicks, behavioural, and financial information. And they come with built-in lifecycle programs to help you achieve higher response rates and ROI.
Takeaway: To make a proper job of it you need nothing less than a proper Big Data model and real-time intelligence; customer lifecycle analysis based on recency, frequency, and monetary metrics; in-depth customer insight to help you understand customer behaviour from an unlimited number of data fields; plus goals tracking, flexible segmentation potential and the capacity to drill down at campaign planning level . . . then you’re really motoring!