Making the Most of Email Marketing Metrics
People say ignorance is bliss. I say, ignorance might be bliss… but it’s not profitable.
This is particularly true in email marketing. In email, if you don’t measure, you can’t improve. And if you don’t know what’s broke, you can’t fix it.
That’s why metrics matter, and why it’s critical to make the most of metrics by knowing which metrics to track and what each means. No matter the metric, it needs to be something that gives you real insight into real results. Also remember that metrics can work as disaster prevention too, to help you prevent little problems from becoming big ones when you use them to watch for negative trends.
Metrics Matter to Management
Using metrics to pay attention to results and trends is necessary. However, there is a bigger picture to all of this as well. In addition to using your numbers to tweak your campaigns and incrementally improve your ROI, you need to know what is going on so upper management can be sure of the effectiveness of your email marketing team. Your numbers might be called upon to:
- Justify your email marketing budget
- Justify your email marketing strategy
- Prove email is an integral part of your organization’s marketing plan
Think about it: Your boss will want to know how many leads and sales you are generating, for sure, but he or she might also want to know what your program is costing the company, or what kind of other benefits the email program offers the company, like deeper customer engagement or an increased social media presence.
What Will You Measure?
When you determine what to measure within your own email marketing program, focus on being able to answer the question: What caused this result and how can we make it (even) better? Remember, this might be a positive result or it might be a negative one.
There are the usual, straightforward metrics such as: How many delivered? How many opens? How many click-throughs? How many sales? You’ll also probably measure the usual dark side metrics: unsubscribes, bounces and spam complaints.
However, there are indicators of email marketing success that should be considered to get the complete picture on the success of your campaigns. You need to determine them based on your organization’s goals. That’s because email generates results beyond opens, clicks and conversions. Email can trigger other significant actions such as forwards, Facebook likes, Twitter follows, Pinterest pins, survey participation, coupon usage or customer feedback.
You’ll also have other potential results you can’t measure (but can strive for nonetheless), such as increasing brand awareness, brick-and-mortar visits and deepening customer loyalty.
In each and every case the metric matters, so put it to use. Make the most of each metric by proactively watching for trends while also tweaking for improvement. Use A/B tests to tweak various elements like subject lines and calls-to-action, and see which metrics you can influence by doing so. You can also use your metrics to make projections by looking backwards. Perhaps opens and sales dropped last July, which might be an indicator that people are less interested in your parkas in the middle of summer. Be proactive next July with a plan for engaging your audience. Even if you don’t sell many parkas, you can still improve on metrics like likes, follows and forwards.
Takeaway: If you don’t measure, you can’t improve. And if you don’t know what’s broken, you can’t fix it. The advice in this post will help you make the most of your email marketing metrics by determining which to track and how to use them.