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5 Key Metrics to Measure Email Marketing Success

Email marketing is a type of digital marketing that allows businesses to nurture long-term relationships with customers and connect with audiences in a more personal way.

With social media booming, you’d think it would have long been the antiquated strategy by now. But not at all. 

In fact, it has not only stayed relevant for small businesses and big brands alike, but it still is one of the most effective means of generating organic reach. Even surpassing social media.

Social media may be the place where most people live online right now, but it’s email that has most of our undivided attention. According to Harvard Business Review, the average person checks their email fifteen times a day!

Key Performance Indicators You Need to Track

There’s no doubt that email marketing is key to not just expanding reach but even driving your bottom line.

But how do you know whether your campaign is actually doing what you need them to? How do you measure your campaign’s success?

You can do so by identifying key performance indicators or KPIs that give you accurate, measurable insights into how every aspect of your campaign is doing. 

Specific metrics may vary depending on what you want to achieve. But these key indicators should be present whatever type of email marketing campaign you’re running–and for however long.

Open Rate

One of the first things you need to look at are your open rates. These are the number of times that recipients actually open the emails that you send. 

Open rates are not a hundred percent accurate, however. One of the reasons for this is that some analytic tools include the number of re-opens in open rates, instead of only the number of actual recipients that open your emails.

On average, a healthy open rate is around 20 to 30 percent.

If you notice that your open rates dip below this number, you may want to look at factors that are making your emails unattractive to your audiences.

These may include the following:

  • Unappealing subject lines
  • Impersonal emails
  • Bluntly promotional content
  • Unsegmented messaging

Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate or CTR is the number of recipients that click on links strategically placed in your email content.

This number is a crucial indicator because it gives you an accurate view into the frequency with which your audiences open your emails and spend enough time to open your links.

As compared to open rates, which can be vague estimates, CTR is a reliable metric because it doesn’t need to factor in indicators that are beyond your control. One such unreliable factor is whether a recipient was able to view images embedded into your email content.

There’s usually no way to determine whether images successfully load on your recipients’ end. But analytics can certainly pick up when links have been clicked, and what actions are performed upon those clicks.

A low CTR could indicate that your content isn’t compelling enough for readers to act. 

Reasons for this may include the following:

  • Links aren’t visible enough
  • Not enough links throughout the email body
  • Irrelevant links or message

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate determines the number of times your email fails to go through to your intended recipients.

Several factors can come into play for your emails to bounce, including wrong email addresses, inactive email accounts, or servers under maintenance.

Most reasons why emails bounce are beyond your control. But there are ways to make sure that your emails get delivered successfully.

These include:

  • Sending emails only to people who are actually interested
  • Regularly updating your emailing lists
  • Using a reliable email service provider
  • Employing double opt-in in your subscription process

Regardless of what’s causing it, a high bounce rate is a cause for concern because it tells you that your campaign isn’t even getting a shot at connecting with your audience.

Unsubscribe Rate

As its name suggests, the unsubscribe rate is the number of people that previously received emails from you but don’t want to anymore.

From a marketing perspective, that’s a huge indicator that something is terribly wrong. Reasons why people are losing interest or may not be interested at all could be:

  • Content that’s too promotional. Who wants emails that are basically ads? Especially when those ads are for products or services that aren’t relevant for your audience.
  • Irrelevant content. When you fail to segment your email lists, you lose the opportunity to customize content to specific groups and maintain a personal approach. This results in content that audiences view as irrelevant or useless.
  • Too many emails. Maybe it’s time to go easy on those emails. Sending emails too often can make you look spammy. People want to receive important, useful messages in their emails.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of people that complete an action that you intend for your email campaigns. These actions can be anything from signing up for an event, buying your products, or going to your website.

Often, brands use revenue-related metrics to determine conversion rates, but they don’t have to be directly related to your bottom line to count.

Tips for Optimizing Your Email Campaigns

So how can you tailor your email campaigns to make sure they work?

Conduct A/B Testing

There’s no better way to know what works and what doesn’t than by trial and error. Conduct regular A/B testing by tweaking your subject lines, trying out different content angles, and using keywords that spark curiosity.

Look at how each campaign performs, and stick to or further improve upon what’s giving you your desired results.

Segment Audiences

Make sure your emails are personalized and targeted at specific audience segments. This will enable you to stay relevant, whatever campaign you’re running. 

You can also personalize your emails by suggesting products or services that you know your audiences want or need. 

Send Fewer But More Relevant Emails

Sometimes, it’s not just what’s in the emails that’s causing campaigns to fail, but how often these emails are being sent out. 

Avoid getting “Again?!” reactions when audiences hear from you by sending fewer but higher quality, more attractive emails to people who actually read your newsletters and updates.

Write more compelling, thought-provoking, and even entertaining emails that will delight your readers, instead of meh or heavily promotional content.

Remember, quality trumps quantity. Every. Time.

Jossaine Nunez
Jossaine Nunez is a freelance article writer, blogger, and SEO-driven maven. While her true passion lies in writing fiction, her love for storytelling extends to helping brands convey their message in ways that are both engaging and helpful for attaining their business goals. Jossaine’s interests in writing particularly about people, for people – which translates to brand audience engagement – stems from her experience as the Editor-In-Chief of Siliman University’s The Weekly Silimanian, which published slices of life and educational pieces surrounding university life. Her piece, A Review of Leoncio Deriada’s People on Guerrero Street, published in the Silliman Journal on discussions and investigations in the humanities and sciences, earmarks her foray into the world of writing about, and writing for, humans that make the world go round.