There’s a lot to be said about effective email marketing. We could talk for days about the critical components of an optimised email or the many mistakes that marketers make. We could also offer mind-blowing examples of successful email marketing for inspiration, but what’s the point if you don’t know how to use the results of your efforts. Why go to the trouble of perfecting your email marketing if you don’t have an end goal?
Before you delve into sending your next batch of emails, take the time to ask yourself: What is my goal here? Is it continued engagement with my customers? Or should I focus on lead generation? Is it to convert more existing leads into customers?
Whichever it is, it’s important to understand which metrics you’ll need to track in order to determine how you’re progressing towards that goal.
You see, data is the key to sending relevant and timely emails, through segmentation, personalisation, and automation.
Types of data
Types of data you should be using include:
Demographic data is your basic age, sex, location (A/S/L) information that you might collect from subscribers when they sign up or make a purchase. This type of data generally doesn’t change very often; people don’t change their name, gender or location willy nilly, which makes this type of data ideal for basic segmentation, personalisation and automated emails.
Preference data might include data regarding your subscriber’s preferred products, services, brands, size or frequency of mailing. Unlike demographic data, preference data is subject to change and/or becoming irrelevant over time. Therefore it’s important to prompt subscribers to update their preferences periodically. Let’s say a person tells a travel company that they want to visit China. The company could continue to send them China-based promotions for three years, or it could choose to find out that the subscriber has already been to China and is now looking at going to Thailand.
Examples of transactional data include: first and last purchase date, total amount spent, number of purchases, average order value, and past products purchased. This data allows you to identify who your best customers are, who’s about to lapse and who’s yet to make a purchase.
Open/Clicks data from an email is perhaps the most reliable indicator of what your subscribers are interested in now. Behavioural email campaigns are based on the actions that your customers do (or do not do) when interacting with your business. These behaviours might include: product/service browsed, cart abandonment, form abandonment or email open/clicks. This behavioural data allows you to send emails that truly matter to each individual recipient.
Types of email metrics
And now, have a look at the types of email metrics you should be using:
Click through rate
Click through rate (CTR) is essentially the “day-to-day” email marketing metric. It lets you easily tally performance for each individual email you send. From there you can track how your CTR changes over time.
Once an email recipient has clicked through your email, the next goal usually is to get them to convert on your offer. This essentially means that they take the action you willed them to take. You can measure your conversion rates by creating unique tracking URLs for your email links.
There are hard bounces and soft bounces. Soft bounces are the result of a temporary problem with a valid email address. Hard bounces are the result of an invalid or non-existent email address and need to be immediately removed.
List growth rate
Keeping tabs on how your email list grows is a good indicator of whether or not you are offering value to the reader. Your aim of course should be to grow your list, which not only expands your reach, but cements you as an industry thought leader.
Email sharing/forwarding rate
Sharing rate is arguably one of the most important metrics you should be tracking, because this is how you generate new contacts. Shares are new leads, so encourage your readers to pass along the content they find useful, and start tracking how many new people you add to your database this way.
As with every marketing channel, you should be able to determine the overall ROI of your email marketing. If you haven’t yet, set up an SLA (service-level agreement) system whereby you assign different values to various types of leads based on their likelihood to generate revenue for your company.
Automate your campaigns
When looking at your email statistics, it’s important to understand that email marketing is considerably more challenging in some sectors such as retail and ecommerce. But it’s also important to go beyond industry averages and compare email types.
Using the different types of data above, sourced from the above metric examples, you can segment your audience to create targeted automated email campaigns. These emails can be triggered by certain events, based on specific knowledge surrounding those customers.
Though automation may conjure up images of robots and machines, it’s actually a more personalised way to interact with your subscribers. It allows you to send content that’s catered to their individual needs and interests, sending the right message at the right time.
According to Epsilon, automated emails get 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails.
In short, the thing to remember is that the objective of your email marketing may be very different from the goals of another company similar to yours. It may well vary within your own company over time. This is why it’s crucial you determine exactly what it is you’re looking to achieve with your email marketing before you begin (or continue) to send and measure emails.