6 quick ways to evaluate the strength of your email campaign

There are a number of metrics available for you to use in order to critically evaluate the effectiveness of your email campaign. To some people they seem intimidating, but in fact they are relatively easy to understand, and will enable you to successfully track the most important aspects of your campaign.

We’ve looked at 6 of the most popular metrics, which if you follow carefully and use the data gathered effectively, will take your campaigns from strength to strength.

1. Delivery Rates

It has been estimated that nearly 20% of all permission-based email messages are mistakenly blocked by ISP’s. Having your subscribers consent doesn’t guarantee that your email is going straight to their inbox. If the email isn’t getting delivered, it’s either being sent to/from an invalid email address or it doesn’t adhere to anti-spam laws. Take the time to test your campaign before it gets sent out.

Most good email services have spam filters so you can automatically check each campaign for “spammy” words and amend them if the spam score is too high. You can also increase the chances of your email being delivered by asking your subscriber to “add this email to your address book”.

Interesting stat: Canada has the highest non-delivered rate, blocking almost 14% of permission-based email. The United Kingdom boasts the lowest non-delivered rate, blocking only 10% of opt-in email. (Source – Emailstatcenter)

2. Open Rates

Assuming your message reached the inbox (good job!), your subscribers still have to open it. If your subject line isn’t compelling enough then it’s simply going to get ignored or deleted. You need to follow every best practice available here. Make sure your subscriber knows exactly who is sending the message – your ‘From’ line needs to have your name or that of your company. Sender recognition has a high influence on open rates. If your name is recognised chances are your email will be opened, if not it will continue to be ignored or deleted.

Interesting stat: General business products and services see an average open rate of 23.9%. The industry that has the highest open rates is agriculture, with an average of 25.3%. (Source – EmailStatCenter)

3. Click-through rates

CTR’s are almost entirely dependent on their relevant and personalised content – get this right and you are on your way to achieving the email results you desire. Ensure that you segment and target your audience correctly, so that each recipient who opens your message feels as though it is directed exclusively at them.

Demographics, geography, purchase history and frequency of purchase can all be used to make sure the right email is reaching the right target. Keep your campaigns simple. Stick to one or two offers and links, if subscribers are overloaded with choices, chances are they won’t take anything. A little bit of urgency goes a long way at this stage. If subscribers see that your offer is going to expire today/tomorrow/within 24hrs they are more likely to act NOW, which is exactly what you want.

Interesting stat: General products and services see average CTR’s of 3.7%. The industry with the highest CTR is Religious, with an average of 10.5% (Source – EmailStatCenter)

4. Unsubscribe Rates

Start by splitting new email addresses from old ones and evaluating each list separately. If there is a pattern of new subscribers opting out, then you need to see if what you are delivering is exactly what you promised them and what they asked for. If you don’t do this from the outset, your subscriber probably won’t look at anything else you send in the future. If old customers begin to drop off, your campaign may need refreshing. You should look at re-wording and updating any specials, offers or sales you have in place. Your aim here is to make your subscribers remember why they signed up in the first place (hint: your newsletters are interesting and different).

You can improve your unsubscribe rate by offering the option of reducing the frequency of emails your subscribers receive. They might prefer to happily read an email from you once a month as opposed to an irritating email sent every day. By taking this step you are letting them know that you are listening to them and they in turn feel they have some control over what lands in their inbox. It’s a win-win situation, really.

Interesting stat: In 2009, 35% of retailers allow subscribers to reduce the number of emails they receive, up from 16% in 2008 (Source – EmailStatCenter)

5. Conversion Rates

As with CTR’s, your conversion rates are a measure of relevancy. Whether your campaign goal is to encourage a purchase, sign-up to a newsletter, download a white paper, take a survey or make a phone call, you need to make it simple, clear and fast for your subscriber to do it. If the process to convert is timely and complicated you run the risk of your subscriber abandoning the action before they complete it. Your call to action and how you present it is also important here so it needs to be strong and visible.

Interesting stat: As a direct result of receiving an email, 67% of subscribers say they’ve purchased products offline, 71% of respondents researched a specific offer online and 63% of respondents clicked a link in the email to learn more. (source – EmailStatCenter):

6. Subscriber retention rate

According to a 2008 survey by Forrester Research, acquiring new customers can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining existing customers, so your metrics here can literally make or break you. Keep subscribers happy and coming back for more and you are guaranteed frequent sales. Many marketers consider this to be the most important metric to follow; after all, email marketing is about developing and nurturing relationships with customers, so take note of your stats.

Interesting stats (source – Strategic Client Retention):

  • A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%
  • The average company loses 10% of its customers each year
  • A 5% reduction in customer defection rate can increase profits by 25-125%, depending on the industry.

So there you have it. Ideally, you want to be measuring your success on all of these metrics to get a true reflection of the success of your email campaign. If you are new to the game though, focus on just a couple of metrics to begin with and use the data you receive to improve on each new campaign you send. You take other metrics into consideration as you go.



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