I like to think of email marketing like marathon training.
Imagine yourself are on a training with coaches who keep track of all of your stats. They track your heart rate, cadence, the elevation gain, and on and on. At the end of the run, what did you gain from all of that data? Many, many numbers. Those numbers mean nothing unless you use them to track and improve performance.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help you attain measurable goals and give meaning to the email metrics you track.
You can track lots of elements of your email marketing campaigns – but following these tips to use that information to improve results is the only way to make sure the KPIs you track are not meaningless.
7 Metrics and KPIs to Track
1. Click-through Rate
The click through rate is one of your first lines of data collection. This is the first time you know for (fairly) certain that the recipient is engaged with your message. You can track this in comparison to the open rate, but open rate can be tricky for many reasons, one of which is that image-blockers can keep an email from registering as read if the images did not load. A good click-through rate is generally agreed to be between ten and twenty percent.
Increasing CTR is usually achieved with a clear offer, enticing CTAs, and clean design and copy.
2. Conversion Rate
This metric is numero dos for a reason: Getting the recipient to open and click are ultimately precursors to converting the recipient to a client, user, or customer.
A conversion that can be tracked back to a particular email is one of the most valuable metrics you can track. It proves that the entire funnel is effective and is the only way to calculate ROI of your email campaign (and entire email marketing operation).
3. Bounce Rate (Hard and Soft) & Delivery Rate
E-Consultancy explains hard and soft bounces well here:
“A hard bounce happens when an email address is wrong, these addresses should be removed immediately. A soft bounce happens when there’s a temporary delivery problem. Perhaps an inbox is full, or a server is down.”
After measuring hard and soft bounces, your delivery rate will be the remainder of the emails (what was delivered) divided by the gross emails sent.
Reducing bounce rates often comes down to scrubbing your list or sending re-engagement campaigns to cold leads.
4. Forward Rate / Share Rate
To be sure that you can track this metric, you must have a “forward to a friend” or “share on [social media]” buttons in your messages. This, along with conversion rate, are KPIs that clearly demonstrate recipient engagement.
5. Inbox Placement
In the post-Microsoft Outlook “Clutter” designation world, inbox placement is a very important KPI. Inbox placement is easy to keep tabs on through email monitoring.
6. Earnings Per Click
This is a big KPI for affiliate marketers. Earnings Per Click (or, more accurately, per hundred clicks) is a currency amount per clicks, during a given time period. It can be measured variable time periods (per 7 or 30 day period) and is typically done during an affiliate marketing campaign.
This is another KPI that can be a great reportable metric to show effectiveness of email campaigns, along with conversion and click-through rates.
7. Site Traffic & Time on Site (EC)
Average time on site (or “dwell time”) is a great KPI for any email marketers, but especially for bloggers and dating coaches, who may build longer relationships before a recipient converts to a sale. Dwell time related to emails can be tracked through an inbound marketing provider and linked to specific email campaigns.
In the long-distance run of email marketing, few KPIs are as important as ROI.
While all of the above metrics can arguably help improve the return on your email marketing investment, remember to focus always to the actual return. If you have 100% inbox placement or sky-high social media shares…it doesn’t mean much unless you see an impact on ROI.
ROI is the finish line – how you get there is not as important as the fact that you got there.
Know your email marketing goals clearly, track email marketing metrics and KPIs that help you achieve those goals, and keep your strategy in line with what is working well.