Is one of your top business goals for 2019 to improve the ROI of your emails? If so, you may have added redesign your email template, change up your subject lines, or start a newsletter on your list of things to do in the new year.
However, to truly drive your email marketing campaigns forward, you need to measure the right metrics. This will allow you to see what is and isn’t working, where you can make improvements, and how you can make your emails stand out from the crowd. Without these metrics, you’ll never know if the changes you implement affect your opens, click-throughs, and ultimately your revenue.
Below, we’ll discuss the top 10 email metrics you need to watch to boost your success in 2019.
Why are email metrics so important?
As a marketer, you already know metrics help drive forward any marketing campaign. They demonstrate exactly what content, copy, and calls to action resonate with your audience, and what doesn’t.
Focusing on the right metrics will help you analyze each campaign before improving the next one. In fact, according to Forbes, marketers who base their decisions on data can boost their profitability six fold.
Therefore, before you spend hours revamping your entire email marketing strategy, you should know which metrics to study, how to calculate them, how often you should check them, and what may affect each.
Sound like a lot? Read on to uncover these all-important email metrics, their definitions, and why they matter.
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The top 10 email metrics to know for 2019
1. Delivery rates
Delivery rates tell you how many of your emails actually arrive in the right place, i.e. your recipients’ inboxes.
To calculate, simply take the number of emails that have been successfully delivered and divide this by the total number of emails sent.
If too many of your emails don’t make it to the right inboxes, you could have a problem with deliverability.
A number of factors can impact your deliverability. For example, if your rate is quite low, you may have an outdated list that contains a lot of old, invalid email addresses. Alternatively, you may have included phrases in the email that triggered a spam filter with certain email clients.
This is why it’s important to frequently clean up your recipient list, so you remove any invalid email addresses. It’s also worthwhile removing any recipients who haven’t engaged with you for a long period of time (i.e. a year).
2. Bounce rates
This is the number of emails that couldn’t be delivered to your recipients. To calculate, divide the number of bounced emails by the total number of sent emails.
There are two types of bounces, hard and soft.
Soft bounces occur when someone’s inbox is full, their server is down, or your email is larger than their provider’s size limit. Hard bounces happen when your email address gets blocked by the recipient’s server or it’s an invalid email address that you’re trying to send to.
Hard bounces are the most detrimental to your email campaigns as they negatively affect your sender reputation. So always keep an eye on this metric and check to see if the majority of your hard bounces are coming from the same server. If they are, this may mean they’re blocking you and you need to get in touch with them.
3. Complaint rates
This is the number of email recipients who have marked your email as spam. To calculate, divide the number of complaints by the total number of emails sent.
Why may senders do this?
They might be sick of getting too many emails, they’re not having a very good day, they couldn’t find your unsubscribe button, or they accidentally ticked your email as spam when highlighting several others. There are various reasons why a sender may highlight your email as spam, even if that reason isn’t true.
For instance, a subscriber may have forgotten they signed up for your email subscription list and thus mark your email as spam.
Monitor your complaint rates regularly (at least weekly) and be sure to make sure you are:
- Using confirmed opt-ins: This ensures people have actively signed up to your email list and, therefore, want to receive your emails.
- Not sending too many emails: Don’t bombard your recipients with loads of emails or you risk being highlighted as spam.
- Making it easy to unsubscribe: Always have a clear unsubscribe button at the bottom of your email so recipients can easily opt out if they no longer want to receive your emails.
The below example from Duolingo clearly shows recipients how they can unsubscribe quickly and easily.
Image Source: Really Good Emails
4. Unsubscribe rates
This is the number of recipients who have hit “unsubscribe” after receiving your email.
To calculate, simply divide the number of unsubscribes by the total number of messages sent.
Getting some unsubscribes each time you send an email is inevitable but monitoring how many people unsubscribe can warn you if you’re making mistakes in your email marketing.
For example, your unsubscribe rate may increase if you start sending too many emails or they aren’t relevant enough to your customers. And by monitoring when this happens, you’ll be able to do something different if you notice an uptick in your unsubscribes.
Equally, segmenting your customers so you can accommodate their personal preferences, demographics, and so on will help keep your unsubscribe rate at a minimum.
5. Open rates
Now you’re able to calculate the deliverability of your emails, it’s time to see how well your emails’ content performs.
First, look at your open rate by dividing the number of people who have opened your email by the total number of emails delivered.
This key metric will show you how well you engage your audience and, perhaps more importantly, how well your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes. Your open rates also give you an idea as to whether or not customers find your emails relevant and valuable.
Subject lines play a huge role in the open rate of your emails, and you may find that the sender’s name has an impact, too. A/B testing will enable you to see what resonates best with your customers.
6. Click-through rates
After people have opened your email, you’ll want your subscribers to perform an action. This involves clicking on a call-to-action (CTA) and actually visiting your website.
You can calculate your click-through rate by dividing the number of people who click through to your website by the total number of messages delivered.
Several things can impact this metric, including the wording and visibility of your CTA, the link between your content and subject line, and the number of times the CTA is included within your email.
It’s important to get the right balance between giving clear CTAs but without making people feel forced into clicking on the link. For example, in the below email from Sephora, the CTAs are clear and concise without being pushy.
Image Source: Campaign Monitor
7. Conversion rates
You’ve successfully delivered your email to your client’s inbox, you’ve got them to open it, and they’ve clicked through to your site. But are your subscribers making that all-important conversion?
Your conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions (the goal of your email, i.e. a purchase, download, or referral) by the total number of delivered emails.
Knowing how well you’re converting your customers will help you figure out where the weak points are in your sales funnel. For instance, if you have great click-through rates, but poor conversion, you know your website isn’t optimized for conversions. Or if you have a low click-through rate, but a large number of those people are converting, you know you need to spend your time and energy optimizing your emails to increase your click-through rates.
If you manage to get a high click-through rate but your conversion rate remains low, consider how you can better convert your customers, e.g. creating a more engaging landing page.
8. Forward rate
This is the number of recipients who have shared your email with a friend by hitting the share button or forwarding it on.
Calculate by dividing the number of forwards/shares by the total number of emails delivered.
If you can get your existing recipients to share your emails, you know you must be doing something right with your content. And a direct referral works wonders in generating new leads for you. Plus, it doesn’t cost you anything.
You may even want to make a conscious effort to encourage your recipients to share your emails, perhaps offering an incentive like Ace & Tate has done in the email below.
Image Source: Really Good Emails
9. List growth rate
This metric indicates how your email list has grown over a given period.
To calculate, deduct the number of complaints and unsubscribes you’ve had from the total number of new subscribers. Then, divide this figure by the total number of subscribers you’ve had over a specific period.
This is crucial because if you’re not continually growing your list, then it’s dying. While everyone can expect a certain amount of churn from their email list, you never want to lose subscribers faster than you’re gaining new ones. After all, not only are you going to get people unsubscribing but you’re also going to lose recipients as they change their email addresses.
Always look at the ways you can add to your email list, checking your list growth rate at least once a month.
10. Campaign ROI
Measuring how much revenue each email generates will tell you how much return on investment (ROI) you’re getting as well as which emails perform best.
You can calculate this by deducting the amount invested from the amount made in sales before dividing this figure by the amount you’ve invested.
Even though this is quite a difficult metric to monitor (an email may lead to sale months down the line), it is worth trying to get a rough idea of how well a campaign generates revenue for you and your company. Comparing the performance of your different email campaigns, especially at peak times, will allow you to adapt and change your emails to ensure you’re always using the most effective campaigns.
Getting into the habit of checking these important email metrics in 2019 will not only ensure your emails are more engaging but that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Knowing where you’re going wrong and where you can make improvements will allow you to refine your strategies accordingly. And as you continue to learn from these metrics, you’ll be able to create more impactful campaigns that boost your results.
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