Don’t set it and forget it—not even with automation.

Sure, you could set an automated series and forget about it. But how would you know whether or not it’s working? Instead, keep an eye on all of your email campaigns, checking your metrics and improving upon your efforts.

In fact, the ability to easily adapt your email campaigns (and even your overall strategy) to continue compounding your results is part of what makes email marketing so effective.


Tips to optimize your emails, your email campaigns, and your email strategy


A/B test what works.

You design one email, clone it, then make a slight change, such as to the subject line. Then you send out the Version A and Version B to your most engaged segment and see which one performs better (this is also called split testing). Then you send the version that performs best to the rest of your list.


Include more of the content that performs.

You can see in your email platform which emails get opened, which links get clicked, and what content leads people to convert most often. Once you see what content your audience prefers, you can include more of it and thus see better results as you refine your email strategy.


Identify your top email campaigns.

Over time, after you’ve run several campaigns and set up a few customer journeys, you’ll be able to look at your emails provider and see which of your campaigns have performed the best according to their metrics and ROI. Then it’s time to replicate the results.

Learn more about optimization here.


Metrics to keep you in the loop

But maybe you don’t even know what it means for an email to be effective. Or maybe your email platform is giving you a lot of numbers and percentages but you aren’t sure what they mean, where you should be, or how to go about improving them.

Start at the beginning of this list and work your way through them. By the time you get done, you’ll understand the most important metrics and you’ll have addressed and optimized each one.



Deliverability measures your ability to deliver emails into your subscribers’ inboxes. If you have terrible deliverability, you’re in trouble of being blacklisted: email clients will see your email as spam and block them all.

To increase your deliverability (you want yours to be at 99%), you should:

  • Send from an authenticated domain.
  • Send on a consistent schedule.
  • Remove any hard bounces from your email list.
  • Ask subscribers to add you to their safe senders list in your welcome email so you always get through and avoid spam filters.
  • Reach out to your email platform’s support team for more help.


Open rates

After you’ve increased your deliverability, you’ll need people to open your emails.

How many people actually opened your email? Your open rates will tell you who is actually opening your email and who isn’t. Open rates vary by industry, but you should be within 20%-40% to be operating within the normal range.

If you average low open rates, you should:

  • Test subject lines and preheader text.
  • Include offers and incentives within the email.
  • Send relevant content through segmentation and personalization.
  • Try sending emails at a different time and day.


Click-through rates (CTR)

After someone opens your email, what happens?

How many people clicked your email and actually visited your site is known as the click-through rate. Unless your email’s purpose is something other than driving traffic to your website, this metric will let you know how many people were enticed to visit your site or follow your calls to action.

The click-to-open rate (or CTOR) is similar, but instead of taking the open percentage out of all sent emails, it looks specifically at the people who opened your email. This gives an even better understanding of how your content does or doesn’t motivate your subscribers to act.

If you aren’t seeing the kind of CTR or CTOR you want, you should:

  • Test the copy in the body of your email.
  • Try buttons and links for your CTA and see which works best.
  • Convey a greater sense of urgency within your email.
  • Ensure your CTAs are easy to follow across devices, including mobile.


Unsubscribe rates

Some unsubscribes are natural, but if your unsubscribe rates get too high (meaning more than an average of 0.17%), you need to take a hard look at your email strategy.

To improve your unsubscribe rates, you should:

  • Clean your subscriber list.
  • Incorporate more automated series to increase lifetime engagement.
  • Find more specific segments to send only the most relevant content.
  • Run a re-engagement campaign to get people involved again.

Where should your metrics be? These email benchmarks will tell you the average metrics for your industry, giving you a good picture of where you should aim to be.

Discover all the metrics you should know to up your email game.


Today’s Challenge

Tell us what metrics you focus on when creating your emails. How do you hit your goals?

[Tweet “I allways look at these email metrics: — #SmallBusinessBigResults @Campaign.Monitor” “Share your strategy with us and other growing businesses on Twitter using #SmallBusinessBigResults and tagging @Campaign.Monitor.”]

Continue the growth with simply powerful email marketing.

Keep that personal touch with your customers as your business grows. That’s the power of unforgettable email marketing.