Metrics always go in step with business activities. Only by measuring the effectiveness of your actions can you figure out which of them is best to implement and what has to be discontinued.
This article contains the most important metrics what have to be measured when implementing your email marketing strategy. Also, how to measure and improve them. Because every number has its reason. To track all your metrics in one place, you can use an automated marketing reporting software.
Keep reading and find out what your email marketing measures tell you about your marketing strategy and business approach.
Table of Contents
The Main Metrics You Should Follow
We’ll start with the simplest, but one of the most important metrics — open rate.
The open rate is self-explanatory and refers to the percentage of your subscribers who have been encouraged by a catchy subject line to open a particular email. All email platforms provide this metric in each email campaign report. So there is no need to calculate this number by yourself.
Some email marketing professionals are skeptical about the accuracy of this metric due to technical nuances. But they impact the metric too slightly to make a significant difference.
However, the open rate can teach us some things about our email campaigns:
- Which headlines do work best for your subscribers?
- Which days are the best in terms of opens?
- What part of your contact list is still engaged with your brand and responsive to your messaging?
While the metric is a piece of cake to understand, achieving a high open rate is less easy.
If you read any book on copywriting, they’ll tell you that the best subject lines either arouse curiosity or provide a benefit to the reader. A subject line should also be short, punchy, and it needs to avoid spam-related words such as FREE and CASH. Find out more about best-performing subject lines.
For different ecommerce fields, an average email open rate might vary. For ecommerce that sells apparel, accessories, books and small tech-gadgets, the average open rate of a promotional email campaign is 18.3%. (Omnisend, 2018)
However, if you segment your subscribers and tailor campaigns according to their interests or behavior, this open rate benchmark is significantly higher – 28.05%. Which means that segmented campaigns can earn you a 34.7% higher open rate than bulk email campaigns.
The click-through rate refers to how many email recipients clicked on at least one link within the email campaign. This metric is also one of the key campaign metrics that email service providers indicate in their reports.
At Omnisend, we also add UTM parameters to every single link so you can see the traffic from your email campaign in your Google Analytics account.
Plus, all the clicks can be seen in the click map in your campaign report. It counts the unique (unique clicks on the different links) as well as total clicks (all the clicks, including multiple ones). A click map helps a lot when you try to understand what parts of the email are effective and what should be improved.
Click rate indicates how interesting your email content is to its recipients. How compelling was the copy, how clear and actionable were the CTA buttons, a good or bad was the layout, etc.
These are three tips on how to make your emails more clickable:
1. Make them easily scannable
Whatever email you send, it should have a clear structure. For separating different content blocks use spacing and lines. People rarely read long emails nowadays, so make the key points easy to see and make sure they are followed by CTA buttons.
2. Segment your recipients and tailor an email content accordingly
People engage more with emails that contain relevant information. This might be achieved if you segment your audience according to their demographics, shopping behavior, interests… You name it.
And don’t take my word for it: Omnisend’s annual report proves that. The average click rate of a bulk email campaign is 5.5%. Meanwhile, the segmented campaign gets on average a 6.09% rate.
3. Make it easy to click
If you want your email to be clicked, make it easy to click.
It might seem obvious. However, I often get promotional emails that are overwhelmed with different kinds of information. It’s not clear what is the most important and what I should do EXACTLY within those emails.
So don’t push too much information into one email. It should have a focused message and a limited number of CTA buttons. Make them bold.
Coming to conversion rate in terms of email marketing, to main things pop in my head. First – newsletter signup conversion rate and the second one is sales.
The average newsletter signup rate is around 2%. That means only 2% of all website visitors enter email addresses to get on your mailing list.
Sumo.me provides one more interesting number. They say that the top 10% of marketers get an average 4.77% signup rate. Perhaps this means that 5-6% of conversion rate is something that you can best expect in terms of signups.
The second conversion rate in email marketing is email conversion rate and this is the number of sales made from the particular campaign divided from emails sent and multiplied to 100.
You sent a campaign to 10 000 your subscribers. This campaign generated 21 orders.
21/10 000 * 100 = 0.21% (this is your conversion rate)
The average conversion rate of promotional emails is around 0.2%. Again, if you personalize your campaigns, you can expect this number a bit higher. And automated workflows bring significantly higher results.
Conversion rates are crucial to understanding how well your marketing strategy and email campaign is performing. The more conversions you have, the more you can ensure your campaign is targeted correctly and help you move toward your overall business goals.
The vast majority of email service providers do not provide sales reports and conversion rate metrics. You can get these numbers only by measuring results in Google Analytics.
At this point, Omnisend has a big advantage. Due to our seamless integration with ecommerce platforms (Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magento, Tictail, etc.), Omnisend is able to provide reports of sales of each separate email campaign. So you can easily see how well each of your campaigns perform and compare it with former ones.
If your conversion rate is low, try to answer the following questions to yourself:
- Is this the right audience for such kind of emails?
- Is this offer good enough?
- Is this offer clear enough?
We should always think who we are addressing, what we are offering and what language we use to convince people to buy from us. These three factors should always be in harmony to get a great conversion.
By calculating return on investment or ROI in email marketing we evaluate the effectiveness of an investment. Basically, retailers determine what they gained from the investment on email marketing and how much they spent on it.
The return on email marketing investment formula is as follows:
Gained-Spent/Spent = Return on Investment %
In this formula, what you gained is the sum of all sales made through email campaigns, automated workflows, etc. over a period of time.
Expenses contain the email service fee, salaries to email marketers, designers and other people who helped to implement your email marketing plan over the same period of time.
However, sometimes it’s difficult to define a price for time spent on designing emails, writing a copy, picking the right products, etc. If you don’t have certain numbers, your ROI becomes inaccurate.
Instead, you can measure more tangible measures. For example, what revenue you get by using your email marketing tool.
Sum your sales made over the month, detract the monthly email service fee and divide this number from the amount of $ spent on the monthly email service fee.
From email marketing campaigns and automated workflows, you got $20,500 over the last month. The monthly fee for Omnisend $228.
(20,500 – 228)/228 = 88.9
So every $ spent on Omnisend earns you $88.90.
If you do the most of email marketing work on your own, this measure is more accurate than measuring ROI.
In email marketing metrics, bounce rate has a different meaning than in Google Analytics.
Whereas bounce rate in relation to your website refers to how quickly a site visitor got the heck out of there, in email marketing this metric refers to the percentage of your emails that failed to reach their destination. In other words, something prevented an email from reaching a recipient’s inbox.
This could be due to different reasons:
- a recipient has a full inbox (soft bounce)
- an email address no longer exists (hard bounce)
- the domain (email ending after @) does not exist (hard bounce);
- the server is not accepting emails (hard bounce);
- the address is mistyped (email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.) (hard bounce)
If you get hard bounces, remove those addresses from your list ASAP. Read more about bounce rate and why it can be a real troublemaker.
The average bounce rate for ecommerce is 0.5%. A bounce rate greater than 4% indicates a stale contact list and can damage your sender’s reputation with no possibility to regain it.
Uh-oh. If your spam rate starts to rise, you’re running into trouble.
Spam rate refers to how many people you’re annoying. Essentially, individuals are flagging your emails as spam. Not cool.
However, 0.1% is a reasonable spam rate. Anything more than that needs to act as a red flag, causing you to rethink and clean your email list. A big complaint rate might spoil your sender’s reputation, which means that your future emails will not be delivered to recipients.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to get around spam.
- For one thing, always ask for permission before emailing someone.
- Secondly, let people know what to expect from your future emails.
- Thirdly, despite being an ecommerce business, don’t include an offer in every single email.
- Last but not least, try to send fewer emails. An increasing spam rate might also indicate to frequent messaging.
The unsubscribe rate is nowhere near as bad as it first sounds.
There always will be people who unsubscribe from your emails. It’s heartbreaking but that’s okay. It happens to all retailers.
An average unsubscribe rate for ecommerce is about 0.25%. So you shouldn’t worry about unsubscribes unless you get a significantly higher rate of declines.
These are the common reasons for potential underperformance:
- The email contains somewhat (race, gender, beliefs) intolerance.
- The email list is stale itself. People on that list are no longer engaged with your brand.
- Your emails are too frequent.
- Your emails are too aggressive in terms of sales.
- Key metrics in email marketing are the following: open, click-through, conversion rate, bounce, spam and unsubscribe rates.
- Segmented/personalized email campaigns get better rates than bulk email campaigns.
- Measuring ROI for email marketing is inaccurate unless you have a dedicated team and can measure the expenses spent on overall email marketing strategy over the month/year or another certain period of time.
- Use open rate to identify the effectiveness of your subject lines.
- Click rate indicates the quality of your email: starting from layout and copy, ending with CTA buttons.
- A conversion rate of emails varies a lot: the more personalized and better-organized email content, the higher the conversion rate.
- Avoid over-exceeding spam and bounce average rates. By keeping these metrics high you can spoil your sender’s reputation.
- No-one escapes unsubscribes. However, make sure your emails don’t contain offensive, abusive or else what negative information that could boost your unsubscribes.
- Remember the golden rule: “What gets measured gets managed”.
Thanks to Michelle Deery from Heroic Search for contribution to this article.