Despite the prevalence of other digital communication tools, from text messaging to social media, email continues to be a vital channel. At present almost 4 billion people are using email and are showing no signs of stopping. When done well, email lets you engage an audience, drive business results and capture valuable insights through personalised, relevant content.
So, if you’re sold on the power of email, now what? Understanding how your email campaigns are contributing to business results is more than a quick glance at an automatically generated report. Before you plan your next campaign it’s important to take key learnings from your results and convert them into valuable insights.
Analytics – what they are and how to use them effectively
The great thing about using an integrated platform for email marketing campaigns is the ability to convert results into easy-to-read insights. But what do these results mean, and how do they factor into the wider strategy?
- Open rate: How many people on the mailing list opened your email. It’s calculated by the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails successfully delivered.
- Click-through rate: The percentage of users that clicked a feature in the email. This could be an external link, an embedded video, a survey or button. This is calculated by the total number of clicks divided by the total number of emails successfully delivered. You can also calculate clicks based on the number of opens.
- Conversion rates: How many users completed an action. This could be a purchase, submitting an entry into a contest or completing a survey. This is calculated by the number of users who completed the action divided by the number of clicks.
- Bounce rate: The number of emails that could not be delivered in your mailing list. This could be due to the recipient’s inbox being full (a soft bounce) or the user’s email being incorrect or non-existent (a hard bounce). This is calculated by the total number of bounces divided by the number of emails sent.
- Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of recipients that opted out of your mailing list due to the last email you sent. This is calculated by the total number of unsubscribes divided by the number of emails successfully delivered.
Each of these metrics shows how effective you were in getting the intended message across and how successful the email was. They work together to tell the whole story. While open rates show who opened your email, they don’t show whether someone read past the first line or not. In comparison, a click-through rate will reveal if users were actually interested enough in the content to click on a link. Comparing these with the number of conversions helps you understand how to make future emails more appealing or easier to navigate. Knowing the difference between a hard and soft bounce gives you a sense of your mailing list quality and what’s affecting your open rates.
Figure out what’s working or not working
By putting together the pieces from analytics, you can pinpoint any holes in your email marketing strategy and determine what needs to be done to improve future campaigns. Not getting a lot of opens? It might be time to start split-testing alternate subject lines or send emails at different times of the day. Great click through but not-so-great conversions? Look at shortening the length of your customer survey to ensure more people fill it out. By taking a deep dive into the data you can sharpen your strategy and take your email campaigns to the next level.
It’s also important to know how your emails are faring on an industry level. Not only should you compare results with previous campaigns, you should also check results against benchmarks. Averages can differ greatly between industries so it’s important to know where you stand.
Expand and conquer with segmentation
Segmenting your mailing lists based on previous data is another great way to capitalise on your results and make your email sends more effective. Segmented emails have a 14.32 per cent higher open rate than non-segmented emails, allowing you to deliver more relevant content to your customers. Segments can be anything from geographic location to age, gender, special interests or purchase history. If your last campaign about a sale saw a lot of opens from women aged between 25 and 30, you can segment these people into a new list and create targeted campaigns around future sales. If another email generated a lot of potential leads for the business, these prospects can be segmented for future lead nurturing campaigns. Though you may end up with a number of mailing lists, you’ll end up with far more successful campaigns.
A thorough understanding of email marketing and analytics will mean you’re not just hitting send and hoping for the best. Email marketing analytics take the guess work out of campaigns and help you join the dots between what customers want and how you can deliver it to them.