5 Email Marketing Metrics and KPIs All Marketers Should Track
“Email is not an age thing, while social media is divided by generations.”
Here’s what I mean:
- The Gen-Z are attached to Snapchat, Tik-Tok, and similar social media;
- Youngsters are all about Instagram;
- Professionals like to hang on to LinkedIn;
- And middle-aged people still prefer Facebook.
It seems like there are boundaries in an individual’s choice of social media.
But… If there’s one thing that easily reaches each generation—something that is used by each one of us internet users—it’s email.
There are more than 3.7 billion email users worldwide, despite being the oldest form of internet communication. A little short of 300 billion emails will be sent and received this year. Marketers have received about $32 returns for every dollar spent on email marketing.
These are straight-up facts; so there’s no denying email marketing should be done. Chances are, you are already doing it. However, if you are not, start building an email list. Once everything is set, build your first email campaign. And right from the beginning, keep track of the key metrics and KPIs.
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are the numbers/stats that determine how you are performing compared to your goal.
Confused with which KPIs to give priority and which to eliminate? Don’t worry; this article will help you.
In this article, I will share with you the five email marketing metrics & KPIs you (the marketer) should track for better understanding and positive ROI. Read on and note them down.
1. Email delivery rate
You can hire the best copywriter there is to hire. You can spend thousands of dollars on landing pages and SEO to build an email list. Yet, there is no chance of the email being opened, let alone read, if it doesn’t reach the prospect’s inbox. And that’s why email delivery rate is a critical metric to follow.
Email Delivery Rate is the percentage of emails that are received by the gateway servers of your subscribers’ internet service providers (ISPs) and not returned as a hard or soft bounce.
In simple terms, it’s the percentage of emails that land in your prospects’ inboxes compared to the number of email addresses it was sent to.
Ideally, you want the Email Delivery Rate to be 100%, but practically, anything >95% is excellent. Taking care of the following factors will help you achieve that.
1. The origin of the email: If the IP you send the email from does not look valid and trustworthy to the receiver’s ISP or is blacklisted, the mail will end up in Spam. Thus, choosing a quality and reputed email marketing automation platform should be your priority when thinking about email marketing.
2. The content of the email: Spam filters can get triggered when the content tries to sell too much. Therefore, keep your email-content valuable and try to avoid spam-filter-triggering words (like FREE or Act Now!).
3. Your reputation as a sender: If your previous emails are healthy and people open them frequently, your sender reputation will be good, which will directly benefit your Email Delivery Rate.
4. The frequency of emails: If your email frequency is too high, the Email Delivery Rate will be comparatively low. Ideally, send an email to the subscriber once or twice a week.
Take care of these four factors, and you are mostly covered to have a good Email Delivery Rate. You can find a few more tips here.
2. Open rate
In most cases, your email will reach the inbox. Now’s when the copywriter’s magic is important.
Email Open Rate is the percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened an email campaign.
This number gives you a good idea of engagement and helps you establish a benchmark.
Again, ideally, you want this number to read “100%,” which obviously is impossible. Practically, 25%-30% is a fantastic open rate, so aim for that.
A few factors that affect the open rate are:
1. The Subject/Headline of the email: This is the most crucial part of the email. Some studies show eight out of ten people only read the headlines; another study shows six out of ten. But let’s dilute the number a bit and hear it from the advertising G.O.A.T. David Ogilvy, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” So, write subject lines that tempt the reader to know more— subject lines that increase open rates.
2. Keep your email list fresh: If the subscriber does not have a pinch of interest in what you have to say, there’s only a slight chance of him/her opening your email. Therefore, if someone has been inactive for a long time, encourage them to unsubscribe or remove them from the list— an easy-peasy way to boost open rates. In fact, Gmail has been pushing this agenda too.
3. Build a brand: While 47% of people open an email based on the headline, 64% react to the name of the sender.
Overall, ‘Open rate’ is a super-crucial metric, and you should do everything in your power to increase this number.
3. Click-through rate
In an email, you can only do so much. The best you can do is persuade and interest the reader in your service/product/offer. They can’t actually buy from an email. For that next step, you have to redirect them to the particular offer landing page. And that’s why CTR is an important metric.
The email click-through rate is the number of subscribers that have clicked on at least one link in your email marketing campaign.
Depending on the persuading-nature of the email, one can get a CTR ranging from 1% to more than 5%. Practically, a 3% CTR is good; so, firstly, aim for that.
There are many tried and true ways to improve your CTR. Some of them are:
- Focus on the open rate. Even if the CTOR remains constant, CTR will increase.
- Have a goal in mind and design the email accordingly. Make it scannable if it’s a long one. Either way, the reader should understand what you are trying to convey.
- Use the same links multiple times.
- Use buttons. Keep them descriptive instead of a general button such as “Click here”.
- Hire a good copywriter. If the email copy is bad, the size of your email list won’t matter. Actionable copywriting is the key to better CTR. The words you use and how you use them in your email can make it or break your email’s performance.
All in all, CTR is a critical KPI to monitor.
4. Conversion rate
This stat matters the most to any business—a metric that shows “How much did we sell?” or “How many leads did we collect?”
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of subscribers who either complete the desired action or become customers, depending on your conversion goal.
Once the visitor has landed on your website via the email, it is your duty to persuade. Here are a few ways to increase the conversion rate:
- Make it easy for them. The quicker they can perform your desired action, the better the conversion rate. For e.g., only ask the bare minimum on forms.
- Display your credibility. Signs like testimonials, reviews, third-party ratings or other kinds of social proof help the visitor make a purchasing decision.
- Test different CTA (Call to action). The words on the button you use on your landing page is one of the most important ingredients of conversion. Testing a variety of high-performing CTAs can help you decide what sticks to the visitors and what doesn’t.
- Be transparent. Provide the visitor with every inch of information they need to know. For e.g., Some e-commerce stores add the taxes at the checkout, which in many cases keeps the user from buying.
- Perfect your UX. The user experience can affect your conversion rates a great deal. For e.g., Merely removing navigation can increase conversion rate by 30% to 40%.
In a nutshell, your primary focus should be increasing the conversion rate. “Why?” Because for higher conversion, better CTR is necessary; and for that, the open rate. And of course, you want those sales to come in (image link – https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/12.0.0-1/svg/1f609.svg)
5. Cost per conversion
The last important metric (in this list) is the cost per conversion rate. You can call it “bookkeeping,” “ROI” —whatever you want to call it.
Cost per conversion (or cost per sale) is the total amount paid for each sale (conversion) generated by a particular email campaign.
There are no tips to increase this number because, well, it’s just a number dependent on the four metrics mentioned above. However, keeping an eye on this number lets you decide which campaigns are worth your time and money, and which are not.
6. Bonus: The negatives.
The listed five metrics are the most crucial ones, but you also need to take care of the negative parameters such as:
- Unsubscribe rate. I know I mentioned to encourage receivers to unsubscribe if they’re not interested in your product or service, but sometimes prospects do that too due to several other reasons. Therefore, you should keep track of that number and try to retain potential clients/customers by eliminating pain points like sending too frequently.
- Complaint rate. This percent displays the ‘marked as spam’ metric.
- Huge metric difference between devices. Mostly, email campaigns are designed and developed on Desktop, and because of that, mobile optimization can slip out of mind. So, track the metric-difference across devices for any negative signals.
Additional email marketing tips
- Jab, Jab, Jab, right hook. Don’t make each email about selling. Provide value first. Practice customer service tactics for better conversions
- Find the ideal time for the best email impact. There are studies that conclude a few particular hours or days, but I would advise testing at different times and schedule as per your audience.
- Use automation platforms such as Sharpspring for smoother and faster results.
Time and again, email has been proven as an excellent marketing channel. In fact, it’s 40x more effective than social media like Facebook or Twitter, when it comes to customer acquisition.
So. To wrap it up, I will end with this:
Email is powerful. And if you aren’t using it, you are at a loss. Thus, start using it and track the critical KPIs and metrics above to succeed.