A recent Yesmail survey tellingly titled Data-Rich and Insight-Poor found that almost half of marketers said analyzing and applying data is their biggest data-related challenge. Big Data is a huge trend for email marketers, but it’s not always easy to understand. There’s a reason they call It BIG data, after all. That’s why we’ve put together this list of data-driven metrics that help us understand which email tactics are generating the best results and where you might be leaving money on the table.
If you want to get a better look at your business, the first place to start is your process. Process (or operational) metrics will show you how well the individual elements of your email program are working so you can identify areas in need of improvement.
1. Open Rate: How many subscribers open your messages? Compare the open rates of two messages side-by-side to see what’s working and what isn’t. Which subject lines, message topic, images, length of content, etc. get the most opens? You can also track hourly or daily fluctuations to determine the best send times for your list.
2. Click-through Rate: How many and which links were clicked? Use this metric to determine how much activity each message generates, which types and what placement of links drive more activity as well as how your subscribers are engaging. Test calls-to-action by comparing click-through rates for various messages. An added bonus: You can segment your list and customize content for clickers and non-clickers. Target the non-clickers with better offers; give your loyal clickers additional relevant content.
3. Bounce Rate: How many emails never even make it to the inbox? High bounce rates can tip you off to signal list fatigue, list hygiene issues (which may warrant list cleaning) and ISP issues.
4. Email Client/Device Statistics: Which email clients and devices are your subscribers using? This will help you decide how much budget you should spend on mobile marketing, for example, or whether you need to worry about the new Gmail inbox impacting your email deliverability.
5. Spam/Complaint Rate: How many people mark your email as spam? Take a closer look at complaint rates by lead source to identify whether that source is appropriate for your organization. To prevent spam issues in the first place, make sure your unsubscribe process is simple and transparent so people don’t report you as spam to unsubscribe.
6. Subscribe Rate: How many people sign up for your emails? Check subscription rates regularly to assess the effectiveness of your lead sources and determine which sources perform best for you. Then, compare these metrics with purchase behavior to further qualify the effectiveness of your campaigns.
7. Unsubscribe Rate: How many people opt out of your list? A low unsubscribe rate could mean you’re doing everything right, or it could mean your unsubscribe process is difficult (and you might get reported as spam!). To make sure, track unsubscribe rates by opt-in date in order to identify where in the relationship subscribers tend to drop off. Then, develop incentives or strategies to keep them engaged for the long-term.
8. Inactive Subscribers: How many subscribers aren’t opening or clicking on your emails at all? Segment and retarget those subscribers to re-engage them.
9. Goals/Conversions: How many subscribers accomplished the goals you have established, such as completing a purchase? This is the most in-depth metric for measuring subscriber engagement. Send targeted messages like thank you emails, cross-sell/up-sell emails, loyalty program offers and abandoned cart emails to specific segments based on activity.
10. Share Rate: How often do subscribers forward your emails to friends or share them on social networks? This stat lets you know where your subscribers are most active so you can seek them out through that channel. It also gives you a better idea of which content most resonates with your subscribers.
Once you have a grasp on how well your email program is operating, output metrics can show you how well your email program is meeting your organization’s strategic marketing and business goals. As Loren MacDonald of Silverpop explains, this data measures the real business impact of your program and helps make the case that email marketing is actively maximizing your company’s ROI.
11. Revenue: How much total revenue is your program generating over a given time period? Establish meaningful goals, then track conversion rates to accurately assess this figure.
12. Cost Savings: How much money is your email program saving? For example, if you’re using an email append service to turn a direct mail database into an email database, how much in postal costs are you able to save?
13. Share of Wallet: How much of your customers’ spend is your email program capturing? And more to the point, what can you do to capture a greater share of this spend?
14. Customer Retention: How well is your email program building long-term relationships? The answer here lies in the bigger story that a variety of metrics are telling you, including subscriber engagement, conversions and unsubscribe rates.
15. Leads Generated: How many new leads can be directly attributed to your email program? By monitoring subscriber activity, you can more readily determine when a subscriber is ready to move to the next stage of the funnel and engage more deeply with your organization.
Big Data can be a lot to handle. That’s why it’s critical you work with a trusted partner who understands how to implement a well-organized, data-driven approach to your email program. Contact TowerData today to see how our Email Intelligence, Email Validation and Email Append services can help.
Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski