4 Key Metrics for the Data-Driven Email Marketer

One of the most beneficial shifts about moving from ‘old school’ marketing to digital marketing is the ability to actually track your marketing efforts with key metrics. It’s no longer the Wild West where you shoot from the hip and hope your message hits the target. You can now track how your messages are resonating with your audience and, if they aren’t, tweak your message in real time to better your results. Email marketing is one area of digital marketing where marketers are seeing the benefits of metrics tracking firsthand.

Before you start any tracking, you’ll need to make sure your email marketing is up to speed. After that, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and analyze your metrics to see which strategy is paying off. Think of it like taking a pulse of your email marketing efforts.

Making decisions based on metrics is a good way to make sure you’re marketing with data instead of intuition. Pay attention to these Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) to understand which of your email marketing efforts are working – and which need to be revisited:

1. Unique Open Rate

The unique open rate metric tells you how many of your emails were opened by individual subscribers. Keep in mind that emails may be opened by the same person multiple times; however, a unique open rate only tracks one open per subscriber. This is a great metric to use to see what topics or subject lines perform best with your target audience.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for ideas on how to make your subject lines stand out, movie or music references 6-10 words long works best.

2. Click Through Rate

To track which content is the most effective at engaging your customers – and a great overall way to see whether or not your emails are being read – be sure to measure your click through rates of emails. A click through rate tells you how many people opened an email and then clicked a link (or links) in the email. While this KPI doesn’t take into consideration the actions beyond clicking (like purchasing), it’s still a valuable metric to use to measure the success of your campaigns.

Pro Tip: A good way to increase click through rates is to make sure your messages are timely,adjusting content to a customer’s demographics, location, and even device.

3. Conversion Rate

As you might expect, the conversion rate is the rate or percentage of people who complete the desired action from the email’s intent, whether it’s a sign-up, completed purchase, or downloading content. The king of email KPIs, the conversion rate is crucial in measuring out the ROI of your email marketing, and also provides a way to identify your most-engaged customers based on how often they open, click, and convert from your emails.

Pro Tip: To increase conversions and lower costs, segment customers by which incentive historically has made them convert. Sending very high incentives to customers who would be willing to convert on low or no incentive at all can cut into your margins very quickly.

4. Unsubscribe Rate

While seen as a negative, tracking your unsubscribe rate, or the amount of people who choose to opt out or unsubscribe from your email sends is a great KPI to measure your campaigns with. A high unsubscribe rate is a warning sign: it might indicate that you need to clean up your email list, adjust the timing or frequency of your emails, or revisit your content to make sure email messaging is relevant and engaging.

Pro Tip: Add a small questionnaire (2-3 questions) on your unsubscribe page to find out why people are opting out of your emails. Maybe they no longer need your product or they think you’re sending emails too frequently. This is valuable feedback that you can use for future campaigns.

Are you tracking these basic KPIs? Whether it’s to encourage purchases, continue engagement, or win a new customer, email marketing is a crucial part of business. Analyzing your KPIs will help give you understand what keeps your customers interested and how to replicate that success again. For more great tips on how to create successful email campaigns, download our updated Email Marketing Guide for Data-Driven Marketers.