How to Use Email Marketing Metrics to Build Your Strategy

It’s human nature to use past experiences to drive future decisions. This is how we grow and thrive in our lives. The same tactic can be used to develop a strong email marketing strategy.

A good email strategy is the perfect blend of effective subject lines, engaging content and images, no over-selling or spamming customers, and making sure you build around what works for you.

There are a multitude of email metrics you should track; these will help you optimize your emails effectively – not to mention measure whether your emails are helping you achieve your goals. Use the results of past emails to drive your email marketing strategy moving forward.

Decide where you want email marketing to take you

Before sending your next email, pause for a few minutes and ask yourself: What is the goal of my email marketing strategy? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

Whatever you decide your goal is (and you can have more than one), the next thing you need to do is figure out which metrics to track in order to determine how you’re progressing toward that goal, and what you can do differently to get to your goal faster

Let’s take a look at the metrics you should pay attention to, and how you can tie those metrics to building out your email marketing strategy.

Email metrics to use to guide your strategy

1. Open rate

Email open rate is the number of people who have opened your email, which is counted after someone views your email and waits for the images to load before closing it. Open rate is calculated by dividing the number of unique opens by the number of emails sent, excluding the number of bounces.

How to use open rate to guide your email strategy:

There is a very quick window of opportunity when it comes to readers opening your emails. They see it in their inbox, and depending on the “from name” or subject line, they decide whether to open or ignore. Having a good open rate can mean you’re doing well with brand awareness because readers are recognizing you in their inbox.

A subject line should be a summary of what your email contains, thus the more relevant it is to the reader the more likely it is to help in boosting your email open rates. Other ways you can make subject lines more effective are to add personalization, offer the customer a discount, invite them to make a purchase, or you could offer free downloadable content.

See which subject lines and “from name” have performed well in the past, and use those to guide new, fresh ideas when creating emails.

2. Click-through rate

A customer has opened your email, read your content and scrolled to the bottom to your “call-to-action,” or CTA, – did they click?

Your click-through rate (CTR) tracks which links were clicked, but also who clicked on the link and when. This is the percentage of clicks based on the number of contacts who actually opened the email. The average across industries for click-through rate is around 7%.

A high click-through rate means the content in your email resonates with your audience. A low click-through rate doesn’t necessarily mean your campaign isn’t working, but minor adjustments are needed.

How to use click-through rate to guide your email strategy:

Your click-through rate will give you a good idea about how many people are actually taking time to go through your content and clicking on links in the email. If your CTR is low, you may need to adjust your messaging. Use A/B testing to find out what messaging makes your readers want to click the links in your email.

3. Conversion rate

After a reader has clicked through your email, ideally the next goal is to get them to convert – in other words, to follow through on the action your email has asked them to do. For example, if your email is giving your readers to download a free eBook, anyone who downloads that eBook is considered to be a ‘conversion’.

Because your definition of a conversion is directly tied to the call-to-action in your email, and your call-to-action should be directly tied to the overall goal of your email marketing, conversion rate is one of the most important metrics for determining the extent to which you’re achieving your goals.

How to use conversion rate to guide your email strategy:

Conversion rates vary wildly depending on your industry, price point, and existing customer engagement. If your goal is to make more sales or bring in more revenue, this is the metric for you. You can also use it to track the number of recipients who complete other actions – like joining your Facebook group or signing up for a free webinar.

To maximize your conversion rate, deliver the best possible email. Make it inviting. Personalize it. Include something valuable. Show recipients why being part of your community (and buying your product) is a great idea that’s going to make their life easier.

4. Unsubscribe rate

There are many factors which can affect your unsubscribe rate. Unsubscribe rates can be high when you don’t have a strong welcome series, if your “from” name isn’t recognizable, if you use misleading subject lines, if you don’t email frequently enough, or if you email irrelevant content too frequently.

Don’t take it personally when a customer unsubscribes from your mailing list. All you can do is think about what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

How to use unsubscribe rate to guide your email strategy:

If your contacts are unsubscribing, then they are no longer a part of your email marketing strategy, so your main goal here is to keep that number as low as possible.

Your unsubscribe rate will give you great insight into how people are actually interested in reading your content and engaging with you, over those who find your content irrelevant.

Chances are you’ve been on both sides of the unsubscribe before. Don’t sweat it. If someone is bent on unsubscribing, they will. Just make sure to provide consistent value to readers and let them know the kind of content they will be receiving from you before they sign up. This makes it easy for people to know what they’re likely to receive, before giving up their information.

5. Bounce rate

After you’ve sent your email, the reporting for your email might show that some of your email addresses bounced. Bounces are contacts that didn’t receive your email for a variety of reasons.

How to use bounce rate to guide your email strategy:

In order to keep your lists clean and full of quality contacts, it’s important to know why an email address bounced, how to manage the bounces, and when to remove a contact from your list.

You can check to see if the email addresses are correct and even get in touch with the contact to see if they have a new email address.

Use the Did Not Open and Bounce reports to find email addresses that consistently do not engage with your campaigns. Clearing up your email list gives you space to add more leads to your database.

The bottom line? Be smart and track metrics effectively!

You need to know which metrics will help you create a perfect email marketing strategy. These aren’t the only indicators of optimal email performance, but they’re a good start. Remember to constantly A/B test different emails with different segments to see what works and what doesn’t.

Learning from these metrics can further help you define your goals and answer some really important questions – “Are customers opening my emails, are they clicking, and do they care at all?” Knowing what works and what doesn’t help you save time, effort, and money, so get excited about email metrics to guide your way to successful email marketing.