A lot of work goes into crafting a good email campaign—the planning, the designing, the copywriting, and even putting together a viable email list. And as nice as it would be to just send your emails out and automatically be rewarded with highly-engaged subscribers and more revenue for your business, the process usually isn’t that simple. That’s why measuring your campaign’s progress and overall strategy is crucial to its success. In this article, we’ll take a look at six of the most important email marketing metrics to consider and how monitoring them consistently can improve your campaigns.
In order for your audience to see the beautiful emails you and your team have poured blood, sweat, and tears into making, they have to open them first.
Open rates measure the number of email recipients that are opening your emails. Here’s a formula you can use to calculate this metric:
(Total unique opens / Total emails delivered) x 100
The most significant factor by far that makes or breaks your open rate is your email subject line.
You should see email subject lines as a short, but effective first impression—that is, if your subscribers aren’t impressed, they won’t see any reason to engage, and as a result, your email doesn’t get opened. But if you nail this email introduction, your audience won’t be able to resist.
There are a few ways to improve subject line copy. For example, everyone likes being called by their name. Depending on your email service provider, you can personalize your subject line by inserting a dynamic field to pull your subscriber’s name.
You can also try using emojis that fit your brand, as well as keeping your subject line copy short enough to read so that it doesn’t get cut off.
However, you should consider a couple of other elements that may affect your open rates. One is the day and time your email is being sent. Tuesdays and Thursdays are typically the best days to send emails, with 10am and 1pm being the ideal times, but the optimal day and time may vary depending on your type of customer and the type of email. Another factor to take into account is how often you’re sending out emails since too many emails sent in a day or week can start to feel spammy–we’ll talk about this more a little later when we discuss deliverability.
Your click-through rate is the number of people who clicked on one or more links within your email. Here’s a simple calculation you can use to figure out this metric:
(Total number of clicks ÷ Total number of delivered emails) x 100
If your email contains links, this metric would be the most vital after your open rates. The reason being that your click-through rate not only allows you to see if your CTAs (calls-to-action) are piquing the interest of your subscribers, but it also brings traffic to your desired landing page so that you can convert them.
One method to better your click-through rates is with A/B testing, which is essentially creating multiple versions of the same email by changing one aspect of the email, then sending out the different versions to your audience. Experiment with your links to see what’s appealing more to your subscribers. Maybe instead of including your “Learn More” call-to-action as a hyperlink, try presenting it as an actual button. You can also explore different colors, font styles, font sizes, and placements. The possibilities are endless—but testing them out and doing so periodically is necessary to keep your click-through rate high. And if you’re looking for more info on how to implement A/B testing, check out one of our recent articles on the subject.
Similarly to click-through rate, another common metric is clicks-to-opens, measured as:
(Total number of clicks ÷ Total number of opened emails) x 100
This metric is used to compare emails that have already been opened to eliminate bias in the number of emails opened.
At this point, your subscriber has opened your email, they’ve clicked through to your landing page, so what happens now?
It’s time for them to convert.
Your conversion rate is the percentage of people who clicked on a link within your email and then proceeded to complete the desired action.
You can calculate your conversion rate like this:
(Total number of conversions / Total number of emails delivered) x 100
What you define as converting for your audience is instrumental when crafting your CTAs, your subject lines, and even your entire email campaign. To figure out what counts as a conversion for your business, first choose the goals you want to focus most on. Is it key for your subscribers to fill out a form to sign up for a webinar you’re hosting? Do you want them to schedule a free demo so that they can eventually become paying customers? Or do you want them to buy a product that you’re advertising for 30% off? Decide on what the end game is and then work backward.
As far as actually tracking your conversion rates, you can set up your email platform to feed information into a web analytics tool, like Google Analytics, so that you can see whether or not your audience is hitting your conversion goals on your site. This is possible with specific tracking URLs that can be embedded within your email links. Many ESPs can also track conversions if set up properly.
Your bounce rate is the percentage of emails sent that were not successfully delivered to your recipients’ inboxes.
Calculate your bounce rate like this:
(Total number of emails that bounced / Total number of emails sent) x 100
If there are any deliverability issues, you’ll want to get those sorted right away. High bounce rates can hurt a marketer’s reputation, and when they are relatively high, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) may issue warnings or outright block a campaign.
So, let’s see what causes emails to bounce.
Bounce rates can be split into two types: soft or hard.
Soft bounces usually signal a temporary delivery issue—some reasons why are because your subscriber’s inbox is too full, the email you’re attempting to send is too large, or the recipient’s email server is down.
On the other hand, a hard bounce rate is a more permanent problem because it indicates that an email address is invalid and/or can’t receive emails. In this case, you’ll normally get a message saying that the email couldn’t be delivered and your email service provider will stop you from emailing that contact moving forward.
You can avoid this by regularly cleaning your email list to kick out any bad data or invalid contacts. In addition to that, make sure you’re getting definitive permission to email your audience by being transparent about what you’re emailing, how often you’re emailing and letting your subscribers set preferences on which emails they’d like to receive. You can also set up double opt-in to ensure a subscriber has confirmed the subscription and you don’t repeatedly send into a hard bounce. Many ESPs also suppress an email after a hard bounce, but it’s not guaranteed.
This metric measures the percentage of your subscribers who have chosen to no longer receive your messages.
Use this formula to calculate your unsubscribe rate:
(Total number of unsubscribes / Total number of emails delivered) x 100
I know the idea of people unsubscribing can create a sense of worry or panic, but it’s not always a bad thing.
As mentioned earlier, keeping your email list clean and full of engaged subscribers is something that only benefits you as a marketer.
The average unsubscribe rate across all industries is quite low, at about 0.1%, but there are still steps you can take to reduce this number even more and prevent it from increasing. First of all, no one, no matter how much they love a brand, is keen on being bombarded with emails, which is why receiving too many emails is a top reason why people hit ‘unsubscribe’. To avoid accidentally spamming your subscribers, make sure you always have a goal before crafting an email campaign. This will force you to ask yourself, “how will sending these emails benefit my customers, and in return, my business?”
One more tactic to implement is to segment and personalize your emails so that your audience receives emails that are tailored to their wants and needs. If they’re getting relevant emails, they’ll be much likelier to keep boosting your conversion rates and stay on as a long-term subscriber.
List Growth Rate
Our final metric lets you know the rate at which your list of subscribers is growing.
Calculate your list growth rate like this:
((The number of new subscribers – the number of unsubscribes)/ the total number of subscribers during a certain period of time) x 100
You may be wondering what the perfect list growth rate is, but that honestly depends on your business, and the number is likely to vary slightly month-over-month and year-over-year. However, you’ll want to be cautious of slipping into a negative growth rate and/or large fluctuations with your rate, as these could signal something funky is up with your campaigns or even your lead generation methods.
When it comes to gaining new subscribers, you always want to go with quality over quantity—subscribers who were drawn in because they truly saw the value of what your company provides instead of people who were click-baited into your email list.
If you notice your rates slipping, take a step back and re-evaluate anything that might have changed with your recent campaigns. You also may feel nervous about cleaning your list if it isn’t growing, but more isn’t always better. Part of having a quality email list is letting go of any dead weight. Doing so will allow you to gain more accurate data about your customers and can also save you money on your sending costs.
Email is such a useful channel for marketing, and it only becomes even more efficient when you know how to properly measure your progress. At Scalero, we can make this easy for you by helping you set up a dashboard that will show you how all of your metrics are performing to measure the overall health of your email program. To get started, send us a note or start a live chat.