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Earlier we had discussed why email marketing is a powerful weapon in any business’ overall marketing arsenal. Hoping that you’re convinced by the benefits of using email marketing, we would now like to focus on how you can measure the effectiveness – mainly in terms of increase in the number of prospects in the funnel. Once that is measured, the actual ROI can also be established by looking at the number of prospects that converted into leads and then became clients.

In the previous post we also highlighted how email can be much more effective than social media. However, for email to be a successful tool, it’s necessary that the company has permission marketing rooted deep in its culture. Also, the business should focus on delivering real value through emails at an appropriately determined frequency.


Email Marketing metrics

Avoiding an overkill is extremely important, as some marketers have already flooded almost every inbox, which affects the primary requisite of email marketing success – the open rate. Imagine an ideal world where every email is through an opt-in list, is directly relevant to the target audience and nothing gets marked as spam!

1. List Size

It’s one of the most important determinants of your campaign’s success. The number of people on your target list is directly proportional to the performance of the metrics that follow. If your mailing list is smaller, say just 100 people, it might mean that those hundred are really committed to your brand and will lead to a higher open rate. As the list size grows, it’s possible that the message is not be directly relevant to all the readers and the open rates will drop. One must be cautious while building a list and make sure to filter bogus email addresses over time, as this affects by the delivery rate.

2. Mail Delivery Rate

This refers to the number of mails that were actually delivered. It doesn’t mean how many of them landed up in the inbox, as it also includes those that went to the spam or junk folders. It’s necessary to weed out those email addresses from your mailing list that are causing your emails to bounce. A limited number of bounced emails will help you in maintaining a good sender reputation.

3. Open Rates

Open rates help you in determining the number of your readers that actually find worth paying attention to your email campaigns. Although this is a highly unreliable metric.

First, we need to understand how a unique ‘open’ event is recorded. A small image of 1 pixel-by 1 pixel is inserted somewhere in the content of the email and once that image is loaded, the email service provider records it as an open event. The reason that this metric is not reliable is that in the following cases, the graphic never loads –

  • A number of people choose to receive mails in text-only formats – so even if your email has been read by somebody, an open doesn’t necessarily gets recorded.
  • Nowadays a lot of people prefer to read emails on their phone – which again shows only text.
  • The pixel might not work for any other reason causing the open event not being recorded.

Hence it’s only prudent to extrapolate the number of email open events based on your experience over time.

It also makes sense to compare your open rates with historical figures and track a comparison on a month-over-month basis.

4. Click-through Rate

The click-through rate means how many people are coming to your website or a landing page by clicking a text or image-based link that you’ve included in your email message. It’s important to note whether the reader is interacting with your email by going to your website or following a call-to-action in your email as it’s the most measurable initial outcome. Tracking this rate also has significance as monetization can usually occur only once the reader is on your website.

5. Conversion Rate

This metric attempts to directly measure the effectiveness of a campaign’s call-to-action. Companies usually use email marketing for two basic purposes: generating revenues and encourage sign-ups. This is the real test of your marketing efforts as it gives you an idea of how well you can tie email marketing efforts to the actual business goals. Although you can use most of the email service providers to keep a tab on all other metrics, for this you need to rely on an internal mechanism, or you could also use the ‘referred by’ and ‘goal’ tools in Google Analytics.

6. Spam Reports and Unsubscribe Rate

A high number of people opting out of your mailing list by unsubscribing not only affects your sender reputation, but also means that the content of your mail campaigns is not compelling enough or has declined in quality over time. Thus, as the objective is to increase the list size over time and not the other way around, it’s recommended to have a closer look at quality of the messages that your email campaigns are sending out as well as the frequency of these emails.

On a concluding note, the best way to measure the effectiveness of your overall marketing campaigns is to make a historical comparison of all the above metrics as well as the number of new leads that got converted as a result of your email marketing efforts. One thing to keep in mind is to choose a reliable email service to send emails, one that provides all the above metrics and more, to measure your campaign’s performance. MailChimp, GetResponse and Aweber are a few popular ones in this domain.

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