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8 Essential Metrics for an Effective Email Campaign

Erik Totten
5 min read
Mar 16, 2020

Effective email campaigns are a part of every successful marketer’s toolbox. For an email campaign to be effective, you need to know if it is working. If you don’t know, not only could you be wasting your time but you also could be creating a negative perception of your company. After all, nobody wants their inbox flooded with spam, and people look unfavorably on those businesses that bombard their inbox with irrelevant email messages. 

Tracking metrics in your email campaign will tell you if the campaign is successful, and it will give you insight into what needs to be fixed if it isn’t. With that in mind, here is the data you need to collect in order to determine if your email campaign is working for your business.

1. Clickthrough rate

Your clickthrough rate (CTR) refers to the number of people that clicked on a link in your email. This data tells you if the recipients of your email are at least initially interested in what you are sending them. If your CTR is low, you know that the information you’re sending isn’t relevant to that particular prospect, or that there isn’t anything actionable in it. With that knowledge, you can refine your email messages to be more engaging.

2. Bounce rate

The bounce rate can be divided into two separate types. Soft bounces are messages that went undelivered, but the email address is valid. The message was most likely not delivered because the message was too big, their server was down, or their inbox was full. A more serious concern are hard bounces. Hard bounces are messages that went undelivered because the email address is invalid or doesn’t even exist at all. Continually sending messages that return a hard bounce can lead to all of your messages being marked as spam, which can drastically reduce how many of your messages are delivered successfully. The best way to avoid this is to pay attention to your bounce rate and regularly prune your email list of addresses that are no longer valid.

3. Forwarding/sharing rate

This is pretty straight forward. Your forwarding rate refers to the number of people that forwarded your email on to another person. It’s important in not only generating new leads but also showing that the original recipient of your email is engaged and willing to evangelize your brand/product. The share rate shows you how many people shared all or part of your message on social media. This will show you what types of content or offers resonate with your readers and will help you plan future email campaigns.

4. Conversion rate

Your goal isn’t to just get people to open your email and click on a link. While that is important, the ultimate goal is to get them to complete an action that you have predetermined. In a nutshell, to get them to do what you want them to do. This is directly linked to any call-to-actions within the email and the overall goal of the email campaign. That could be getting them to download a book or whitepaper, accept a free trial, use a coupon, complete a sale, or anything else. Ultimately, your conversion rate will tell you if your email campaign was successful, and provide a benchmark for successful campaigns in the future.

5. Return on investment

Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most critical metrics to determine if your email campaign was successful. While there are a number of formulas that can be used to determine your ROI, it’s simply whether or not the revenue you derived from the campaign was more than it cost to do it. This can be calculated through sales, but also by attaching a value to leads that were generated from the campaign. Typically, email campaigns return the highest ROI in marketing, so this is an important metric to watch.

6. Unique open rate

Your open rate will tell you how many times your email was opened. You’ll want to pay more attention to the unique open rate because this will tell you how many different people viewed the message. This information will help you fine-tune your subject line to guarantee that it is engaging and that your recipients are interested in your brand or product. Keep in mind that the open rate will only reflect those readers that also downloaded the images in the email. 

7. List growth rate/unsubscribe rate

Your email list will naturally dwindle over time due to people unsubscribing and email addresses becoming invalid for one reason or another. Because of this, it’s important to keep growing your email list. If it’s not getting bigger, it’s gradually getting smaller. By watching how many people unsubscribe to one email campaign versus another, you can see which messages are compelling to your recipients, and which fall flat. The frequency (i.e. too often) of your email campaigns can also lead to recipients unsubscribing, too. 

8. Replies

This sounds like a no-brainer, but replies to your email messages are a great way to tell if your campaign is effective or not. Make sure your recipients can reply to your messages, and don’t miss the opportunity to engage them if they do. Track which types of content get the most replies and send out more of the same in future campaigns. You can also track which types of CTAs, in this case, a simple question could work wonders, get the most replies. You’ll never have a better chance to convert a lead into a customer than when they reach out to you first.

With these in mind, get to creating your email campaign, and then get it out there to your existing and potential customers. Email marketing and campaigns are one of the most effective marketing tools we have available, with a 3,800% ROI. Track the above metrics, and you’ll be on your way to having a more successful business.

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