A How-To Guide for Online Marketers: Measuring Effectiveness of Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to reach out to customers and promote a product or service. Essentially, email marketing is the process of sending out emails to potential and current customers with the intention of marketing a business. Businesses use an email marketing list to cultivate relationships with customers, promote their brand, increase sales, or simply keep customers updated on what is new.

According to Search Engine Journal, it’s possible to reach an average ROI of 4300% with a strategic, well-developed email marketing campaign.

And given this eye-popping number, it’s no real surprise why email marketing remains effective to this day. There are various digital marketing strategies for a business to implement, but an email marketing campaign can give a business the boost that they need if done correctly.

There are various email campaign metrics that should be tracked to gauge the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign. That being said, how can a business identify if their email campaign is doing its job? If it isn’t effective, why should a business continue running it?

How do you know your email campaign is working?

Before a business can see the benefits of executing an email marketing campaign, they must understand the processes involved and the significance of measuring the effectiveness of email marketing. This way, businesses can make necessary changes to improve their campaign and increase their return on investment (ROI).

Depending on the business’ goals, email marketing campaign results can be deemed effective, if not successful, should it move the needle through the following:

  • Increase in sales
  • Increase in brand loyalty
  • Increase in lead generation
  • Increase in repeat purchases
  • Decrease in marketing costs

How to measure email marketing success?

If a business has no idea whether their email marketing campaign had an impact in hitting these goals or not, then listed below are the steps for a business to discover the effectiveness of their online marketing efforts.

1. Chart Past Broadcasts

Data is key to knowing whether any digital marketing campaign is truly effective. So, this means that data collection is a necessary step. A business running an email marketing campaign should first compile broadcasts in the last three to 12 months and chart the metrics that are relevant to their campaign. Depending on the number of metrics that serve as key performance indicators (KPIs), a business will have the same number of charts to build and study.

2. Determine Averages of Your Email Marketing Metrics

The second step is calculating for the average of relevant email marketing metrics in each chart. To determine the average metric in every chart, add all the individual charted values for each KPI and divide the sum by the total volume of email campaigns sent during the same time span.

For example: three email campaigns yielded a 1.5%, 2%, and 2.2% click through rate (CTR) respectively, the average CTR is 1.9% or (1.5 + 2 + 2.2) / 3 = Ave CTR.

3. Pinpoint Outliers in Your Chart Averages

The third step involves looking at the different charts, and through the averages of each metric, identifying any outliers. These figures can either be higher or lower than the average. This determines which KPI in email marketing to address.

4. Look for Patterns and Investigate

Once the outliers in the chart have been identified, the fourth step involves taking notice of patterns and understanding what caused these patterns to form. Did a topic stir enough interest for an upward trajectory in CTR? Or was an email blast sent too early in the morning for a dip in OR to occur?

5. Set Benchmarks and Identify Your Goals

As the last step, a business now has all the data in their hands, which then enables it to set reasonable baselines and goals for every email campaign metric. This allows a business to determine, with data as evidence, if an email marketing campaign is working accordingly.

Setting a benchmark is critical in measuring the effectiveness of any digital marketing campaign. Once a metric’s baseline has been established, a business can better understand the context of every action and how it can impact the overall performance of an email marketing campaign.

What email metrics are important to track and measure?

The email campaign metrics that businesses should track will be dependent on their goals. However, regardless of the goal, there are three KPIs in email marketing – also referred to as the “big three” – that can help measure success of a campaign, which are as follows:

Delivery Rate

The delivery rate is the percentage of emails that subscribers received in their inbox. A high delivery rate indicates that the email campaign is effectively reaching its target audience. On the other hand, a low delivery rate means there is a need for the business to improve their email marketing list.

To calculate for the delivery rate:

(Total Number of Emails Delivered / Total Number of Emails Sent) * 100 = DR

It is recommended to track delivery rates every month. Delivery rate can also be looked at through the lens of a campaign’s bounce rate.

Open Rate

The open rate is the percentage of subscribers who opened the email. A high open rate indicates that the email’s subject line or preview text was effective in piquing the subscribers’ interests. A low open rate, on the one hand, means that these emails don’t have a compelling enough topic or subject line to prompt a subscriber to read or open the email.

To calculate for the open rate:

[Total Number of Email Opens / (Total Number of Emails Sent – Total Number of Bounced Emails)] * 100 = OR

It is recommended to track open rates every week. The major elements that can influence open rate include the sender’s name and the email’s subject line.

Click Through Rate

The click through rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on a link in the email, which is usually identified as the CTA button. A high click through rate indicates that the email’s content was relevant and effective in driving subscribers to take action. Meanwhile, a low CTR can be indicative of the email missing the mark.

To calculate for the CTR:

(Total or Unique Number of Click Throughs / Total Number of Emails Sent) * 100 = CTR

It is recommended to track CTR every week. Some email marketing experts can choose to do this from day to day, as it is oftentimes the metric to look at in analyzing the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign.

There are different factors that can impact CTR, such as the anchor text, its placement, and the emails’ content. This is why CTR is also the most oft-used metric to determine which email to send after A/B testing.

Why are these email campaign important?

Email List notifs on a mobile Phone

Delivery rate, open rate, and click through rate are important email campaign metrics because they provide insights into how well the marketing campaign is performing. These metrics answer the pertinent questions usually surrounding an email marketing campaign:

  • Delivery rate answers the question: “How many subscribers truly received the email?”
  • Open rate answers the question: “How many of the subscribers chose to read the email?”
  • CTR answers the question: “How convincing was the email’s content for the subscriber to take action?”

Together, these metrics give businesses a clear picture of how effective their email marketing campaign is and whether it is indeed meeting their goals or not.

What do these metrics tell you about email marketing?

The big three of KPIs in an email marketing campaign can usually tell the story. However, a business can have different marketing objectives. While DR, OR, and CTR can help determine how to measure email marketing success, these metrics are hinged on goals that ultimately drive users to convert.

Here are other metrics of an email marketing campaign that provide more context to businesses, relevant to what they intend to achieve:

Bounce Rate

The percentage of emails that could not be delivered. A high bounce rate is often due to an old or invalid email marketing list. To calculate for the bounce rate:

(Total Number of Bounced Emails / Total Number of Emails Sent) * 100 = BR

Overall ROI and Conversion Rate

This will help you determine the monetary value of your email marketing campaign and how successful it is in driving conversions. ROI and conversion rate go hand in hand, as the volume of conversions contributes to the campaign’s profitability.

One way to calculate for the overall ROI of an email marketing campaign:

[(Dollar Value in Additional Sales – Dollar Value Invested in the Campaign) / Dollar Value Invested in the Campaign] * 100 = ROI in percentage

To calculate for conversion rate:

(Total Number of People Who Completed an Action / Total Number of Emails Sent) * 100 = CR

Conversion is among the popular objectives in an email marketing campaign, whether the action is to sign up a contact form, download an app, or try the demo. This makes CR quite the relevant metric for campaigns with lead generation objectives.

Email Marketing List Growth Rate

Tracking a business’ email marketing list growth rate provides insight on the effectiveness of an email acquisition strategy. At the same time, the email list growth rate is reflective of its size. If the list isn’t growing, then any email marketing campaign’s effectiveness also decreases. Users abandon old emails over time, while other users will unsubscribe eventually as well.

Here’s how to calculate for email marketing list growth rate:

{[Total Number of New Subscribers – (Total Number of Unsubscribe + Email/Spam Complaints)] / Total Number of Email Addresses in the Mailing List} * 100 = EMLGR

Email Forwarding Rate

The email forwarding rate helps gauge how viral an email’s content is. A high email forwarding rate indicates that the recipients found the email valuable enough to share it with others. Another reason to check for a campaign’s email forwarding rate is to add fresh email addresses, market to new audiences, and generate new leads by tracking the recipients.

This metric also shows how existing subscribers are transforming into brand advocates for a business.

To calculate for email forwarding rate:

(Total Number of Clicks on a Share Button / Total Number of Delivered Emails) * 100 = EFR

Unsubscribe Rate

Tracking unsubscribe rate can help a business determine if the email’s content is relevant to subscribers. A high unsubscribe rate indicates that these emails are of no value to the recipients and that they are no longer interested in receiving them.

However, unsubscribe rate can be unreliable as a metric to watch, because most people without any interest in a business’ email subscription might not even bother to go through the process of unsubscribing. Instead, these subscribers are more likely to ignore and leave these emails unopened.

To calculate for unsubscribe rate:

(Total Number of Clicks on an Unsubscribe Link / Total Number of Delivered Emails or Emails Sent) * 100 = UR

Complaint Rate

The complaint rate is the number of people who marked a business’ emails as spam. A high complaint rate indicates that the email is being considered as spam and that it is not relevant to the recipient. Depending on the complaint rate, this shows a business how much adjustments are necessary to be made to the content of the email.

To calculate for complaint rate:

(Total Number of Complaints / Total Number of Delivered Emails) * 100 = CoR

Metrics are important in any marketing campaign as they provide businesses with the ability to track progress and determine what is and isn’t working. These metrics provide insights into how well an email marketing campaign is performing and whether it is meeting the business’ goals or not.

When selecting which metric to track, consider what the business’ goal is for the email marketing campaign. Is the business looking to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to their website? Generate leads?

Once the goals have been determined, selecting the metric that will best help measure success can then follow suit. There are a variety of email marketing metrics that can be tracked, but not all of them will be relevant to every business.

What to improve in your email marketing campaign?

There are a few key things to keep in mind when working on an email marketing campaign:

  • The subject line is important and should be short, sweet, and to the point.
  • The email content should be relevant to the recipient and offer value.
  • Images can help break up the text and make the email more visually appealing.
  • Use calls to action to encourage recipients to take the desired action.
  • Monitor metrics to track and measure the effectiveness of the email marketing campaign and make necessary adjustments.

Email marketing can be a great way to reach out to potential customers. However, it is important to select the right metrics to track and monitor, as well as keep in mind a few key things when crafting the email content. By doing so, businesses can ensure that their email marketing campaign is as successful as possible.

Here are a few ways to improve the performance of a campaign, given the different metrics and KPIs in email marketing:

Remove Unengaged Subscribers

If a subscriber hasn’t opened or clicked on an email in six months, it’s time to say goodbye. Keeping unengaged subscribers on your list will only yield lower open and click-through rates, which will hurt the performance and quality of the email marketing campaign results.

Segment Your Email Marketing List

By segmenting the email list according to topics, a business can send more targeted and relevant emails to their subscribers. This will result in higher open and click-through rates, as well as fewer complaints and unsubscribes.

Test, Test, Test

Always test email campaigns when possible, especially before sending them out. This includes testing the subject line, content, call to action, and send time. By testing different elements of an email marketing campaign, a business can determine what works best for their audience and fine-tune their email marketing strategy. Here are the different factors that a business can test:

  • Time of Emails Sent – Try sending emails at different times of the day or week to see when subscribers are most engaged.
  • Relevancy of Topic – Make sure that the content of the email is relevant to subscribers.
  • Email Subject – Test different subject lines to see which ones result in higher open rates.
  • Anchor Text – Try using different anchor text in the call to action to see which one gets more clicks.
  • Length of Email – Keep emails succinct. No one wants to read a novel in their inbox.
  • Images vs. No Images – Some people prefer emails with images, while others prefer all text. Try testing both to see which performs better.
  • Call to Action – Try different calls to action to see which encourages more clicks.

Compare Total Leads Generated vs Rate of Leads Nurtured

A lead is only as good as the effort put into nurturing it. By tracking both the total leads generated and the rate of leads nurtured, a marketer can get a better idea of how to measure email marketing success. If a business is generating a lot of leads but not nurturing them, then the campaign isn’t as effective as it could be, especially when ROI and conversions are their primary objectives.

Email Campaign Metrics: Your Key to a Results-Oriented Campaign

Conclusively, while the performance of an email marketing can be tricky to track, measure, and quantify, through the right email campaign metrics, any marketer can successfully assess the performance of a campaign, make necessary adjustments, and improve results.

Email marketing can be a cost-effective way to reach out to potential customers and promote a product or service. However, it is important to select the right metrics to track, as these metrics will determine the success of an email marketing campaign.

If you’re interested in finding out how to generate leads through email marketing and more, why not try our free trial today? It’s FREE!