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In 2022, more than 347.3 billion emails will be sent every day – almost 50 billion more a day than in 2019. That’s a staggering increase.
In order to capture and retain customers, the importance of a successful email marketing strategy is paramount. In fact, 81% of SMEs rely on email marketing as their primary customer acquisition channel and 80% on customer retention.
But to get the most out of your email marketing goals, you need to tailor them to your business. How can you do that and what role do your email marketing KPIs play?
Selecting KPIs for Email Marketing
Measuring email campaigns is not as straightforward as simply sending a series once a month and then checking the opening rate. The emails themselves come in many forms: newsletters, product updates, news and advice columns, emails to salespeople, automated emails – each with its own goals and KPIs. In other words, you can not measure all emails as if they were the same.
So the first step for any email marketing measurement system should be to categorize your emails. It lays the foundation for an effective means of comparing your progress into different categories, reducing confusion and the risk of homogenizing goals.
Next, you need to think about which KPIs actually matter within these separate categories.
Identification of important KPIs should start with a certain level of measurement planning; for that, you need to know your marketing and business goals and make sure that your email marketing goals match them.
For example, if you want to generate more leads as a primary goal, you can look at email click-through rates (CTRs) to your “contact” page or product-focused areas of your site because these KPIs are the most relevant for supporting growth in this area.
Here are some other examples of common email metrics and how to use them:
- Delivery rate: How healthy is your database? What is the speed of your emails being returned?
- Opening price: Do you capture people’s attention with your subject line and sender name?
- CTR: Do people click through (if that’s what you intend them to do)? You want to work towards a goal benchmark, which is a difficult start.
- Click to open installment: At what speed do people open and interacting with your email? How does it change over time? Does it change at all? What was the subject line or content of your email when the price was higher than average?
But apart from the standard KPIs, there are other ways to measure email marketing success:
- Conversion rate: How much of your email audience continued to perform a desired action? How many people bought that product, read that article, or ordered the follow-up call with a salesperson? Where can you improve when these numbers are below average?
- Ongoing user journeys: What did your email allow a user to do? Evaluate the marketing contact points on users’ paths to find out what influences them or what has the biggest impact on their decision to convert.
- Leads / MQLs: How many leads did your email generate? Customize with your CRM database and CRM team to measure this metric via tracking form submissions from your email activity.
- Opportunities: How many of the leads you generated converted into a real opportunity for your business?
- Income: Does your email strategy live up to business goals and the bottom line?
- Return on Email Marketing Expenses (ROEMS): How much does your email strategy cost? Map it as you would with paid search / media and ROAS.
Knowing exactly what you want your recipients to do and why is the core of scheduling email measurement and deciding which KPIs should be the most important. Having a clear idea of what “success” looks like for your email marketing strategy sets the standard and gives you a benchmark to compare with.
Mapping the journey of your intended users is an important step in defining a clear path for them, and as a by-product you will find out the KPIs they will hit along the way.
Tracking, testing and reporting your email KPIs
Because measuring the success of your KPIs requires close measurement of your recipients’ user journey, you need to work closely with your analytics and email development teams to ensure you have the best tracking in place.
If you’re directing customers to your own site, it’s crucial to customize your email marketing strategy with a tracking and tagging strategy. This means that you ensure that every email can be tracked using a structure that makes sense for your business.
Think about the category of email, audience, product, even the CTA of the email: Everyone helps to understand how well your email strategy works. In fact, you can use the most detailed tracking of an email to measure success: Is the recipient a brand or a name? Was there one CTA, or were there several CTAs? Tracking all the links in your email will enable you to understand what people are clicking on.
Do not be afraid to play and experiment with different CTAs, structures and formats. Build a test plan as part of your email marketing strategy and try different ways to engage with your community. As long as they can be tracked, all useful data can be traced back to your campaigns.
Having clearly established (and business-oriented) KPIs – as well as a solid framework for tracking and measuring their performance – is great, but it counts for nothing without a solid reporting process.
Try to report on your email marketing as often as you can. A quarterly or even monthly report is infrequent enough to limit your ability to respond, test and optimize your activities in a timely manner.
To help, consider automating your reports so you can quickly and easily enter that data when your next campaign goes live.
Email is just one of many communication channels and a single element of your marketing strategy, but by measuring its performance against the right metrics, you can ensure that it integrates with and supports your business as a whole.
More resources on email marketing strategy and KPIs
How to use email metrics to optimize your campaigns [Infographic]
Four Ways to Strengthen Your Email Marketing Strategy with AI
Metrics for measuring transactional email success