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Measuring email marketing and extracting actionable insights from your performance data doesn’t have to feel like rocket science.
Once you know what to measure, how to set goals, and report progress, you can easily build a repeatable analytics process to refine your strategy.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
Now, let’s turn you into an analytics maestro.
Every organization has different needs. However, there are some basic data points most businesses should be tracking to gauge success. Here’s a complete breakdown.
Your open rate is the percentage of emails opened relative to the total number of recipients. It’s important to note this is based on actual emails delivered, excluding addresses that were sent to but didn’t actually get the message.
Email service providers consider an email “opened” when a tracking pixel (a small transparent image) is shown to the reader. This triggers an “open,” but it can be misleading if recipients have images blocked in their email client. So, this is something to keep in mind.
The best way to improve your open rate is to write compelling subject lines. It’s also worth paying attention to your pre-header text (the text that appears immediately after the subject line in some email clients):
Add text + arrows pointing out the Subject Line, and the Pre-header Text.
You can optimize subject lines before sending using the free Email Subject Line Tester. Visit the site and enter a subject line:
Get your score:
Add words shown to increase open rates (and remove ones shown to decrease them):
And get tips on how to structure your subject line for best performance:
Click-through rate (CTR) measures how many people click links in your emails. The more people click, the better. CTR is calculated based on the percentage of unique users who click a link, relative to the total number of recipients on your list.
Strong CTRs start with strong subject lines. Your email content needs to follow through on the promises your subject line makes.
Next, work on your email copywriting skills. That content has to be compelling and written in a way that makes people want to check out what you’re offering, whether that’s a blog post, a sales offer, or something else.
Click-to-Open Rate (CTOR) is similar to CTR, except it’s calculated by the number of people who clicked, relative to the number of people who opened the email.
Your conversion rate calculates the number of goal completions driven by your email. This usually means things like:
Whatever constitutes a conversion on your blog, website, or landing page, referred from a marketing email.
Conversion rate is calculated the same way as open rate and CTR. Divide the number of email opens by the number of clicks, and multiply it by 100.
The subject line gets the recipient’s attention. Then, the email copy convinces them to click. Now, your webpage copy (whether it’s a blog post, web page, or landing page) needs to seal the deal.
If your emails are getting opens and clicks, but conversions are landing, there could be a few things worth looking at:
In order to track conversion rates, your site or blog will need to be connected to Google Analytics or another web analytics platform.
Bounce rate equal the number of emails that couldn’t be delivered. They’re categorized into two groups:
Again, this can be calculated using the same formula as other metrics. Divide the number of bounces against the number of email addresses delivered to, and multiply that by 100.
In the case of hard bounces, prune those email addresses from your list. Done.
The folks at SendGrid also offer some more great tips:
Before your email marketing can succeed, you need subscribers! It seems obvious, but building a strong list is easier said than done. List growth rate is a calculation of how many subscribers you’re adding. Generally, you can measure this month-to-month.
List building is a massive topic unto itself. At a basic level, here are some useful strategies CoSchedule has used to build a list of 300,000+ subscribers:
People are going to unsubscribe from your list. It’s a fact of life, and it’s best to come to terms with it. But, if your unsubscribes are high, you may have some problems. You certainly want to do everything you can to encourage people to stay on your list, too.
Your unsubscribe rate is a measurement of how many people leaving your list. Calculate it by taking the number of users unsubscribing and comparing it against your total number of subscribers.
The answer starts with understanding why people might choose to unsubscribe in the first place:
This is the big one.
Email marketing is extremely cost-effective. Various studies pin its ROI somewhere between 3,800% and 4,200% (give or take). That’s absolutely incredible value.
If you have Google Analytics or another analytics platform set up, email ROI can be calculated easily. Find the number of conversions on your site that were referred by email, then figure out how much revenue those conversions were worth.
There are a couple ways to do this:
However, you can still calculate the average value of a conversion for your site, times the total number of conversions. This will give you an approximate understanding of your email ROI.
To find conversion data from email in Google Analytics, follow this path:
All Traffic > Channels:
Conversions (scroll to the right):
This will help you find:
Now, for non-ecommerce sites, the Goal Value might not be accurate, or may display as $0.00. In this case, you can get close by following these steps:
At the very least, this will help provide a starting point to understanding how email marketing is impacting your bottom line.
Most email service providers include robust analytics features. They also integrate with Google Analytics (and in some cases, several other popular analytics tools).
These links will get you started in the right direction, if you use any of the email services that currently integrate with CoSchedule:
We’ve established there are plenty of tools for gathering and tracking email marketing data.
But, how do you understand which elements of your emails drove specific results and behaviors?
This can be challenging to narrow down, and requires testing and a little bit of subjective interpretation.
It’s always worth split testing subject lines. But, you have to make sure you’re actually reviewing the results, and acting on that data the next time you write an email.
This video offers a great primer on subject line A/B testing:
Using the report template included in this post, record your results for the past month (this data should be easy to find in your email service provider):
When evaluating subject lines, consider the following:
Keep those thoughts in mind as you write and test subject lines for your next send.
Next, it’s time to be your own worst critic. Honestly assess all elements of your email.
Using your template, screenshot each email and provide your analytical insights for each send:
This could mean:
What matters most is being intentional about the changes you’re making. Inform your team or client which elements you’ll adjust on upcoming emails:
Then, send your email, and watch what happens. Keep repeating this process to refine your execution and continue to improve your results. Over time, you’ll see trends develop that will provide you with better understanding of which actions influence changes on different metrics.
When measuring email marketing performance, it’s helpful to compare your data against industry averages. These can vary widely between different industries and niches, which is important to keep in mind.
By Company Size:
Use these numbers as loose guideposts to understand if your performance is exceptional, on par, or needs improvement.
Back to the Top
CoSchedule is a powerful all-in-one marketing management platform for organizing teams, projects, and campaigns.
But, here’s something you might not know: that includes email marketing.
CoSchedule integrates with the following ESPs, giving your entire team full visibility into your email marketing strategy:
Once you connect your ESP to CoSchedule in a few simple steps, all email content you create will appear on your calendar:
Best of all, you can try it free for 14 days or schedule a demo to see how it works.
Once you start measuring email marketing, you’ll naturally want to see your numbers continue to improve. The only way to do this is to develop your skill set as an email marketer. Fortunately, there are tons of resources to help, including these from CoSchedule:
Your Email Marketing Reading List:
Wrangling metrics and meeting your goals doesn’t have to feel like a trip to the dentist. In fact, equipped with this post, you’re now fully prepared to leverage analytics to show your boss value. Here’s a recap of what you’ve learned:
Plus, you’ve got all the templates you need to get organized and create easy reports. Is there anything we missed? Drop a comment below and start the discussion.
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