I still remember the first email campaign I sent almost 10 years ago. Crazy.
I was fresh out of college. I had just landed my first “corporate” job. And my first week on the job, I was given my first “real” marketing task. To deploy an email.
Talk about diving right in!
I quickly learned there were a lot of components that went into coordinating an email. You have to write copy, design images, write subject lines, segment the email list…
Eventually I managed to piece these components together. The email deployed. And I did a little happy dance.
However, my happy dance was short lived.
The following day I received an email from my manager, Liz. In her email, she asked me to pull together a report outlining the performance of the campaign.
Say whaaat?!? This was all so new. Less than a week ago I had learned what a hyperlink in an email was. I had no idea how to analyze the performance.
Instead of asking my manager for help, I did what every smart person does. I googled that shiz. I pretended I knew what I was doing when, in reality, I didn’t. After a quick search, I found the Direct Marketing Association’s website and spent hours learning how to analyze the performance of an email.
So, which email marketing metrics matter? And which ones should you focus on to grow your online business and blog?
Here are the four email metrics you should be paying close attention to. I am also going to provide you with copy of the spreadsheet I use to organize it all.
METRIC #1: CLICKTHROUGH RATE (CTR)
The clickthrough rate shows you which percentage of contacts clicked on your email. This metric is a quick way to see how well your email did. Because, if people aren’t clicking then they’re not taking action. We want action!
You can calculate the clickthrough rate with this formula:
If you are conducting A/B split email tests, then the clickthrough rate is the metric you want to watch. The clickthrough rate will help determine the winning results of most tests. Just see which email received the higher percentage of clicks.
If you’re wondering “but what is a good click-through rate?”, don’t fret. I did some digging for you.
I like the email marketing statistics that Smart Insights has over on their website. They’ve compiled email clickthrough rate averages broken out by: industry, company size, country and device.
METRIC #2: CONVERSION RATE
Do you know what’s more exciting than an email clickthrough rate? The conversion rate.
The conversion rate is useful because it shows you which percentage of email recipients took action ON your desired action.
More specifically, it allows you to see which percent of recipients filled out your lead form, or registered for your webinar, or purchased your product.
Here’s how you calculate the conversion rate:
Let’s have a quick “pep talk”.
There are a lot of terms in marketing. And our industry is great at making up new ones. Only in recent years have terms like growth hacking, omni-channel, and inbound marketing popped up.
I know I’m listing off a lot of terms in this blog post and I don’t want you to get discouraged. You’ll get the hang of it in time. It just takes a little bit of practice. And if you tune into my Facebook Live show, that may help a little bit too.
Where were we? Oh yeah, bounce rate.
I was pretty confused when I first heard about bounce rates. And it took me a couple weeks to wrap my mind around it.
Maybe the whole point of my above “pep talk” was to pump you up for this next section. 😉
METRIC #3: BOUNCE RATE
There are two types of bounces. Soft bounces y hard bounces.
Soft bounces are a temporary issue. The two largest culprits of soft bounces are:
- The contact has a full mailbox
- The contact’s email server is down.
When one of your contacts soft bounces, your email service provider will usually try resending the email a couple more times to see if the problem clears up.
Hard bounces are NOT a temporary issue. These bounces are caused by:
- Invalid Emails: Most of the invalid emails I encounter are caused by spelling errors. Perhaps the contact added an extra “e” to their name because they got a little overzealous?
- Closed Emails: A closed email means that the contact closed up shop. Maybe they realized Hotmail is dead?
- Non-existent Emails: This means the email never existed and you’ve been George Glass’d. Do you remember the Brady Bunch episode where Jan invents a non-existent boyfriend? Ha!
Internet service providers (ISPs) take hard bounce rates seriously. In fact, if they think your email deploys have too many hard bounces, they’ll label you as a spammer.
Make sure you are using a reputable email service provider. All the popular providers will automatically suppress hard bounces from future email deploys.
METRIC #4: EMAIL LIST GROWTH RATE
On average, B2B companies see 22.5% of their email list decay each year.
That’s a crazy big number. So, I want to state this statistic again to really help it sink into your brain.
Each year, up to 22.5% of the email addresses on your list could go bad.
This could happen for a variety of reasons:
- People often change email addresses when they move to another company.
- People decide to ditch the old Hotmail addresses they really aren’t using anymore.
- People get sick of hearing from you so they decide to opt out. Don’t take it too personal. You’re wicked awesome. Like my dog Artie.
Keep tabs on your database size and make sure you are removing bad email addresses while growing your list with new email addresses.
Intermediate/Advanced Marketers: I recommend keeping “database decay lists” so you can forecast your future list decay.
You can do this by setting up smart lists that constantly track:
- Contacts who haven’t opened an email within the last 3 months
- Contacts who haven’t visited the website in the last 6 months
- Contacts who haven’t converted on a form in the past 6-12 months
- Total contacts who have hard bounced
These lists help minimize decay shock when you go to clean out your list every year.
BONUS METRIC: LANDING PAGE CONVERSION
I know, I know. Landing page conversion isn’t technically an email metric.
But since your landing page may be tied to your email marketing campaign, I don’t think it should take a back seat.
Here is the formula you’ll want to use to calculate your landing page conversion rate.
Now, let’s discuss what you should use as a benchmark for landing page conversions.
Based on their findings, and the results I’ve seen from my clients, I think a healthy conversion rate benchmark is 9%-15%. Aim for this percentage.
If people are visiting your landing page and not filling out your form, then something needs to be tweaked to increase conversions.
WHICH METRIC YOU SHOULD FLAT OUT IGNORE
It’s important to know which email marketing metrics you should be tracking. And, on the flip side, it’s important to know which metrics you shouldn’t stress too much about. Let’s break it down.
As I’ve mentioned before, don’t let your unsubscribe rate get you down. Every company is going to have haters. And, I would go as far as to say, you should be concerned if you don’t have haters.
The real reason why you shouldn’t stress about your unsubscribe rate is because most people will ignore you. They are too busy to opt out of your email communications. Instead, they’ll stop opening, reading, and clicking on your messages.
They’ll “ghost” you.
Let’s quickly recap the email metrics you should be tracking.
- Email Clickthrough Rate: This the most popular day-to-day email marketing tactic to track. It shows you what percentage of people are clicking on your email.
- Conversion Rate: The conversion rate gives you the percentage of contacts that took action on your call-to-action. i.e. what percentage of people filled out a form, or registered for an event, or made a purchase.
- Bounce Rate: There are two types of bounces – soft and hard. Soft bounces are temporary while hard bounces are not. Internet service providers (ISPs) take hard bounce rates seriously. If they think your email deploys have too many hard bounces, they’ll label you as a spammer.
- Email List Growth Rate: This metric looks at how many NEW email addresses are being added to your email database. You want to track this to ensure it offsets your database decay.
- Landing Page Conversion Rate: The landing page conversion looks at how many visitors to your landing page are actually filling out the form and “converting”.
I wanted to make life a little easier for you, so don’t forget to click the button below and grab the spreadsheet I use to track all of these stats. All you have to do is pop your data into this spreadsheet and it will calculate your different conversion rates automatically for you. No calculus required. #YAY
Are there any email marketing stats you love to track that I didn’t mention? I would love to hear all about them, so please chime in.