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Email Marketing Metrics and KPIs to Track and Optimize

Email marketing metrics will tell exactly how successful your marketing campaigns are. However, you must understand which metrics and KPIs you have to consider and how to read them correctly.

When you carefully analyze your results through metrics, you have full insight into what is truly working in your marketing campaigns and the strategies that are not performing the way they should. 

The best part of metrics is that numbers never lie, and they must be taken as a reflex of reality.

Thus, you can make decisions faster and more accurately, by maintaining positive approaches and reformulating some ideas that don’t meet the expectations of both your marketing team and audience.

But how can I read email marketing metrics? How can I calculate them? How to withdraw conclusions from them? Which ones should I consider? How to understand my audience using metrics and KPIs? These are all valid questions, which we will answer throughout this text.

By the end of this article, you will be able to read metrics, and what to do in order to track, optimize and improve them, so you can make the most of your email marketing campaigns.

  • Email marketing metrics
  • How to know which email marketing KPIs you should track
  • Email marketing metrics to track and optimize

Email marketing metrics

Email marketing is a powerful tool that many companies use to engage in communication with their target audience, while they provide useful and interesting information to internal and external communities at the same time.

Considering email analytics is a relevant part of any job in the marketing field, even to email marketing beginners. Even if your career in Marketing is brand-new, you should start studying email marketing metrics from the beginning. But why are they so important?

When you put out any email marketing campaign, some real-time metrics are activated. These numbers can give you a panoramic view of how your target audience is responding to pieces of communication, and also can guide future steps.

Email marketing metrics are not only useful to the next campaigns, but they really can make your daily life easier, because they can help your whole team on the task of adapting and renewing the company’s strategies.

By analyzing email marketing metrics, you can also have other benefits, such as:

  • make the decision-making process more accurate and faster;
  • separate the successful strategies from the actions that need reformulating;
  • have insights into how to come up with victorious campaigns;
  • get more conversions and sales in marketing campaigns;
  • grow your connection with your target audience and list of contacts;
  • improve the company’s online presence and reputation;
  • polish the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns up.

These are some of the main benefits of considering email marketing metrics in your daily routine.

But if you want to know which email marketing KPIs you should track and What do they tell about companies, keep reading to learn about it.   

How to know which email marketing KPIs you should track

The KPIs are calculated according to a group of metrics, and they must be aligned to the goals that were set during the planning of a certain email marketing campaign.

Talking about different goals of email marketing campaigns, there are four strategies that professional marketers consider:

  • subscriber list growth: the campaigns planned to add more email addresses to your subscriber lists;
  • engaged subscribers: the campaigns planned to verify the level of engagement of your target audience in your platforms;
  • leads generation: the campaigns whose main objective is to create more leads, that is, generate more awareness of your brand and call people’s attention to it; 
  • customer acquisition: the campaigns that try to take leads and transform them into buying customers.

It’s important to bear in mind the true and main objective of a certain campaign when you are planning it. Do I want to acquire more contacts with this project? Is my objective here making cross-selling easier and more likely? You should know exactly what you are doing. 

You shouldn’t try planning a campaign to acquire more contacts with actions that are only meaningful to your actual customers (emails that are sales-oriented, for example). Don’t mix things up, and understanding the different types of email marketing can really help.

Email metrics to track and optimize

Going from theory to practice, it’s time to reveal what are the most relevant email marketing metrics to your company. 

We will explain in detail their meanings, how to get their indexes, as well as how to improve and optimize them. 

Open Rate

The open rate is a metric of email marketing that measures the number of receivers that opened your message and fully loaded the content on it. 

This is valuable data because it shows how interesting your content is, as well as the potential of your messages in terms of the possibility of generating engagement.

For this metric, only full openings are valid, that is when the user loads the whole content on the body of the email, including images.

How can you get this metric? First, you need to multiply the number of single openings by 100. After that, you can divide this result by the number of all the emails sent (and actually delivered, not considering bounces) in a campaign, as shown in the following mathematical formula:

Open rate = Single openings X 100 / Total of sent emails

Let’s imagine a campaign, in which you have sent 10.000 emails, 9.200 were delivered to the final destination and you got 2.000 openings.

Open rate = 2000 X 100 / 9200

After calculating the open rate, you will see that the result is around 23,74%, the results and expectations may be different for each email campaign or company.

If you need to improve your results, you can try the following strategies:

  • audience segmentation: when planning a marketing campaign, you should know that not everybody in your contact list will be interested in it, which means you can organize your contacts according to their interests;
  • review the content you are sending: people who find your communication and emails confusing or unclear will not open your messages, which is negative for this metric. That’s why you have to be clear, specific and direct, especially in the first sentences of the email body;
  • think about your subject line and preheader text: these are elements that people see even before they open your email, so they must be welcoming and interesting. You must use both as a manner to call the subscriber’s attention (by calling people by their first names directly, for example);

These strategies are simple to be employed, and they will certainly fix a low open rate. 

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Knowing the Clickthrough Rate (CTR) is primordial to analyze users’ engagement to your messages, once it shows the percentage of people who not only opened your email but clicked on the link that was in it, signalized with a strong Call-to-Action sentence.

If you convince someone who read your email to do a specific task (the one implied in the CTA sentence), you will know for sure your messages are interesting, can generate engagement and you targeted the right audience.

That’s why the CTR is important to understand your conversion process. Now, let’s bring into light the mathematical formula that gives us the CTR:

Clickthrough Rate (CTR) = Number of clicked emails X 100 / Number of sent emails

When your CTR is below your expectation, the most positive attitude here is to give special attention to your Call-to-Action phrases. Make them clearer, more creative, and also use imperatives.

As a plus tip, you can set up the best time to send email marketing, when the users are more active, hence, more likely to interact with your messages.

Click to Open Rate (CTOR)

Unlike the click-through rate, the click-to-open rate (CTOR) measures clicks in relation to people who opened the email. In other words, how inviting is your email campaign to promote clicks. Here’s how to calculate CTOR:

Click to Open Rate (CTOR) = Number of clicked emails X 100 / Number of opened emails

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate estimates the number of subscribers or receivers who performed the desired action, the one that was implicit in the body of the email. 

The conversion rate can present itself in different ways, depending on the tone and intentions of the message, but the main indicators that an email was successful and was taken into account in the Conversion Rates are:

  • clicks on Call-to-Action phases;
  • a user fills out a form;
  • users enroll themselves in lectures, courses, webinars, discussion forums, and so on;
  • people submit answers in a survey.

The mathematical formula to get the Conversion Rate is the following:

Conversion Rate = Action X 100 / Single openings

To improve your conversion rates, you have to elaborate interesting and engaging Call-to-Action sentences, as well as think about the user experience when you think about research and surveys.

Elaborating specific and exclusive landing pages to different email marketing campaigns will also help you optimize this metric.

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate shows the number of emails that were not delivered to their final destination. It considers a lot of reasons for the error in delivering the messages, such as invalid email addresses, connection malfunction, and blocks by Email Services Providers (ESP).

You can get the Bounce Rate as the following formula:

Bounce Rate = Not delivered emails X 100 / Sent Emails

A high Bounce Rate can be fatal to your deliverability and reputation as a sender. That’s why you must keep it at a controlled level. After all, if your emails are not delivered, you won’t have openings, conversions, sales, and so on.

In light of this conclusion, it’s of fundamental importance to understand your bounces:

  • hard bounces: it’s a permanent error, due to invalid or fake email addresses;
  • soft bounces: it’s a temporary error, due to public blocklists, a full mailbox, failing provider, and connection malfunction, for example.

To avoid hard bounces, keep your email lists always clean and free of invalid addresses or other kinds of emails that can destroy your reputation and deliverability

Now, speaking of soft bounces, it’s safe to say that some of them are unavoidable. Still, you can adopt positive attitudes to reduce the so-called natural number of bounces, such as avoiding blocklists by having a good email sender reputation, organizing your lists, and having a schedule (a balanced frequency) when sending messages to your audience.

Spam Complaint Rate

The Spam Complaint Rate measures the number of people who have reported your emails as spam. It is calculated through the formula:

Spam Complaint Rate = (Number of Spam Complaints / Total of Delivered Emails) X 100

You really have to worry about the spam complaints you receive, once they will hurt your online reputation and deliverability. Keep the Spam Complaint Rate always at the minimum level.

But if I am a legitimate email sender, how can I possibly get spam complaints? Well, let’s go over some of the most common situations that can make someone report you as a spam sender:

  • the user doesn’t remember you: people might receive your emails, but they don’t know why or how they are receiving your messages, that’s why you must have a great online presence;
  • the user is annoyed by your content: you might be sending the wrong content to the wrong public, or even your content is not interesting enough to catch people’s attention. That’s justifies the necessity of organize your public into different segments, as well as reviewing your messages before you send them;
  • the user doesn’t know how to unsubscribe: if the subscriber wants to leave your database, for whatever reason, the process must be easy, user-friendly and fast, otherwise, you might end up blocklisted and receive spam complaints;
  • the user doesn’t want to receive too many messages at once: you must have a pace when sending emails, that is a balance between not sending too many messages at once, nor spend a lot of days without sending any;
  • the users didn’t allow you to send them messages: you must make sure you have users’ permission to send them emails with an optimized Opt-in process, as well as giving them the choice of what content they will receive, and the frequency they will hear from you.

Bear all of this in mind when you are thinking about controlling your Spam Complaint Rates. Besides improving your email marketing metrics, these strategies will provide the best user experience possible to your audience.

List Growth Rate

The List Growth Rate is an indicator of the real growth of your contacts lists, considering both valid and invalid addresses.

It is a great metric to evaluate your engagement, conversion, and sales. If all these elements are growing at the same pace, it means your email marketing campaigns are fruitful, as well as it proves you have healthy and responsive email lists.

On the other hand, that is, if only your lists are displaying growth, and your conversions and sales stay the same (or worse, decrease), you can conclude that your mailing lists are growing with invalid or disposable email addresses.

In this case, you have to review the processes of acquiring new contacts and leads, especially in membership forms and landing pages.

You can get the List Growth Rate through the formula:

List Growth Rate = New Valid Emails X 100 / Total of Emails in the Database

In order to boost your List Growth Rate, it’s recommendable to invest in online strategies, but also give attention to the offline ones too:

  • offline strategies: organize events, such as lectures and product demonstration, to raise awareness of your brand, especially in your region;
  • online strategies: you can reach more people online, so you can acquire new contacts, investing less money, such as having an updated website, optimized landing pages (equipped with Opt-in, Double Opt-in, and Soft Opt-in to get the users’ permission);

You can also measure the effectiveness of your attempts to grow your mailing lists:

Effectiveness Rate = New Valid Emails X 100 / Total of New Emails Acquired

When analyzing your List Growth Rate and Effectiveness Rate, always remember that quality is better than quantity. It’s no use having a mailing list full of invalid addresses.

Unsubscribe Rate

This rate can tell you if something is wrong with the content of your emails and show other weaknesses in your online strategies. It displays the number of people who don’t want to receive your emails anymore. You must control this rate very closely, because if people are choosing to not receive your emails, it can’t be good.

The most important part when building an email list is to reach engaged users. If these users who are leaving you weren’t generating engagement, the unsubscribing process is better for both parties involved.

The Unsubscribe Rate can also have the mission of telling if a strategy for email marketing is working or not very fast. Take an example of a new content that your team created, but after the emails were sent, many people tried to unsubscribe.

This situation tells your marketing team something needs to be reviewed and improved for the next time. 

Despite having a negative connotation, the Unsubscribe Rate is relevant to understanding many aspects of your marketing campaigns, including engagement and the overall quality of your emails.  

Email Sharing / Forwarding Rate

The Email Sharing Rate, as known as Forwarding Rate, is responsible for measuring the number of people who have shared your message or forwarded it to a friend.

When someone forwards your message, you should take it as a positive sign. It reveals the number of advocates that you have. These clients and customers really trust your brand and products, and they decide by themselves to recommend your company to other people.

It’s the strongest form of advertising because people can influence other people easier, especially when family and friendly ties are involved. These other people can become new leads later on. But, to have these brand advocates, you must:

  • provide products of high quality;
  • have a social mission as a company;
  • be updated;
  • be cool and interesting at all time;
  • understand your target audience.

Overall ROI (Return on Investment)

The Return on Investment (ROI) rate reveals how much capital has returned to you, considering the capital that was invested in email marketing campaigns in this case.

To get the overall ROI, you have to consider the profit (the sales revenue of a marketing campaign subtracted from the investment) divided by the total invested, as explained below:

ROI = Sales Revenue – Investment / Investment

To boost your ROI, you have to manage your costs very carefully, trying to reduce them. You can also organize your email lists, in order to offer the right products and services to the right people, as well as try double sales and cross-sales simultaneously.

Finally, clean your email lists, because by removing invalid accounts from your database, you can reach the right audience more easily, spending fewer resources in the process. This way, you can boost your conversion and sales, hence, increasing your ROI.

Now that you learn all about email marketing metrics, learn also how to verify and validate email addresses to keep your domain and deliverability completely safe. SafetyMails can help your company have success in email marketing campaigns.

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