The Five Email Marketing Metrics You Need to Start Tracking

Published on June 3, 2016

When it comes to email marketing, there are all sorts of ways to help bolster your success, from designing a great, visually appealing newsletter to making sure your unique content is optimized for mobile.

But wait, aren’t we ignoring one pretty big question? When it comes to email marketing, what exactly does success mean? And just how are we measuring it?

As marketers, we encourage our brands to move into email marketing to achieve all sorts of ends, including cultivating an engaged subscriber base, generating new leads, and converting existing leads into customers. And it’s all but impossible to track these goals if we’re only looking at open rates or subscriber numbers.

It’s time to think more critically about your email marketing. To start really accomplishing your target goals, here are the five email marketing metrics you need to start considering now:

1.) Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Monitoring clickthrough – the percentage of users who click over to your site via one or more links in your email – allows you to gauge the success of an individual email, and to monitor performance trends over time.

For email marketers, CTR is an extremely important metric: It’s the easiest way to track engagement, to see just what content your readers are interested in and what is enticing them to pursue more information on your site.

Doing the Math: Divide total/unique clicks by your number of delivered emails, then multiply that number by 100. Need a benchmark? This great blog post over at Hubspot details some fascinating specifics on median click rate, particularly in terms of how it compares across companies of different sizes.

2.) Bounce Rate

There are two kinds of bounces that you may see in your email marketing: soft bounces and hard bounces. Soft bounces occur for any number of reasons - the recipient’s inbox might be full or the email might be too large for delivery. Generally, an email client like Mailchimp will try to redeliver an email if it returns as a soft bounce. In contrast, a hard bounce comes back as a “hard and fast” rejection, most likely because the address is closed, non-existent, or invalid for some other reason.

Why keep track of your bounces? They can have a direct impact on your email’s reputation with internet service providers: The more your emails bounce, the more likely they are to be read as spam by a webmail provider. Delete hard bounces immediately to help ensure your emails continue to be delivered the way you want them.

Doing the Math: Divide your total number of bounces by your total number of delivered emails, then multiply the quotient by 100.

3.) Conversion Rate

Your conversion rate refers to the percentage of your email recipients who not only click through to your landing page from your email, but who also fulfill an action that you set as a goal, like purchasing your product or completing a form.

In order to set this up, you’ll need to integrate your web analytics and your email platform. Use unique tracking URLs (also known as UTMs) in your email links to help you identify the source of the click.

Doing the Math: Take the number of people who completed the desired action after coming through email, then divide it by the total number of emails delivered. Multiply that number by 100, and that will be your conversion rate.

4.) Sharing/Forwarding Rate

If you care about expanding the reach of your email marketing and gaining new subscribers (and you should!), then keeping tabs on who shares your email with their contacts or on social media is incredibly important.

To help promote sharing, add a little bit of community-oriented language into the contents of your newsletter, or attach social sharing buttons to make passing along your content even easier. This also gives you keen insight into your ideal users; knowing what gets shared the most is a great way of determining just what it is your audience wants to read.

Doing the Math: Once you’ve set up a social share bar, use it to gather your data. Take the number of forwards/clicks on the “share” button and divide it by your number of delivered emails, then multiply the quotient by 100 to get your percentage.

5.) List Growth/Decay Rate

Looking purely at your subscriber rate can be a useful tool, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

For instance, did you know that your email marketing subscriber base undergoes a natural decay of about 22.5% every year, according to Hubspot? And that periodically culling your email list of seemingly unengaged subscribers is a great way to prevent your marketing from becoming “graymail” – that is, sent, delivered, and totally neglected?  

Of course, no one wants their unsubscribe rates to outpace their list growth. Keeping tabs on your list is a great way to tell if your email marketing is continuing to grow and reach new audiences.

Doing the Math: First, subtract your number of unubscribers from your number of new subscribers. Then divide this number by the total number of email addresses on your list. Finally, multiply the quotient by 100 to determine the percentage of your growth rate.  

Need a little bit of help crunching the numbers on your content marketing? Ready to start a fresh email marketing campaign this year? That’s where we come in! Our team has the experience and the know-how to help take your brand to the next level. Drop Geek a line for all of your digital marketing, design, and reputation management needs today!

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