Everyone who has a stake in the world of email marketing loves to talk about the “power” of reaching out to customers in their inbox – but where are the hard facts backing this up? If this is your first go round with tailoring messages toward a specific audience, there’s plenty of stats, known as key performance indicators (KPIs), that can help you sift through all this talk and find out what’s really working and what might need a little bit of tweaking before the next email campaign. Instead of wasting your time listing off dozens of KPIs that may or may not have some bearing on how you gauge success, here are the five crucial stats that not only apply to any email marketing initiative, but also do the best job showing off exactly how well things are going once your messages hit the audiences inbox.
First on the list is the gross sales stat. While it might seem pretty obvious, there are few performance indicators that make it easier on you when you need a quick and simple method for figuring out what’s working and what’s not. The whole process for evaluation goes a little something like this; email campaign starts and sales go up, then you’re doing something right. If sales stay the same or dip, it’s time to bring things back to the drawing board and retool your plan. Naturally, this is cutting out a ton of variables – changes in the industry, new product releases, etc. – that can shift sales one way or the other, but it’s a great indicator to start the evaluation and lends itself well toward digging into the more specific measurements.
Another KPI that takes a look at the big picture is site traffic. Like the name implies, this one’s all about taking note of visits to your site from repeat customers and new shoppers alike. While most companies just glance over the totals for this site metric, doing so could cause you to miss out on some highly valuable info every time you don’t spend more than a few seconds looking into this stat.
Understanding the nature of the visit helps you break down performance by going beyond the plain old “good” and “bad” labels. Instead, looking into how many new or unique visits come in, or how often repeat visits occur with known customers, helps explain your sites traffic in terms of what segments you do well with and what segments might need a little extra attention. Depending on your products and services, looking beyond the surface of this KPI can really give you the insight needed to knock the customers’ socks off with your next set of emails.
Going a little deeper, click rates can help you sort traffic into different groups via the source – who’s coming in from your emails, from social media, Google search pages, etc. – in addition to frequency and the type of visit.
With this information in hand, you can determine if a link was compelling enough to warrant a click, and if users are responding to certain landing pages more than others. On top of all this, by having the raw numbers in hand and comparing them with the metrics from your other outreach avenues, you can really gauge exactly where your emails stand in your entire marketing initiative.
Stepping away from KPIs that are mostly used to show how good things are going with your emails, here’s one that can help uncover a big problem that might be undermining all of your hard work – bounced messages. Companies that experience high bounce rates are dealing with a contact list that’s full of incorrect or deactivated email accounts, both of which lead to undeliverable or “bounced” messages. If you’re working with a marketer or software that has the right tools, simply setting up your system to automatically ditch these duds as soon as they bounce will go a long way to clean up your list and more importantly increase your ROI.
The final KPI that should be an essential part of your next email marketing evaluation pulls a little bit of inspiration from some of the others on our list. The churn rate of an email marketing campaign keeps track of the number of people who decide to opt-out of your contact list. Obviously, in a perfect world you wouldn’t see any; however, it’s just part of the marketing process, so turning a blind eye to it can only hurt your options moving forward. Instead, staying aware of your unsubscribes, as well as how they stack up to new and sustained contacts, can give you a great overview of where your outreach stands – especially when you pair it up with the other leading KPIs found on this list.