How to Analyze Your Email Marketing Efforts
Even in a world of ever-expanding channels of communication, email marketing remains an effective way to reach your contacts and guide them through the customer journey.
However, as with any marketing channel, there needs to be some strategic thought that goes into how you’ll execute a meaningful email marketing approach. And part of developing that strategy is analyzing your efforts and using those results to inform future decisions.
Here are the steps you should take to better understand and refine email marketing efforts for yourself or on behalf of your clients.
Start By Setting Goals
You can only analyze how well you’ve done if you’ve established how you’ll define success. These goals may be specific to a particular email marketing campaign, or they might be broader and reflective of where you or your client’s business is in their lifecycle.
For example, if you create an email campaign centered around a client’s new product that’s launching next month, your specific goal for the campaign might be “generate X number of orders for the new product.” Whatever the goal is, it should be specific and measurable.
If you’re just launching a business, then the goal of your marketing emails might be to build exposure and trust for the brand and to grow the mailing list. But again, these goals should be concrete, so frame it as “grow our mailing list by X percent.”
Once you’ve established goals for your email list or campaign and you begin the process of emailing your subscribers, then you can begin to gather measurable data.
Track the KPIs that Matter
There are some KPIs that matter when it comes to analyzing success, while others are truly just vanity metrics. These are the numbers that will give you real insight into the success of your efforts, in addition to your tracking of the specific number associated with your campaign goal.
Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the number of people who clicked on at least one link within a given email. CTR is great because it gives you a sense of engagement with the content—readers will only click links if what they’re reading in the body of the email is compelling.
CTR can also help if you choose to run A/B tests with your content. When you’re sending different segments of your list variations on the same email, differing CTRs for the several versions of the email will allow you to hone in on the specific elements that are working and the ones that can be eliminated.
You can then take things a step further by measuring conversion rate. This is the number of people who followed through on completing the desired action after clicking on the initial link in the email. So, if the link said “Forward this to a friend” and then they completed the form, provided you with their friend’s email, and hit “Submit,” then that’s a conversion.
Conversion rate is even more closely tied in with your goal-setting than CTR. If you notice a sizable gap between the number of people who click on the link and those who followed through with the desired action, that’s meaningful information for you.
It may indicate that something in your messaging is preventing them from fully trusting the brand. If you can identify the element that inspires an immediate click but then causes readers to cool their jets before completing the action, you can refine your approach and get your conversion rate up.
List Growth Rate
Rather than worrying about each unsubscribe, it’s better to take a look at the bigger picture. List growth rate accounts for the number of new subscribers minus the number who’ve left your list. People unsubscribe for all sorts of reasons, and in fact, them leaving your list isn’t always a bad thing. Those who unsubscribe themselves help you to achieve a higher clickthrough rate and stay in good standing with ISPs.
The number that really matters is list growth rate. This gives you a sense of the health of your list (and how readers view the usefulness of your content), and if you’re losing a few subscribers along the way but gaining many more, you know you’re doing something right.
Email Marketing ROI
To calculate the ROI of your email marketing efforts, you subtract the cost of creating your campaigns from the amount of revenue generated as a result of the campaign. This is a great number to track in just about any situation, as it gives you a crystal clear view of whether or not your efforts are paying off. If you’re spending more on any marketing effort than you’re getting back in return, that’s a surefire sign to reevaluate your approach.
This KPI is particularly valuable if you’re managing email marketing on a client’s behalf. Proving to them that they’re making a lot more money on your marketing efforts than what they’re spending on them is a concrete way to prove your value.
Compare Goals to Reality
Once you’ve set a goal, run your campaign, and collected the data, it’s time to see how things stacked up. Did you grow your list by the desired percentage? Did you sell the number of units of the new product you were hoping to sell?
Whatever the goal was, you’ll want to see if you achieved it or not (and how far you missed it by, if you didn’t get there). The next step is to take a look at the why. This is something you should do regardless of where you landed. If you smashed your goal out of the park, you’ll want to analyze what elements of the campaign were successful so that you can attempt to replicate them in future marketing efforts. If you fell way short of your goal, you’ll want to see what messaging seemed to miss the mark so that you can improve upon it for next time.
This is why measuring those KPIs in addition to a campaign-specific goal are important. If you miss the campaign-specific goal, go to the generic KPIs. Maybe you’ll notice a low CTR, and realize that it was the messaging within the body of the email that didn’t resonate with readers. If the issue is with list growth rate, it might be a sign that the campaign you attempted didn’t really speak to the core needs of your clients, and so they began to unsubscribe in noteworthy numbers.
Email is still a great way to reach prospects and customers alike with relevant, compelling marketing messages. When you take the time to generate a smart approach and measure the results against pre-set goals, you better understand the outcome of your current campaign. Not only that, you also set yourself up to build even more thoughtful campaigns in the future that are informed by your learnings here and now.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Email Marketing.