Email marketing, despite the often outrageously promotional content it involves, is still a viable marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes.
Capable of transforming any business into an institution that has its fingers on a customer’s pulse – not to mention higher customer loyalty rates, increased average order value, and increased return on investment – email marketing allows for a more personal touch in your company’s dealings with clients than traditional advertising can provide.
Like any other marketing tool, though, an email marketing campaign has its own set of rules that need to be followed to maximize its potential – or you might find yourself faced with low open rates, subscribers who don’t click on your links or unsubscribe from your emails before you know it.
After all, if there is one thing we all hate to see early on a Monday morning are those morning digest emails; loaded with nothing but empty promo material.
Fortunately, as a marketer or as an established business, you can combat these disappointing figures by tracking some crucial email marketing KPIs (key performance indicators). And though they might sound super-technical at first, don’t let their intimidating term fool you!
Email Marketing KPIs
- Open Rates
- Click-Through Rates
- Unsubscribe Rates
- Bounce Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Email Shares
- Spam Score
- Revenue Per Email Subscriber
- Inbox Rate
- List Growth
- Subscriber Lifetime Value
- Click To Open Rate
These email marketing KPIs are easy to spot when used correctly and will help you build a better-performing, personalized and effective campaign through a combination of measurement and analytics.
To show how straightforward these metrics really are and how they can help you transform your business, here are 14 valuable email marketing KPIs every savvy marketer should keep track of for their campaign’s success.
Email KPIs – Email Marketing Campaigns
Email Deliverability Rate
You have spent countless hours perfecting your email’s body, subject line and design to woo new subscribers for a marketing campaign, but to what extent is it working?
The answer lies in your email deliverability rate- one of the most crucial email marketing KPIs, which tells you how many of those personalized messages you so lovingly crafted are actually reaching your customers’ inboxes instead of their spam folders.
To obtain an accurate deliverability score, all you need to do is send out a small sample size of emails that contains tracking or verification code and then keep track of how many recipients mark them as spam or get sent straight into their trash folder due to missing header information.
Alternatively, if you’re using MailChimp, AWEBER, ConstantContact – a few of the most commonly used email-marketing platforms – as part of your business strategy for they will track these stats for you automatically!
Now, if you are experiencing extremely low figures, you will want to evaluate several technical aspects of your email marketing campaign.
From engagement metrics to IP blacklisting and even ISP reputation (being on blacklists can cause major issues when sending emails), there are plenty of reasons why your emails might be ending up in someone’s trash.
In some cases, one remedy may be enough to fix all those pesky issues, while in others, you may need to go through multiple improvements before hitting gold with deliverability rates.
It’s recommended that you utilize, a new or business purpose email address and utilize an established email marketing platform to decrease delivery risks.
Email Open Rates
You’ve heard it before, but the money is on the list, right? So you want to know how engaged your list is with all those emails you’re sending them!
And the email marketing KPIs that will tell you if they are even opening your messages at all is none other than open email rates.
These percentages reveal what percentage of recipients have opened a certain number of emails over a specific period of time and are usually broken down into daily or monthly views.
The higher these percentages, the more attention your subscribers are paying to what you send them and, just as importantly – which parts they are most interested in!
That way, you can focus your future marketing campaigns on segments that resonated well with previous subscribers.
According to ActiveCampaign, the average email open rate across industries is 22.8%.
So, if you are seeing anything below that percentage, you might want to go back and ask yourself questions such as Do my emails look good?
Are people getting enough value from my newsletters? Would an image be better than text for one of my CTA’s? Etc.
If your content looks great, then instead, take a look at subject lines for possible reasons why people might not feel compelled to click through.
In other words, no matter how perfect your content is (assuming it’s good), if you don’t get their attention, nothing else matters!
To get even deeper insights to check out when subscribers are opening your emails, i.e., morning? Evening? Lunch break? Weekends?
These times tell you where potential weak points lie within your overall funnel because once you identify where some leaky spots exist, you can use different approaches in order to plug up that hole, so all incoming traffic gets directed towards desired landing pages like never before!
Finally, make sure to track when unsubscribes occur so that follow-up autoresponders and timely responses can both be initiated as soon as things start going south.
Email Click-Through Rates – Email Marketing KPI’s
Okay, so your customers read your message, but then what do they do?!
If their goal was simply to open and skim through their email, then our job here is done for today; however, for those looking for something more actionable and measurable from every marketing campaign, there’s an alternative key performance indicator called click-through rate (CTR).
This stat reveals how many clicks out of every hundred received were made by potential buyers coming from each specific communication delivered.
So why is knowing CTRs crucial?
Well, when you are publishing your own emails, you’ll be able to see which headlines and CTAs resonate most with consumers in order to improve future email campaigns based on their preferences.
On top of that, if you’re selling a product or service online, that also means you can find out which URLs sent people directly into the checkout as well!
So essentially, using these metrics tells us where we are leading prospects during each stage of the conversion funnel and, moreover – where our business efforts might be falling short in terms of full customer satisfaction post-sale!
For example, let’s say over 10% of your subscribers clicked through to learn more about one particular product during your last quarterly newsletter.
The next time around, it would make sense to include either another call-to-action button or a text link pointing them back at whatever portion of the site they may have gotten stuck on last time!
The bottom line here is click tracking can reveal valuable insights into exactly where certain members of the audience get stuck within your digital experience.
And since website traffic usually correlates strongly with dollars spent later down the road for companies like yours, now you know exactly who wants to make a purchase at any given moment!
There’s a fine line between self-care and self-destruction, right?
And well, it’s pretty much that same with your email marketing campaigns! After all, you need a consistent flow of leads and sales in order to grow your business, but at what point is too much really enough?
When used correctly, these rates give you a clear picture of how healthy your list is.
For example, if users are leaving just as fast as they’re coming in, you might be over sending emails which can be detrimental to both your brand and engagement levels; instead, try using scheduled autoresponders or adjust based on current month activities (for example – slow season versus busy season).
So not only do high unsubscribe rates hurt future conversions (since there are fewer potential buyers!), but they also make future lists look bad from an engagement perspective (or lack thereof).
Unusually high unsubscription rate demands for immediate assessment of your current strategies, so go ahead and A/B test subject lines, offers, content updates etc., until you get back on track to achieving better results in overall campaign performance and see an increase in your bottom line.
Email Bounce Rate
How good is the email deliverability of your email marketing campaigns? If you’re not sure, check out your bounce rate; it should be less than 0.7%.
A high bounce rate can indicate a number of problems, including over sending and having unsubscribed email addresses on your list (which needs to be removed immediately!).
You’ll want an average or even low bounce rate as high percentages can mean potential customers are receiving errors from undeliverable emails or, worse – not receiving them at all!
Whatever you do, don’t send emails to invalid email addresses or, even worse – lists that contain already unsubscribed users because it will only result in a waste of resources like money and time!
To avoid poor deliverability, make sure you’re using a reliable email marketing service with up-to-date data quality and contact list maintenance tools.
Keep personal information about subscribers private, too! Avoid engaging in any activities which would diminish trust, such as buying their address lists or targeting people on a non-opt-in basis (even if they have given permission).
As well, avoid improper use of landing pages for those interested in subscribing by forcing them to sign up instead with fields other than email to get content they expect through proper channels.
In order to track success within each email sent, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with conversion rates as well!
Each click-through may or may not be a successful sale, so knowing exactly how many out of each 100 get converted can help us optimize future communication based on how many will follow through and make it all worthwhile for your small business owner!
The better we understand which type of subscribers are most likely to buy our product, service, newsletter, etc., we are able to deliver more content that speaks directly in line with their interests during future campaigns.
Depending on who they signed up initially (aka opted-in) because they were looking to gain knowledge and find guidance around a specific topic, right?
Or maybe they signed up immediately because they have an immediate need/desire for something/someone like you?
Based on what kind of customer these folks maybe should determine how often we try to contact them throughout different phases of relationship development, e.g., if possible, gain first touch opportunity vs if possible gain second touch opportunity.
If after every email someone unsubscribes, we must also take into consideration what is causing them to leave (aka leaving vs unsubscribing).
Is it personal preference? Or perhaps they no longer have an interest in receiving emails from businesses offering similar products/services like yours?
And finally, is there room for improvement in terms of what messages are being received by some segments that don’t currently seem responsive at all?
You really want to zero in on people who aren’t converting because once you identify why individuals aren’t taking desired actions with your marketing campaigns, it’s easier to ensure everyone else will engage given the right context, i.e., reworded calls-to-action focusing on primary benefit(s).
To summarize, before proceeding any further, check out conversion rate KPI over time, i.e., average leads generated per month via email as % of total subscribers list size; think about whether they’re growing month over month and even though larger absolute numbers don’t necessarily mean higher quality leads – just better overall bottom line profits!
Rate of Email Shares or Email Forwarding Rate
The next email marketing metric on our list is your email forwarding rate (EFFR).
This number tells you how many times out of every hundred received, your message was forwarded on to someone else with no action taken!
In other words, it’s a stat that reveals how many people are reacting to your marketing efforts by sharing them with their friends and contacts! EFFR is a slightly different metric from click-through rate since often recipients will forward messages they might not even want others to know they’ve been receiving in the first place!
Obviously, when we forward an email to another person, most likely it’s because we want others in our network (whether they be personal or professional) to also get something out of reading it too!
It’s a form of word-of-mouth marketing at its finest and usually means you’re onto something good if so much viral activity is going on around whatever information/product/service you’re offering via your content.
With regards to why knowing these numbers matters, well, if consumers aren’t forwarding what they receive, it could mean they simply don’t like what they’re getting – but if instead there’s lots of activity occurring around it, then you’ll know for sure there are some real fans connecting with what you do!
Maybe future emails should include more compelling offers?
Or maybe there needs to be more emphasis put on scarcity tactics used within landing pages or CTAs?
The only way to find out is once again collecting data points such as all those mentioned above!
Perhaps the most dreaded of all email marketing metrics is spam score (SS).
This crucial email marketing KPIs gauges how many consumers have classified a message you’ve sent in your email campaign as spam!
So why exactly would anyone actually bother flagging a message in such a way?
Well, it’s usually because they didn’t have time to read it right away or because your marketing messages just seem irrelevant to them!
For example, maybe they are in the middle of dinner with family when they receive an email asking them to sign up for deal alerts and can’t take action on it at that moment?
Maybe they’re vacationing and won’t be back online for days, so now isn’t a good time to register for whatever program you were pitching in the first place? Or maybe they simply opened an email thinking it was something else entirely?
The reason these actions occur can vary widely, but often it has nothing to do with consumer choices but rather yours and/or your team’s marketing efforts!
If recipients don’t like what you send out, SPAM will be their classification regardless of whether or not you think it makes sense given what you’re offering – which means constant monitoring and
refinement of campaigns is essential if survival within today’s marketplace is one that interests you!
This email marketing metric itself measures how many times messages get flagged as spam by users – 0% SS indicates excellent deliverability while any number above 4% should trigger some form of investigation from your end since there are likely things being done wrong somewhere along the line.
Revenue Per Email Subscriber
Just like it sounds, what is your average revenue per email subscriber?
Are these individuals profitable for your business (meaning you’re generating more in overall profits than you are spending/wasting on acquiring new subscribers)?
If they aren’t – how many do you need to acquire at a given time in order to break even on whatever costs or expenses you incur as part of each acquisition process?
Hopefully, you understand that not all sales are good sales, and thus, you don’t want to invest too much in acquiring users who won’t ultimately provide financial gain as customers.
What metrics should be used to measure customer LTV?
Well, ideally, long-term profitability would be based on some weighted combination of an individual’s past value and future projected value, i.e., their current ROI plus expected long-term lifetime purchase volume going forward!
Unfortunately, as small businesses, we likely lack meaningful data/insights with regard to predicting accurately which newly acquired customers will actually keep buying from us again and again into perpetuity.
To summarize, though, here, before proceeding any further, check out the total # of emails sent since founding multiplied by the average conversion rate divided by emails list size at the end of last month = monthly revenue generated via email marketing campaigns!
Then determine whether the number remaining positive will continue to generate positive profit margins well into the foreseeable future.
If not, then run numerous scenarios using different techniques designed to boost existing product awareness/promotion through social media, paid advertisements online and offline etc., until needed positive changes can be verified with actual results thanks to additional testing.
Otherwise, if revenue per email subscriber is trending upward, then job well done! Keep up the great work, and hope for continued success.
Inbox Placement Rate
How many emails sent out by your marketing team actually end up getting delivered to targeted recipients’ inboxes vs spam or junk mail folders?
Why might some campaigns see higher or lower deliverability rates than others?
Does it make sense to try a different email provider or use an extra filter to ensure all future messages get through without delays?
What’s one thing you can do right now that will help boost open rates and engagement time with targeted customers across emails distributed in the coming weeks and months?
Again, before proceeding, just go over last month’s analytics reports from your email service provider and ask yourself what numbers need improving at minimum, i.e., what specific metrics would you like to improve based off results obtained thus far versus those achieved for corresponding periods during previous years/quarters/months, etc.?
Also, as much as possible, be sure to test each individual variation, i.e., only changing a single variable versus several of them at once while running split A/B tests :)!
What is your return on investment, or ROI?
This metric measures how many customers made an order from a campaign divided by the total number of emails sent out!
Is it high or low?
Does it compare favourably to ROI for other marketing efforts used to acquire new clients, like social media marketing campaigns?
Are our average order values via email somehow similar or different from those generated through offline ads like Google AdWords and Facebook advertising?
If certain emails have higher conversion rates, which ones do, and why do you think that is true, i.e., what’s different about them as opposed to others where conversion rates are lower (or even negative)?
How can you replicate these successes with other emails moving forward in order to boost overall business profit margins over time?
In other words, if certain types of offers generate $4 worth of additional sales revenue per email recipient, then instead of sending 10x emails, just send 4x more each week, so end up sending 50% fewer but get more revenue per month in sales volume via online orders placed directly online at eCommerce site/platforms instead. Win-win situation 🙂
List Growth Rate
How many new email subscribers did you acquire last month?
Divide that figure by the end of last month’s total # of email subscribers, and you’ll get a list growth rate (expressed as a percentage).
Ideally, your list growth rate should be trending upward on an annual basis – although it can fluctuate up and down slightly during any given year depending on various external factors such as seasonal changes in overall market demand, one-time holiday/promotion/launch campaigns, etc. So long as your number is increasing, then all is well!
If not, though, it may be time to consider new approaches for boosting product awareness via social media advertising, paid search ads online or offline, etc.
Remember too that if the cost per email acquisition exceeds $1, i.e., more money was spent acquiring new customers than was generated from them as revenue, then results aren’t truly profitable; unless there are other benefits associated with increased exposure/brand recognition/customer loyalty, etc.
Subscriber Lifetime Value
How much are you earning per email subscriber?
In order to answer that question, we can divide monthly revenue by average monthly email subscribers, giving us an idea of what our customers are worth each month, i.e., how many sales do they make for us each month on average?
If most of your customers (or at least a sizable percentage) aren’t also repeat buyers, then we need to do more work analyzing why and how we can change that trend!
The good news is, once we figure out why so few repeat purchases are being made, there are numerous ways in which we can work around those bottlenecks, i.e., advertise or otherwise boost awareness of our existing products/services and ensure higher than normal conversion rates in order to drive repeat purchase rates up!
Otherwise, if lots of our customers tend to purchase from us multiple times, then job well done! Keep up the great work and hope for continued success 🙂 – Remember, though, that some users may have purchased multiple times with short time periods between each respective transaction, whereas others have been loyal since day one.
Click-to-Open Rate (CTOR)
How many emails out of 100 actually get opened? If your click to open rate is under 50%, then you have some work to do 🙂
Generally speaking, if a recipient opens an email, they’re more likely to click on a link or make a purchase than someone who does not open said email.
In other words, we could either be wasting our time sending out more emails that nobody will open, or we can send less but improve CTR in order to ensure customers don’t miss any relevant marketing messages in the future.
This would allow us to focus on specific audiences rather than just shooting from the hip as we try and find new users interested in our products/services through advertising efforts! Yay for granular audience targeting! It saves money and helps with A/B testing 🙂
In conclusion, if you want to make a name for yourself as an email marketer, you will need to constantly monitor these metrics and fine-tune your campaigns based on what you’re learning!
You’ll also want to dig into other email marketing metrics such as click-through rate or bounce rate so as to maximize response rates and reduce unsubscribes!