You may spend countless hours every week working hard to build your email list. But have you ever stopped to think about how your campaigns perform?
You can have the largest list in your space, but if your email marketing metrics aren’t performing as they should, you may have to rethink everything you do, from your list-building efforts to your campaigns.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, in this article, you’ll learn what email metrics you should track and how to improve them. Let’s get started.
What email marketing metrics should you track?
Before we talk about how you can improve your email marketing metrics, let’s define the metrics you should work on.
For most businesses, including online retailers, there are ten key crucial metrics to track:
- List growth rate, which measures the rate at which your email list grows
- Deliverability, which defines the number of emails that were delivered to the servers of your recipients’ email service providers
- Open rate, which indicates the number of people who opened your email from all of your recipients
- Click-through rate (CTR), which calculates the percentage of recipients who clicked on at least one link in your email
- Click-to-open rate (CTOR), which defines the percentage of link clicks from people who have opened your email
- Bounce rate, which measures the percentage of emails that weren’t delivered successfully
- Unsubscribe rate, which indicates the percentage of recipients who unsubscribed from your lists
- Spam rate, which measures how often your subscribers mark your emails as spam (known as a “spam complaint”)
- Conversion rate, which calculates the percentage of recipients who completed the desired action after clicking on an email link
- ROI, which defines the financial return of your investment in your email marketing efforts
To be clear, you don’t have to work on these ten metrics at once. You can even ignore some of them if you don’t think they’re relevant to your objectives.
You should still pick at least one metric you think is hurting your business and improve it by following one of the next five practices.
5 Best practices to improve your email marketing metrics
Grow your email list consistently
One common obsession marketers have regarding their email campaigns is their list growth. As I already said, when such a focus disregards other parts of email marketing as a channel, it’s not good.
With that said, you must ensure your list grows consistently. Simply put, the larger your list, the more revenue you should generate from it.
The solution to growing your email list steadily is to run list-building campaigns, such as:
- Offering discounts and coupons
- Running contests and giveaways
- Targeting exiting visitors with time-sensitive offers
- Handing out lead magnets, such as ebooks or checklists
The key to running a successful list building campaign lies in two things. First, offering something relevant and useful for your visitors. Second, promoting your offers using proven opt-in methods, such as email popups:
Your offers represent everything you give to your visitors to entice them to become subscribers. They are the core of your list-building campaigns. No matter what promotional method you use, the success of your campaigns hinges on your offers.
For an ecommerce store, some great list-building offers are:
- Access to exclusive perks
- First-purchase discounts
- Free shipping coupons
- Helpful information (like a buyer’s guide)
Whatever offers you use, you must make sure they fit your brand and the visitor’s current stage of their journey.
For example, a first-time coupon is ideal for brands with simple products and visitors with multiple visits but no purchases. On the other hand, a buyer’s guide is better suited for people who’re still not ready to buy an expensive or complex product (e.g., a gadget, or a health device).
As for the promotional methods, you can use a mix of:
- Banners and fixed opt-in forms
- Dynamic opt-in forms such as modal popups, floating bars, and slide-ins
- Organic social media posts
- Paid social media posts
If your offer is truly useful for your visitors, the methods you use will work well. However, our stats show that well-timed modal popups consistently deliver higher conversion rates than other opt-in formats.
Clean your list regularly
Growing an email list may be one of the top priorities for any ecommerce marketer, but when it comes to priorities, quality trumps quantity.
It’s much better to have 1,000 qualified, relevant subscribers who want to hear from your brand than 10,000 who barely know you.
Not only is a smaller, higher-quality list more profitable, but it’s also cheaper to manage and will give you fewer headaches.
When you email people who don’t like your brand, they may end up reporting you as spam. As a consequence, some of your crucial email marketing metrics – deliverability and open rates – will likely decrease. Your email address may even end up in a blacklist, which is a list of email addresses and domains known to send spam.
The solution? Cleaning your list of subscribers who don’t seem interested in your emails. That can be:
- Email addresses that bounce
- Subscribers who haven’t opened an email in over 90 days
- Subscribers who haven’t taken action, like clicking a link, in over 90 days
By cleaning your list, you’ll increase your deliverability and lower your bounce, unsubscribe, and spam rates. It may seem harsh, but removing subscribers works. Here’s how you can do that:
- Go to your ESP and access your subscribers list
- Create a filter to see only those subscribers who haven’t opened an email in at least 90 days
- Create a new list with these subscribers
You should consider sending a re-engagement campaign to this list, telling them that you’ll delete them from your database if they don’t open or reply to your emails. You can also tell them to unsubscribe willingly.
Once your campaign is over, you can delete those who didn’t reply, click, or unsubscribe.
Create the perfect first impression
Email is a time-scarce medium. You’ve got a few seconds to make your subscribers open, read, and click through your emails. Especially during the first few weeks after they’ve subscribed.
To create a great first impression fast, you must start with subject lines.
Everything you do with your emails will depend on whether they get opened or not.
And the subject line is the first element that will make them open your emails.
1. Optimize your subject line
Your subject line is the “implied promise” of your email — something the subscriber wants that makes them want to open it. This doesn’t have to be complicated — if you are doing a promotion, make it clear what it is about.
For example, ASKET says two product lines are back to promote the relaunch of a product line.
Since almost 60% of emails are opened on mobile, your subject line should be no longer than 50 characters or approximately five-words long.
Since your subject line implies a promise, your email content should fulfill it. Otherwise, your subscribers will feel as if they’ve been misled, ruining your brand and your open rates
2. Test different “From” names
Another way to make a great first impression is to test different “From” names. Usually overlooked, the “From” name can make your brand stand out, thus increasing your open rates.
For example, you could change your “From” name from a generic brand name to a personal one from one of the founders.
3. Make use of the preview text
The preview text is the text that shows up next or below a subject line and which gives more context to the email’s contents.
Think of the preview text as a support to the subject line. It should give some idea of what the email is about without saying exactly what it is.
The amount of preview text available will depend on the device, the “From” name, and the subject line. Generally speaking, you will get up to 90 characters of preview text. Thus, brevity is crucial.
Try to connect your preview text to your subject line, expanding on the promise and what the subscribers can expect to see in your email.
Make your email content relevant with segmentation and personalization
Another crucial email marketing metric to track is a click-through rate (CTR). There are many tricks and hacks to improve your CTR, but nothing beats relevance.
The more relevant your emails are, the better they will perform. After all, everybody wants to read an email that’s useful for them.
But how do you do this? By personalizing your content.
To do that, you must leverage your visitor and customer data.
You can personalize your email based on several attributes. From simplest to most advanced, you can use:
- Subscriber-provided information (the one they give you when they sign up)
- Demographics (e.g., age, gender, income)
- Interests (e.g., sports, travel)
- Buying intent
- Behavioral data (e.g., purchase history)
You can collect all of this information without much work. For example, if your visitors create an account or make a purchase, they may need to provide some information you can use in your campaigns.
Since you can collect an almost unlimited amount of data, you want to start by defining what you want to know about your visitors. Once you know that, collecting the data will be much easier.
As you collect the data, you want to segment your subscribers around any of the following four categories:
- Spending levels
- Product interests
- Buying patterns
For example, you can send emails based on age, gender, or location. For some brands, this alone can increase relevance greatly.
You could also segment based on the amount of money they spend, the products they have liked or bought, or their purchase frequency.
Lastly, you can use customer behaviors to create campaigns targeted to their actions. The goal is to target those behaviors that lead to a customer completing a purchase, such as:
- Abandoned carts: Based on someone leaving a product in their cart
- Loyal customers: Based on someone who buys regularly
- Profitable customers: Based on the average order value or profitability (ROI)
As you segment your campaigns based on any of the previous four attributes or any other behavior, your open rates, CTRs, and conversions will improve.
Maximize your conversions
Solid marketing strategies always trump hacks and tricks. But these can help maximize conversions when your strategy is already working.
What are these hacks and tricks we’re talking about?
1. Leverage urgency
Urgency highlights the scarcity of a given offer, whether a discount or a product’s stock, making the offer more valuable.
Two main ways to use urgency are by making your discounts:
- Time-sensitive, like those used during Black Friday
- Stock-sensitive, like those saying how much stock is left
Either of these two strategies works. What matters is that you leverage urgency whenever you can.
To highlight urgency even more, you can use a countdown timer.
2. Focus your emails on one offer
Another way to maximize your conversions is to focus your emails on one offer at a time.
Usually, brands send emails with multiple competing offers, products, and goals at once. For large brands, it may be hard not to do so. But for a smaller brand like yours, this may not work as well.
Instead of promoting multiple offers at once, you can save time and increase your CTR by making your emails about one offer.
Whether that’s a discount, a sale, a new product line, or anything else you may want to promote, your offer should be clear enough so that your subscribers can understand what it is and click through your site.
Source: Really good emails
Finally, make sure your emails look well on every email client (such as Thunderbird or Apple Mail) and device. It may seem overkill, but some clients or devices can break your email’s design and ruin its performance.
To overcome this issue, use a service like Litmus to guarantee your emails look well on every client and device.
A TL;DR summary to improve your ecommerce email marketing metrics
As you have seen, there are no magic tricks when it comes to improving your ecommerce email marketing metrics.
To see high open rates, CTRs, and conversions, you must start by building a list of engaged, interested subscribers.
Then, you want to segment your campaigns and personalize your content based on your subscribers’ demographics, buying patterns, and behaviors, among other things.
To give your campaigns an extra boost, you can leverage urgency and focus your emails on one offer at a time.
Simultaneously, you want to keep growing your email list by giving away something your subscribers may want, like discounts, extra perks, or useful content.
Improving the performance of your email marketing metrics may not be a quick fix. But if you follow the advice you saw here, your revenue and profits will grow in no time.
Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer for hire who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Getsitecontrol, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.
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