Even though it seems like there is a new Marketing Channel available almost every day, I’m devising my smart fridge strategy as we speak, email marketing when done right, is still one of the most profitable acquisition and lead retention channels available. To clarify, by “done right” I mean permission based email marketing with content that is personalized, relevant, timely and highly optimized. If you do not have a great email program like this then you are certainly leaving tremendous value on the table.
So how can you craft a slammin’ email channel driving mucho value to your stakeholders? The answer is actually quite mundane. To do so you just need to have the right set of metrics to analyze your email marketing channel and optimize that thing to stardom. This set of metrics is going to be called your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and should be very closely tied to your organization’s primary business goals. In fact they will be a direct measure of how well you are achieving those goals.
Now, let’s talk data. When choosing KPIs that help measure your business goals it is important that you follow these three rules: keep them very simple, produce them very timely and make sure they are instantly useful. The important thing here is make it so that people can view your KPIs and quickly understand what they mean and then take action on them immediately. This is so important because in today’s world we all need to act fast!
There are three categories of data you will be analyzing when it comes to optimizing your email marketing channel. The first is Engagement, the second is Behavior and the third is Outcome. When creating your KPIs you need to always be thinking about these three things Engagement, Behavior, Outcome.
- Engagement is a category that encompasses email campaign metrics and how emails are resonating with the target list. It measures things such as how many emails were sent, to whom did we send them and what was the result. Here are some great KPIs that help me measure my business goal of driving deeper engagement within my list:
- Delivery rate - (# of emails - bounce backs)/ (# of emails) – measures the quality of your lead list.
- Open Rate – (# opened/# emails delivered) – represents the success of your from field and subject line.
- Subscriber Retention Rate - (# subscribers - # bounces - # unsubscribes)/# subscribers) - measures how well you are targeting your database and if you are delighting them.
- Click to delivery rate - # of clicks/# of emails delivered - helps you understand the mailing list quality and email content relevance.
- Behavior is a measure of what happens after the viewer clicks a link on the email. What do they do on my site, how well they engage, and do they buy? Here are some great KPIs to measure my business goals of deeper engagement on my website, elevated content consumption, and an increase in Sales Qualified Leads :
- Bounce Rate – (# of clicks to the website with a single page view / # visits) –a great measure of the alignment between email and landing page.
- Depth of visit. – (% of email campaign visits that last longer than xx pages) – especially important for non-ecommerce.
- Actions completed – (% of visits that took the call to action on the landing page)
- Outcome is a measure of the goals, conversions, and revenue you drove through your email channel. Tracking all of these conversions and attributing it back to your email programs is critically important. Here is my list of outcome KPIs that measure my business goal of increasing total revenue:
- Macro conversion rate – (Revenue producing conversions / Visits) – How successful are you at targeting your audience with the right message at the right time.
- Ave revenue per email sent – (Total revenue / # of emails sent) - Use this to measure how clean your list is.
- Profitability = (Rev generated - cost - cost of goods sold) / # emails sent) – The holy grail of KPIs
One last thing to note is that there is no one size fits all when it comes to email KPIs, you must be willing to experiment with your campaigns and how you analyze them and change your approach accordingly. Nor is it always possible to track all of these metrics all the time. I find that choosing one from each group may be sufficient. For example, if I wanted to keep it simple I would choose Click to Delivery Rate for Engagement, Bounce Rate for Behavior and Profitability for Outcome as my top three and go from there.