The Four (Other) KPIs to Track in Email Marketing

Previously, we covered arguably the single most important metric to track when beginning your email marketing campaign: customer lifetime value. Today, we’re going to expand on that idea with four more sets of KPIs to stay aware of to gauge your email’s engagement.

Getting them to sign up for your list is the first (and possibly easiest part); now it’s time to keep them on the hook as you push them deeper into your sales funnel via consistent email attempts. But first, a little context. Most internet marketing funnels are designed with three specific goals in mind:

  1. Multiple purchases at higher pricing tiers
  2. Creating an environment that retains customers, and thus preventing churn
  3. Persuade continual content viewing and interaction

Depending on the email marketing platform you use, the kinds of built-in analytic collection can vary, although, for the most part, all of them will give you what you need. Some will even be able to provide in-depth breakdowns including real-time device and location tracking as well.

Let’s delve into these uber-important metrics, shall we?

KPIs to Track: Open Rate

Your open rate is the percentage of unique opens divided by the total number of emails accepted. While this may vary, many email clients must display HTML with images before it counts.

Benchmarks:

  • 20% for bulk emails (e.g. autoresponder and special broadcast emails)
  • 35% for emails containing transactional elements (e.g. receipts sent after an online purchase)
  • If you’re seeing lower than 2 of 5 emails sent being open, it’s likely time to either find another way to engage them or do some list hygiene

KPIs to Track: Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click through rates come from the number of times a link within a message is clicked, divided by the number of emails accepted. In many cases, you’ll see this number represented in two ways: total and unique click-throughs. The primary stats shows every click, including repeats. Unique click-throughs only count the individual clicking.

It’s not a bad idea to view this stat per email as well as across campaigns to get a deeper insight on how everything is performing on a macro and micro level. It is important to note that both CTR and CTO are estimated at best as there’s no verifiable way (yet) to know how many people physically looked at your email.

Benchmarks:

  • 3% for bulk emails (e.g. autoresponder and special broadcast emails)
  • 6% for emails containing transactional elements (e.g. receipts sent after an online purchase)
  • Getting high CTR comes from the crux of creating the type of content your list wants to see and how engaged the people of your list are

KPIs to Track: Click-to-Open Rate (CTO)

The number of times a link is clicked divided by confirmed unique opens. These are typically higher than click through rates on average. CTO is notable also because it is one of the best ways you have to measure the effectiveness of your content.  

Benchmarks:

  • 25% for bulk emails (e.g. autoresponder and special broadcast emails)
  • 40% for emails containing transactional elements (e.g. receipts sent after an online purchase)
  • Getting better results in CTO can actually mean a lot more than getting a high number of click throughs because this percentage is an active accounting to the level of interaction your list is having. If, in your testing, you find something that works in correlation to boosting this number, do more of it!

Recommended Read: Learning Facebook’s Audience Insights for Proper Targeting 

KPIs to Track: Unsubscribe Rate

Naturally, your unsubscribe rate is the number of people that have decided—for whatever reason—to leave your list. It used to be the wild west before the CAN-SPAM act came into play. It sucks to see people jumping ship, but even in that you can learn as most email marketing providers give the user the opportunity to give a reason for unsubbing. Make it a point to go through these frequently and make improvements wherever you can.

Benchmarks:

  • 0.4% for bulk emails (e.g. autoresponder and special broadcast emails)
  • 0.25% for emails containing transactional elements (e.g. receipts sent after an online purchase)
  • Many email marketing platforms adhere to very strict list hygiene methods and will close your account with repeated high complaint levels (the industry-wide limit is typically 0.4% – 0.5%. Prune your list if your service doesn’t do so automatically.

Understanding the right KPIs to track is essential to cultivating and growing your list. From CLV to CTR to CTO, the alphabet soup can be confusing for first-timers. Pinpointing problems becomes easy when you have the right knowledge.

Question(s) of the day: What tips would you recommend a newbie use to better improve their email conversions? Let us know in the comments below!

  • a couple of years ago

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