When many entrepreneurs begin sending emails for their business, it’s often their first time ever looking at analytics, let alone email analytics.
Unless you’re an email marketer, many times, email analytics and all of the data points that can be gleaned from an email campaign simply isn’t in the scope of your day-to-day business.
However, unlike some forms of marketing, email marketing is very measurable in its results and can have tell-all signs of a campaign and brand’s health, if you care to investigate and listen to what the numbers are saying.
Whether you’ve sent one email or 250 million emails, the core metrics are the same and can be very easy to master — no crazy pivot tables or excel spreadsheets required. Also, Super Office reports that most companies with fewer than 11 employees do not use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) to track your marketing efforts and customer interactions, meaning most one and two women startups don’t have the in-depth analytics that a full management system provides. Therefore, being able to accurately read your email analytics could be one of your most in-depth insights into the health of your marketing campaigns.
At the same time, you’re busy and learning an entirely new skill can be a daunting task. Luckily for you, there are a core of 6 email analytics that can tell you A LOT about your emails, your customers, and how you can optimize your customer journey.
The 6 Key Email Analytics Every Entrepreneur Should Know
1. Delivery Rate
The Equation: The number of emails sent – the number of emails that bounced / The number of emails sent = Delivery Rate
Why it Matters
- It can give insight into your lead quality
- It can tell you the likelihood that the language in a particular campaign is off
As an entrepreneur venturing into email marketing, there is one age-old truth about emails that you should know… If it doesn’t get delivered, it was a waste.
Your delivery rate tells you out of all of the emails you sent, this is the percentage that actually made it to the end destination.
Again, going back to the CRM dilemma, if you’re not investing in a CRM, your delivery rate might be able if your lead quality is poor. If your delivery rate is high, (HubSpot recommends a goal delivery rate of 95% or higher), then you’re in the green, lead quality is good and you don’t have any issues to fret over.
However, one major way that your email delivery rate can plummet is to have the number of hard bounces and soft bounces increase. If this is the case, your lead quality might be slipping, ie. you’re getting bogus email addresses and you should begin monitoring the email addresses coming in.
PRO TIP: If you’re lead quality is down, your email list can suffer. Internet Service Providers or ISPs (your Gmails, Hotmails, AOL, etc.) look for signs that a sender is no bueno before shoving you to a spam folder. If your list is ridden with fake email addresses that constantly ping the ISPs that you’re not delivering well, they may stop delivering you.
But, as HubSpot points out, poor delivery rates aren’t always due to the email lists themselves. If you have a specific email or specific set of emails that just can’t hit that 95% delivery rate goal, chances are that the content of the email is getting flagged by the ISPs. Therefore you’d see deliverability issues affecting certain email sends, rather than your whole list every time — this is also a very easy fix! 😉
The Equation:The number of people who open the email / the number of emails that were delivered = The open rate
Why it Matters
- It tells you if your message matters to the audience
- It tells you if your audience saw your actual message
As we said before, if you send and no one gets the email, then all efforts are wasted. Same can be said about an email campaign that no one sees, not because the email didn’t make it to their inbox, but because they saw the email and the subject line wasn’t enticing enough for them to open the message and read what you have to say.
Your open rate baseline should be around 20-30%, but this can be hard to obtain when first starting out. You know that saying that you cannot compare yourself to others all the time? In this area, it can be true.
You’ll want to monitor your audience’s open rate over time for word trends, structure trends, etc. for what you’re placing in the subject line and make it a race to beat your highest highs, rather than an industry average when you’re first starting off.
A low open rate could mean that what you said simply didn’t have teeth — it didn’t stand out in the flood of other subject lines in that person’s inbox. It could also mean that what your message was didn’t resonate with the reader or intrigue them to learn more. Lastly, it could be that you sent the email at a really bad time when no one was checking their email and your email was whisked away in the daily “inbox purge” as people try to quickly whittle away the number of emails in that little red bubble of their mail app.
Now, as we get into open rates and click rates, be careful that you distinguish the differences between the two.
When an open rate is low, alter the subject line. No one landing on your landing page can be associated with your open rate, but only if the open rate is low. High open rates, but no on on your landing page means poor email content, seen through your click-through rate (more on that in a minute).
There are a lot of theories on the formula for a perfect subject line. MailChimp suggests varied, short subject lines and emojis for the adventurous folks out there. At Max Your Sales, we’ve tested the gamut of subject lines and the truth is, the key is to be relevant, don’t give it all away and test, test and test again with each and every audience segment that you have. (For more on email subject line writing, check out this blog post.)
Click Through Rate
The Equation:The number of unique clicks / the number of unique opens = The Click Through Rate
Why it Matters
- our true offer or next step for the audience lies on the landing page , but they must click the links in the email to see it
- Critical messaging is intended to lead them to that email click and if that’s off, your entire campaign could be in danger
You’ll hear us say it time and time again, even if you’re not a writer or a full-fledged marketer, you can be extremely successful in marketing if you always remember to lead to the next step. In the email world, that call-to-action (CTA) click within your email body is that “next step” for the reader.
As far as email analytics go, having a low click through rate could mean that the message you’re portraying doesn’t make sense, does not have a clear path for the customer to follow or simply is not enticing. The real trouble here is that if the messaging in your email is off, chances are, the messaging on the entire campaign could be in trouble, which could be verified by the action rate on the campaign through other channels.
One of the most ridiculous reasons why an email has a horrible click through rate could be the number of CTAs. It’s crazy how many times an email is sent that takes 3 or 4 scrolls and the only CTA is way down at the bottom of the email. This is silly. My email rule of thumb: Have a fully-linked CTA wherever it makes sense. Always have multiple CTAs and always link your images.
Sometimes, getting people to act on your message is as easy as giving them convenient opportunities to. And, don’t forget that Marketing Sherpa research shows that most people only spend 15-20 seconds reading an email. The amount of time you have to convince a reader to click through to their next step is very, very short. Make sure that the moment they have enough information to take action, they have the opportunity to do so.
Landing Page Conversion
The Equation: The number of clicks on the landing page / the number of impressions or eyeballs on the landing page = The landing page conversion
Why it Matters
- Your landing page and email are a team. They cannot be thought of one without the other.
This is sometimes the easiest email marketing data point that people miss. They look at the delivery rate, the email open rate, the email click rate or click through rate and then they stop. But, that’s only a small part of the email marketing battle.
The rest of the battle is either won or lost on the actual landing page itself. If you send the best email in the world — the email that everyone opens and clicks on — it makes ZERO difference if the landing page conversion rate is zero.
Although this is a much larger discussion, one that we teach about in the Email Lead Machine Course (special discount through this link), know this: if the messaging in your email is on point and your click through rate on the email is high, but people do not click on the landing page to convert with whatever “next step” you’d like them to take, then what you promised might not have been what you delivered. Make sure that your messaging is cohesive.
Secondly, if your landing page isn’t converting, but your email seemed to be, then see if the next step on the landing page is clear enough. Sometimes, the more beautiful the page, then the more complex the page. The more complex the page, then the more difficult it could be to get them to convert simply because we were not clear as to how they could convert.
The Equation: The number of undeliverable emails / the number of emails sent = The bounce rate
Why it Matters
- Undelivered emails are wasted emails
- High bounce rates can tell the ISPs to stop delivering what you send
Email marketing is not without its list of definitions and chances are that you’ve heard of hard and soft bounces at one point or another. A hard bounce is an email that couldn’t be delivered, usually because the email address is bogus. This goes back to the delivery rate where we were talking about poor lead quality that could hurt your overall rates.
The soft bounces are a bit different though. A soft bounce is when the email wasn’t delivered, but it’s only a temporary situation — for now (psst… that’s key here).
“Soft bounces can occur when the recipient’s mailbox is full; the receiving server is down or swamped with messages; the message size is too large; the recipient’s settings do not allow for email from the sender; suspicious or spammy content has been detected, and many more reasons.”
The quick and dirty:
Hard bounces say clean your list.
- Soft bounces mean segment your list and check your copy.
You don’t want the bogus email addresses negatively pinging your sending IP’s reputation on you as a sender. If the ISPs think that your IP is S-P-amming, they’ll stop delivering for you and tank your delivery rate.
If you’re getting a lot of soft bounces, you might run into the same issue with the ISPs not thinking that they should trust you to send messages to their client’s precious inboxes, but based upon the client’s actions, not necessarily yours.
If you have a lot of soft bounces, check your ESP (email service provider) to see if a lot of those soft bounced email addresses haven’t opened in a while and lost interest. If the soft bounce rates are not similar across campaigns and you see one campaign over another spiking in the soft bounce category, check your content. This could mean that your content has been flagged as potential spam or reported as spam by your subscribers, another hit that could affect your deliverability across the board if not checked.
Opt Out Rate
The Equation. The number of email subscribers who unsubscribed / the number of emails sent = The opt out rate
Why it Matters
- High opt out rates mean that your content is not seen as useful
- High opt out rates can affect your deliverability
Crazy how email goes full circle on this concept of deliverability. Soon, you’ll be as obsessive about your delivery rates as you are about your invoices getting paid — trust us. When you see how much of a money making machine your email marketing can become, you’ll want to protect that deliverability rate like it’s your first born.
Opt outs are the reject button. They are your email subscribers saying, “thanks but no thanks. I’ve had enough.”
Now, they can say this for many reasons.
- You haven’t provided enough value lately so they don’t see a point in receiving communication from you.
- They hated what they read and were turned off from ever wanting to hear from you again.
Either way, they’re telling you that you have lost the ability to convert them via email which is a huge blow. On top of that, too many comments like that and the ISPs will listen and start to question whether they should deliver your emails to their clients since your reputation around town is less than sparkly.
With this said, have you ever heard of opt out campaigns?
It’s really a thing.
You see your delivery rate sinking, maybe because of a poorly thought-out marketing campaign that inflated your sign ups or because your soft bounce rates started to rise. So, you decide that you need to get these email subscribers off of the list so that you don’t lose the ability to send to the people who might actually convert. Therefore, you send an opt out campaign that says, hey there, I only have so much room on my highly-coveted email list. I see you haven’t been opening. If you don’t want to receive emails from me, no hard feelings, simply opt out so that I can give your spot to someone on the wait list.
What does this do? It reminds them that what you offer is super important, maybe sparking their interest in opening your emails again, where they can then convert. BINGO!
Or, they opt out and stop hurting your deliverability. Also a score!
Email Analytics Aren’t Difficult
The truth is, understanding how to calculate email analytics is not difficult. The difficulty and skill comes in when you analyze the analytics and start to think about email optimization — the tests you want to run in order to see more results out of each and every send.