Good ecommerce merchants know that email campaigns built around opt-in lists are an effective way to reach potential customers. But more than 18 percent of email marketers in the U.S. either don’t or cannot measure the return on investment for their email campaigns, according to a new survey.
Some 82 percent of U.S. marketers surveyed are measuring the performance of their email campaigns, according to an eMarketer article, which uses data from eROI, an email marketing agency. This is a very good statistic. Unfortunately, it also means that nearly 20 percent of marketers are not measuring their campaigns, and these marketers are missing the opportunity to optimize their email campaigns.
If you find yourself and your online store in the latter category, there is hope. If 82 percent of folks have figured out how to measure the effectiveness of their email campaigns, so can you.
Six Items to Measure
To boost website traffic and sales conversions from your email campaigns, there are at least six things that we’ll want to measure.
- How many emails did you send? This might sound obvious, but when I saw it on a list of basic things every email campaign should track in an eROI paper, I thought “yeah.” It is the basic metric that we will use to calculate open rates, bounces and clicks. So, know how many emails you send.
- Measure your open rate. Let’s face it, the vast majority of email newsletters, circulars, and coupons that an ecommerce merchant sends out go directly into a junk mail folder or are just deleted before the recipient notices the preview pane. Knowing what percentage of your emails was opened (and perhaps read), can help you fine tune things like list rental or development, subject line copy, or even personalization. Boost your open rates and more web traffic will follow.
- Monitor bounce rates. Could your email addresses be bad, or is it your domain? Measuring bounces, or the number of emails returned without being delivered, can help identify issues with your list or even your email service. For example, if you have a high bounce rate, it could be that email filters at ISPs have identified your emails as spam. It could also be you’re not validating/confirming email addresses (the “double opt-in” method) when a customer signs up for your newsletters or alert services. It could also be (horror of horrors) that your domain has been blacklisted.
- What percentage of recipients clicked on an offer or link? If all you wanted was for a mail recipient to open your email, we could have been done at the last step, but you really want to convert email recipients into website visitors. So track your email campaign’s click-through rate. Use this data to improve your campaign’s call to action, test personalization, or even compare coupon offers. Do more folks, for example, click on a free offer than a 50-percent off deal? Why or why not?
- Follow customer engagement and click behavior. You’ll probably need a more advanced email service or some form of integration with your web analytics software for this one, but try to measure customer engagement. When the customer hits your campaign’s landing page, what happens? How long does he stay on the page? How often does he convert? And how many would-be customers click through to other pages on your site? This data is vital and can provide insights that have impact well beyond just email campaigns. As an example, I know of a pet insurance company that used a landing page for its email and pay-per-click-advertising campaigns. The goal of the page was to capture registrations and get permission to send a free quote. But the company found that most visitors were using the site’s global navigation to look for price quotes without registering. In a bold move, it took all of the navigation off of the landing page, and more than tripled the number of conversions. If the company had not been tracking visitor engagement and behavior, it would have not been able to improve.
- Track conversions. Finally, know just how many sales your email campaigns generate. This bit of information can help you make good decisions about where to invest your advertising and marketing funds. And don’t just measure immediate conversions. If a customer comes to the site directly, compare that customer’s email address to recent campaigns. You may find that your email marketing has a branding effect too.