The best thing about email marketing is, in some respects, its very worst factor. You were, no doubt, excited at the prospect of lots and lots of data from the returns of a campaign. Then it cascaded in and you had no idea what to do with it all.
Understanding what the various terms mean is the easy bit; getting useful information is what’s difficult. Let’s take open rates. An email might well be opened without a notification. If the receiver fails to view the images and doesn’t click on anything in the email, it will show as not being opened.
You might think that an open rate that does not show how many emails were opened is all but useless. You should compare it to previous email marketing campaigns. It will show a trend. If the figure steadily increases then you are getting better.
The click-through rate is largely similar in that it is a basically a measure of improvement over time. The information allows you to improve over time and that means an increase in return on investment (RoI). Make a change, even a subtle one, and if the figures increase, you have proof you’re doing something right.
Your RoI comes via completions, and you will think that’s the important factor. You are right, of course, but without open and click-through rates indicating when you are improving, there’s little chance of increasing profits.
A conversion is when a subscriber completes the purpose of the marketing email. This would include downloading a free pdf, sign-up to a course or to actually purchase something. It is the target of course, but the reasons for the conversions may be more difficult to identify without interpreting the returns.
The data is not only vital for showing whether a particular email marketing campaign was successful with regards to completion, it is the basis for working out your return on investment. With a simple spreadsheet, one where all variations are included, you can calculate a precise figure for each acquisition.
Other metrics include the unsubscribe rate, always depressing, the bounce rate, something you can do little about, and the sign-up rate to your email marketing list. You are now drowning in data and have no idea what to address first.
If you are new to email marketing then there’s lots of advice out there on what to do to increase a specific metric, but at the moment, all you want to do is keep your head above water. This shows your natural instinct is spot on. Where many companies fail is in chasing too many goals, at least in the early stages. The need to make a profit is the one to go for.
Knowing how much each conversion costs is the first step. The next requirement is to use the returns to reduce this figure, be it by selling more, charging more, or reducing wasted effort.
Don’t forget, the sole purpose of the deluge of data is to increase your return on investment. Initially, pick the useful bits. The rest are for later.