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6 super important email marketing metrics for beginners

New to email marketing?

If you’re completely new to email marketing and have been living under a rock for years, email marketing is a digital strategy where businesses send commercial messages to a group of people via email. It aims to build relationships, promote products, and drive sales.

As with anything we do in marketing, we want to collect and analyse data. So, in this article, we thought we’d wind it right back to basics and discuss some of the common and super important email marketing metrics that every marketer should know. Six of them to be exact.

Open rate 

Open rate is a crucial metric to measure the success of email marketing campaigns. It is a percentage that represents the ratio of the number of people who opened an email to the total number of recipients. 

The open rate plays a significant role in email marketing. It indicates the level of engagement and interest among recipients. A high open rate suggests that the subject line and sender name were compelling, and the email content was relevant to the recipients. On the other hand, a low open rate may indicate that the email went unnoticed or was considered uninteresting. 

It is important to differentiate between the unique open rate and the open rate. The unique open rate measures the number of individuals who opened an email, while the open rate includes all the opens, even if an individual opens the email multiple times. Therefore, it is possible for the open rate to exceed 100% if there are more opens than recipients. 

Several factors can affect the open rate, including the subject lines and sender name. A catchy subject line that piques curiosity or offers value can entice recipients to open the email. Additionally, using a personal name as the sender instead of a brand name can create a sense of trust and familiarity, increasing the likelihood of an open. 

In e-commerce, average open rates can vary. According to MailChimp, the average open rate in e-commerce is around 15%. However, it’s important to note that aiming for the average may not be sufficient. Successful email marketing strategies can achieve open rates of 25% to 30%, and exceptional campaigns can even reach 40% or more. Factors such as the quality of the email list, the relevance of the content, and effective targeting play a significant role in achieving higher open rates. 

Click rate

Click rate is an important email metric that measures the ratio of the number of link clicks to the number of recipients. It provides insights into the effectiveness of your email campaigns in generating engagement and driving traffic to your website. 

It’s important to differentiate between click rate and click-through rate. Click rate simply measures the number of clicks, while click-through rate compares the number of clicks to the number of opens. The click rate is generally lower than the click-through rate, as not all recipients who open an email will click on a link. 

If you want to increase your click rate, there are several tips you can follow: 

  • Create a stand-out call to action: Make sure your call to action is clear, compelling, and stands out in your email. Use contrasting colours, bold fonts, or buttons to attract attention; 
  • Ensure scannability: Most recipients will only spend a few seconds scanning your email. Break up your content into short paragraphs, use bullet points, and highlight important information to make it easy to read and understand; 
  • Use eye-catching email templates: Choose visually appealing email templates that grab attention and make your content more engaging. Consider using templates with vibrant colours, images, and dynamic elements. 

Successful email marketing campaigns can achieve click rates of 3% to 4% or even higher. By implementing effective strategies such as improving the quality of your email list, personalizing your content, and optimizing your calls to action, you can increase your click rate and drive more traffic to your website. 

Conversion rate 

Conversion rate is a crucial email metric that measures the percentage of recipients who take the desired action, such as making a purchase or completing a form, out of the total number of recipients. It is an important metric because it directly indicates the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy in driving conversions and generating revenue. 

Consistency of messaging throughout the email funnel is essential to optimize the conversion rate. From the subject line to the email content and the call to action on the website, the messaging should align and provide a clear and compelling value proposition to encourage recipients to take action. 

Aside: What is an email funnel?

An email funnel is a series of emails sent to leads or customers, guiding them through stages of engagement, from awareness to conversion.

Measuring and improving the conversion rate requires careful analysis of the entire email funnel. By tracking the performance of each email campaign, you can identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to optimize the conversion rate. A/B testing different subject lines, email design elements and call-to-action buttons can help determine what resonates best with your audience. 

Aside: What is A/B testing?

A/B testing compares two versions (A and B) of something, like a webpage or email, to determine which performs better in achieving a specific goal.

Key points to consider when measuring and improving conversion rate: 

  • Segmentation: Sending targeted emails to specific segments of your audience can increase the relevance of your messaging and improve the likelihood of conversion;
  • Personalisation: Tailoring your emails to individual recipients based on their preferences and behaviours can significantly impact conversion rates;
  • Optimized landing pages: Ensuring that the landing page the recipient lands on after clicking through from the email is optimized for conversion can greatly impact the overall conversion rate;
  • A clear and compelling call to action: The call to action in your email should be concise, visually appealing, and clearly communicate the desired action you want the recipient to take;
  • Mobile optimization: With the increasing use of mobile devices for email consumption, optimizing your emails for mobile devices is essential to maximize conversions. 

By regularly analysing and optimizing your email campaigns to improve the conversion rate, you can drive more revenue and achieve a higher return on investment from your email marketing efforts. 

Email marketing mind map

Unsubscribe rate 

The unsubscribe rate is an important metric to measure the health of your email marketing strategy. While some marketers may view high unsubscribe rates as a negative, it is actually a healthy process. Unsubscribes indicate that recipients are actively choosing to disengage from your email list because they no longer find it relevant or valuable. By allowing recipients to unsubscribe, you are maintaining a clean and engaged email list, ensuring that your future emails are being delivered to people who are genuinely interested in your content. 

Acceptable range for unsubscribe rate

An acceptable range for unsubscribe rate is typically around 0.5% to 1%. This means that out of every 100 recipients, only 1 person is unsubscribing. If your unsubscribe rate falls within this range, it indicates that your email list is healthy and you are providing valuable content to your subscribers. 

Signs of high unsubscribe rate and necessary actions

If your unsubscribe rate exceeds 1%, it may be a sign that there are issues with your email marketing strategy. High unsubscribe rates could be caused by factors such as irrelevant or too frequent emails, poor email design or content, or a lack of personalisation. If you notice a high unsubscribe rate, it is important to take necessary actions to address the issue. This could involve analysing your email content and making it more relevant to your audience, reducing the frequency of emails, or implementing personalization strategies to make your emails more tailored to individual recipients. 

Providing unsubscribe options in emails 

To facilitate the unsubscribe process, it is important to provide clear and easy-to-find unsubscribe options in your emails. Including an unsubscribe link or button in the footer of your emails allows recipients to easily opt-out if they no longer wish to receive your emails. By making the unsubscribe process straightforward and hassle-free, you are respecting the preferences of your subscribers and maintaining a positive relationship with them. 

Bounce rate 

Bounce rate is an important metric to measure the health of your email list and the deliverability of your emails. It represents the percentage of emails that were not successfully delivered to recipients’ inboxes. 

Explanation of bounce rate and its types: soft bounce and hard bounce 

There are two types of bounces: soft bounce and hard bounce. A soft bounce occurs when an email is temporarily rejected, usually due to a full inbox or a vacation auto-reply. A hard bounce, on the other hand, occurs when an email is permanently rejected because the email address does not exist or is invalid. 

Determining an acceptable bounce rate 

An acceptable bounce rate typically falls below 2%. This means that out of every 100 emails sent, only 2 should bounce. A higher bounce rate may indicate issues with your email list quality or the accuracy of the email addresses you are sending to. 

Implications of high bounce rate 

A high bounce rate can negatively impact your email deliverability and sender reputation. Email providers may interpret a high bounce rate as a sign of spammy behaviour and may filter your emails to the spam folder or block them entirely. Additionally, a high bounce rate can result in wasted resources and decreased engagement. 

Using email validation tools to improve bounce rate 

To improve your bounce rate, you can use an email validation tool. These tools help identify and remove invalid or non-existent email addresses from your list, ensuring that your emails are sent to valid recipients. By regularly cleaning and validating your email list, you can improve deliverability and reduce bounce rates. 

Inbox Rate 

When it comes to email marketing, understanding the significance of inbox rate is crucial. Inbox rate refers to the percentage of emails that successfully land in recipients’ inboxes, rather than being filtered into the spam folder or being blocked entirely. Achieving a high inbox rate is essential for ensuring that your emails are being seen and engaged with by your intended audience. 

Aim for high inbox rate and its impact on email deliverability 

A high inbox rate has a direct impact on email deliverability. Email providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, closely monitor inbox rates to determine the reputation of the sender and the quality of their emails. If your inbox rate is high, email providers are more likely to prioritise your emails and deliver them to recipients’ primary inboxes. On the other hand, if your inbox rate is low, your emails may be filtered into the spam folder or even blocked entirely, significantly reducing their visibility and effectiveness. 

Relevancy, segmentation, and timing 

Several factors influence inbox rate, including the relevancy of your messaging, segmentation of your audience, and the timing of your emails. 

Relevancy: Sending relevant emails that align with the interests and preferences of your recipients increases the chances of your emails landing in their inboxes. Personalising your content and tailoring it to individual recipients can significantly improve inbox rates. 

Segmentation: Segmenting your audience and sending targeted emails to specific groups allows you to deliver more relevant content. By sending emails to engaged recipients who regularly open and click on your emails, you signal to email providers that your emails are valuable and should be delivered to the inbox. 

Timing: The timing of your emails also plays a role in inbox rate. By sending emails at a time when recipients are most likely to check their inbox and engage with emails, you increase the chances of your emails being seen and delivered to the inbox. 

Achieving a high inbox rate 

To achieve a high inbox rate, it’s essential to focus on delivering relevant messaging, understanding your audience, and sending emails at the right time. Tailor your content to the interests and preferences of your recipients, use segmentation to target specific groups, and send emails at optimal times for maximum visibility. 

Regularly monitor and analyse your inbox rate to identify any issues or areas for improvement. If your inbox rate is lower than desired, consider adjusting your messaging, improving audience understanding, and refining your timing strategies. By prioritising inbox rate and implementing effective strategies, you can ensure that your emails are reaching the intended recipients and maximizing the success of your email marketing efforts. 

To wrap up

Understanding and monitoring key metrics like open rate, click rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate, and inbox rate is paramount in optimizing email marketing success. These metrics provide insights into audience engagement, content effectiveness, and list health, guiding strategic decisions for improved performance and ROI. So, if you’re getting started with email marketing, be sure to familiarise yourself with these six metrics and start to investigate whether they need work or not.

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