In this article, we’ll cover some of the most important metrics for email marketers to be aware of as they develop campaigns in 2021 and beyond. Over time, optimizing for these metrics will help you generate more interest in your emails and products.
Open rate is an easy metric to measure—simply divide the number of opens by the total number of sent messages. If you send a total of 500 emails, for example, 200 opens would represent an overall open rate of 40 percent.
The average open rate usually falls between 15 and 25 percent, but this can also vary dramatically between industries. A low open rate can negatively impact your credibility as a sender and eventually cut into your brand’s email deliverability.
Improving your open rate can be surprisingly tricky since users can’t see much information before opening the message. First, start with your sender name—if your emails currently display as coming from your brand, for example, consider adding the first name of someone from your email marketing team. This small adjustment will give your messages a more personal touch.
Subject lines are another critical element that impacts your open rate. Try to avoid overly sales-focused language that may be perceived as spam—this includes common sales tactics like using all caps or generic phrases such as “BUY NOW.”
If you’re having trouble with subject lines, try a subject line tester, or take some time to run A/B tests with some of your top ideas. A/B tests will give you the chance to compare results with different subject lines and see which ones resonate with your audience. There’s no substitute for hard data when it comes to optimizing your emails.
As mentioned above, a poor open rate can hurt your deliverability—but it can also be affected by a number of other factors. Deliverability represents the percentage of your messages that arrive in the recipient’s inbox. If 20% of your emails are picked up by spam filters, for example, you could be missing out on a significant source of traffic and sales.
The simplest way to improve your email deliverability is simply to improve your email marketing performance in general. Email clients will look at your metrics to determine whether you’re a reliable sender or whether your messages belong in the spam folder.
With that in mind, spam complaints are one of the worst outcomes you can receive as an email sender. Reducing your spam rate will have a dramatic effect on your reputation as a sender as well as performance on virtually every email marketing metric.
Make sure to periodically clean up your email list and remove any inactive subscribers. These users are essentially dead weight on your contact list, pulling down your performance without offering any tangible benefits. After one last re-engagement attempt, simply take them off your list, so you can focus on subscribers who are still interested in your content.
Another straightforward tactic involves giving your subscribers more control over the content they receive. For example, you might let them decide whether they want to receive emails once or twice per week, or you could allow them to opt in to specific types of messages. With those controls available, users who are dissatisfied are more likely to adjust their settings rather than unsubscribing entirely.
In short, your click-through rate represents how often email recipients click on the links included in your messages. If you’re running a sale, for example, the click-through rate might tell you how many users went to your site to look at the discounted products.
Regardless of the subject of an email, make sure to provide clear calls to action to encourage recipients to take the target action. The call to action should be visually conspicuous so that it stands out from the rest of the elements in your email.
In the end, the success of your email marketing campaigns depends on how many actions you’re able to generate. The conversion rate measures the percentage of email recipients who go on to complete a purchase or other target action.
The difference between click-through rate and conversion rate comes down to whether the user actually followed through with the action. If they simply visit your site, look at products, and leave without buying anything, they’ll be counted as a click-through but not a conversion. If you’re having trouble getting leads to take that last step, you’ll need to look for weaknesses on your website that could be pushing them away.
One key benefit of marketing data is that you can quickly identify weak links in your sales funnel. Consider that a user needs to see your message in their inbox, open the email, click through to your site, and finally complete the conversion. Users getting stuck at any point in that process will have a negative effect on your bottom line. With that in mind, a low conversion rate could stem from problems with your website as well as bottlenecks at other points in the sales cycle.
Again, A/B testing is an invaluable tool for all of the metrics mentioned on this list. You can run A/B tests in your email content as well as on your website, and you can also test a wide range of elements from subject lines and sender names to product images and calls to action.
Email marketers have access to a vast library of marketing metrics, and leveraging those numbers effectively will help you make crucial optimizations in future campaigns. By tracking, testing, and optimizing based on your email marketing metrics, you’ll be able to fine tune your campaigns to get the best results. These are just four of the most important metrics for marketers to keep an eye on when developing email marketing campaigns in 2021.