12 min read
“You should have an email list.”
It’s advice you’ve probably heard a million times. It’s become the motto for creators and online business owners alike. But aren’t there other ways to market your business?
Yes, and although social media is a great way to increase the visibility of your business, your email list will always be one of the few platforms you actually own.
If Instagram dissolved tomorrow (knock on wood this doesn’t happen any time soon!), you’d still have a direct line of communication to your audience. Your email subscribers are often your most engaged audience members, too.
Your email subscribers have given away their most valuable online possession (aka their email address) in exchange for educational resources and niche-specific advice. Even with new subscribers added to your list each week, how do you know if your email marketing analytics strategy is really working?
I know, I know. Most of us hear the word “metrics” and want to run the other way because numbers = scary. As a self-proclaimed creative, I felt the same way when I first used email marketing, but the only way to improve your strategy is to dig into the statistics.
Email metrics give you the unique opportunity to take action based on real data. Instead of having to guess if an email was well received, you have real numbers to show what worked and what didn’t. Email metrics can also show your audience’s level of interest in what you’re offering and a topic’s relevance.
Now that you’re convinced the numbers don’t lie, let’s cover the most important email marketing metrics you’ll want to add to your email analytics tool belt.
Not all metrics are created equal. When you begin email marketing, it can be easy to get caught up in the number of email subscribers you have, but this doesn’t tell the whole story.
The true success of your email list is in its ability to meet your goals. When your actions are aligned with your priorities, you’re able to focus on the metrics that matter most to your business.
Here are a few examples of email marketing goals to help you discover what you value:
Depending on your objective, you’ll be able to choose your email marketing metrics and tailor your data to help you reach your primary goal. Here’s an in-depth look into each email metric and what it can mean for your blog and business.
Your email deliverability rate refers to the percentage of emails that are actually delivered to your email subscriber’s inbox. It involves multiple factors that affect email delivery like bounces, spam issues, ISPs, and bulking.
One way to increase your email deliverability is by regularly cleaning your email list. In ConvertKit, you can do this simply by selecting Cold Subscribers and sending them a new Broadcast asking if they’re interested in staying on your list.
If yes, they can click a link to stay on your list while you delete the other Cold Subscribers. This whole process can be automated in ConvertKit through our Link Triggers and Automated Rules. We recommend doing this every 90 days to keep a clean list. That way you’re only paying for engaged subscribers who are regularly viewing and loving your content.
# of Emails Sent – # of Emails Bounced = Deliverability
At least 85%
Arguably one of the most important email metrics is your email open rate. This refers to the amount of email subscribers who click on your email to read in their inbox. This email metric will be especially important if your email marketing goal is to increase your customer engagement.
To increase your open rate, you may want to experiment with your subject lines. A subject line is the first thing a subscriber sees when your email is delivered to their email so it must pack a punch.
A great way to test the effectiveness of your subject line is through split testing. While it sounds like a fancy marketing term, “split testing” simply refers to the process of comparing different versions of marketing materials to one another through a small segment of your list.
We also have an A/B test option for subject lines in our platform. When you create a new Broadcast, you’ll see an “A/B” label to the right of the Subject Line field. When you click on “A/B”, you’ll have the option to customize two subject lines for your Broadcast. You can learn more about our split test email campaign option while you brainstorm ways to increase your open rates with attention-grabbing subject lines.
# of Emails Opened ÷ (# of Emails Sent- # of Bounced Emails = Email Open Rate
Once your subject line has enticed a subscriber to open your email, now it’s time to convince them to click the links in your email. This is known as your email click rate. Your click rate is especially important when your email’s goal is conversion.
Some emails are only meant to provide free, educational information. We believe these beginning emails without pitches are essential in building a relationship with your email subscribers. But after sending a few educational emails and gaining their trust, it’s time to introduce the big guns: soft and hard sales pitches.
Your click rate percentage will inform what your email conversion rate will be with any product or service launch.
Total # of Clicks OR Unique Clicks ÷ # of Delivered Emails X 100 = Click Rate
From the email click rate, we can then measure your email conversion rate based on how many subscribers who clicked your link followed through with purchasing your product or service. This is the metric we really care about if our goal is to make more money with your list.
To increase your email conversion rate, you can:
# of People who Completed the Desired Action ÷ # of Total Emails Delivered X 100 = Email Conversion Rate
Each industry, niche, product type, and business size will vary in average email conversion rates. Just keep looking to have a better rate than the month before.
Your email bounce rate refers to the percentage of emails that weren’t delivered to subscriber inboxes. Within your bounce rate, there are two distinctions between the type of email non-delivery.
Soft bounce rates take into account email addresses that are valid where the email successfully reached the recipient’s email server. However, the email wasn’t delivered to their inbox because of one of these following reasons:
Soft bounces usually involve short-term server issues so while it’s worth monitoring, you don’t need to remove the subscriber from your list quite yet.
Hard bounce rates are more to the point. Hard bounces happen when either the email address is invalid or doesn’t exist at all. These email addresses should be removed from your email list since you’re not able to reach this subscriber long-term.
Total # of Bounced Emails ÷ # of Emails Sent X 100 = Bounce Rate
5% or less
When an email subscriber decides they no longer want to receive your newsletters, they’ll hit the ‘unsubscribe’ link on the bottom of your email. This will then take them to a page to confirm they want to unsubscribe. Subscribers who remove themselves from your list will increase your email unsubscribe rate.
It’s important to note that unsubscribers are not always a bad thing. When you try to market your product or service to everyone, you end up attracting no one. It’s better to specifically create your content for your ideal client or buyer than anyone with a few dollars to spend.
While you don’t need to get too caught up in the numbers, it’s smart to look at your email unsubscribe rate with objectivity. Is it increasing, decreasing, or staying the same with each email? What may have caused it to go higher or lower?
# of Unsubscribers ÷ # of Delivered Emails X 100 = Unsubscribe Rate
Less than 3%
The return on investment, or ROI, of your email campaign comes down to a simple formula. Luckily, you don’t need to be a mathematician to calculate it. Here’s the ROI equation:
(Money earned from campaign – Money spent on campaign) ÷ (Money spent on campaign)
To figure out the first number, you must know your email conversion rate and how much revenue was generated from your email sequence. For the second number, you need to calculate the full spend of your email campaign.
Let’s say you sent a sales pitch email to a list of 1,000 people, leading 10 people to purchase your one-on-one coaching service (valued at $250). Your email conversion rate would be 1% while your total email revenue was $2,500. You also paid $29/month for your email service provider (which is our base fee at ConvertKit).
Also, if you had an employee or contractor write the email, you’d want to add that number to the money spent on the email campaign. In this example, you wrote the email yourself which took an hour of your time, which you bill coaching clients $50 for. We’re not including the amount of time you took to create your coaching service packages because it’s not specific to our email analytics.
Armed with the right numbers, we can now put them in our equation.
($2500 email revenue – [$50 for hour of your time + $29 for email service provider]) / [$50 for hour of your time + $29 for email service provider]
($2500 – $79) / $79
$2421 / $79 = approximately $30.64
This means that for every dollar you spend on your email marketing, you earned $30.64 through the conversion of your one-on-one coaching package. Those are the kind of numbers we like! Try this equation for your upcoming product or service launch or on past launches to see how new offerings compare.
Now you know how to calculate your ROI and understand your open rate vs. click rate, but where do you get these email analytics? There are two main tools you can use to check your email analytics. You may find that some of the statistics are already calculated for you.
Many metrics, like your open rate or click rate, can be accessed through your email marketing service provider. ConvertKit automatically calculates these metrics so you get the full picture of how your email marketing is performing.
For single email broadcasts, you’ll find the percentages for its open rate, click rate, number of clicks, and how many people unsubscribed.
In email sequences, you can see the amount of people who subscribed, unsubscribed, opened your emails, and clicked from the dashboard view.
The real “O.G.” tool for all things email metrics is, of course, Google Analytics. Not only can Google Analytics show your audience demographics, website traffic, and conversion rates, but it can also inform your email marketing.
To set up customized goals within Google Analytics for your upcoming email campaign, check out our Email Marketing with Google Analytics post.
It’s time to start tracking your numbers to make sure your emails are performing. Take some time this week to get familiar with the dashboard of your email marketing platform or set up Google Analytics for your next email campaign.
It might take a little time to see a trend in your statistics, but if you keep up with it, you’ll soon find where pieces are or aren’t working. And once you recognize those areas, you can test, execute, and improve from there!
We want to hear about your strategy in the comment section below. How are your email analytics helping you send better emails to your subscribers? We can’t wait to hear more about it.
Download this issue of Tradecraft as a PDF to read and reference at your own pace.