The Value of Analytics: Knowing Your Key Performance Indicators

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

The Value of Analytics: Knowing Your Key Performance Indicators

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Analytics are an integral part of any marketing campaign, digital, print, or otherwise. In order to be successful in email marketing, you must understand your audience, and to understand your audience, you must understand your data. And how do you obtain said data? By measuring your email marketing campaigns! Wait . . .

It might seem like we’re going in circles here and that’s largely because we are! The marketing process is a cycle in which one thing relies on another, particularly once you’ve got a solid handle on optimisation and analytics. The process allows you to learn from past campaigns in order to improve upon new ones. While results may not be anything to boast about in the beginning, one notable goal across all campaigns is growth. A growing subscriber list, an increase in click-rate, and higher conversions all imply campaign success.

 

Go For It

While it’s true that you have to start somewhere, the first step (generally speaking) is to just go for it. Of course you will want to plan, edit, review, fine-tune, and perfect your first email before you send it, but if you’re just starting out, you may not have any data to guide you. While web analytics may prove useful in producing your first campaign, a compendium of email insights will streamline the production process. Until then, use what data and knowledge you have available to conceive and produce engaging content for your clientele. 

 

An All-Inclusive Array of Utilities

Nearly all email service providers offer analytics included at no cost. That means once you start email marketing, you will have the initial tools freely at your disposal. One email and you’re off! Okay, it isn’t quite that simple. You will need a second email to compare with the first one. And a third email after that, and so on. 

While you can use a complementary analytics program, some may choose to splurge on something more comprehensive. Don’t feel pressured to pay crazy fees just to view your data. Unless you are a multinational corporation or you are researching something excessively specific, it is very unlikely that you will need to email pay for analytics. But whether you choose a free or paid service, once you start measuring, you’re ready to go!

 

The Key to Successful Marketing

Certain metrics called KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are considered essential to marketing analytics. Any campaign (digital or otherwise), any website, tv show, or product that is delivered to consumers has specific KPIs used to measure success. In many cases, specifically product marketing, product sales themselves are a common KPI. Comparing overall sales growth this year to last, for example, might give you an idea whether your advertising is working. It’s valuable information, useful to any retailer.

Email marketing is no different. There are main KPIs you want to look at, no matter where you are in your marketing journey. Check out the list below for an informative look at common, crucial, and unexpectedly consequential performance measurements.

 

Key Performance Indicators 

Open Rate: The percentage of individual emails opened.

Why is it important? ‘Cause you want people to open your emails of course! When someone opens your email, it might indicate a legitimate open; an action taken out of genuine interest from your subscriber. On the other hand, the open may be a mistake. Or perhaps they simply wanted to remove the unread email notification. 

That being said, if a subscriber does open your email, it is a (potential) indication that you’re on the right track. For example, subscribers may be opening your emails because of the sender name (ie. you or your business), which they correlate with your reputation or the relationship you’ve built with them. Or perhaps your subject line was so interesting, they couldn’t help but open! Either way, a high Open Rate is the desired outcome.

Clickthrough Rate: The percentage of individual subscribers that open links in the body of an email. 

This measurement is the simplest way to track the success of an email, given its basis on subscriber interaction. Unlike Open Rate, which only indicates whether or not an email was opened, CTR tracks user engagement. 

As noted in the above definition, anyone might open your email, but if they aren’t engaging with it, the open may be irrelevant. Again, it could be a mistake or the act of marking an email as “read”. Or perhaps they really read your email all the way through, but couldn’t find anything of interest. If they’re clicking though, that indicates that your content is compelling and ultimately reaching the right people.

Click-To-Open Rate: The percentage of emails that are both opened and clicked-through.

This metric measures the rate at which subscribers both open and click links and CTAs in your email body. A high CTOR illustrates the success of both the subject line and content of an email. 

If subscribers open your email, but don’t click the links? Either the open was a mistake, the content didn’t resonate, or the offers and CTAs did not appeal to your subscribers. And if your Clickthrough Rate is high but your Open Rate is low? It’s likely that your subject line did not land.

Conversion Rate: The percentage of subscribers that follow through on an email’s Call-To-Action.

One of the fundamental purposes of email marketing is converting leads. A lead is any individual that has the potential to become a future customer or client. Whether you are marketing a product for purchase or providing subscribers with a How-To Guide, the action of clicking your CTA, and subsequently following through with your request, increases your Conversion Rate.

Tracking your Conversion Rate is absolutely vital, as it directly informs you whether or not your subscribers are engaging and interacting with your emails. Additionally, noting which CTAs convert will inform you which offers and content most appeal to your audience. 

Bounce Rate: The percentage of emails that cannot be delivered.

If your emails are bouncing, they aren’t being delivered. And if emails aren’t being delivered? Something is wrong! A bounce, in email marketing, is when an email has been sent but not delivered, due to one of a number of different circumstances. These circumstances fall under two categories: Soft and Hard.

A Soft Bounce means that the email is temporarily undeliverable, generally due to a full inbox or server issues. A Hard Bounce means that the subscriber email does not exist. This may indicate that an email is out-of-service, misspelled, or fake. As internet users (as a whole) change, create, and close email addresses so often, keeping your list up-to-date is imperative. In fact, subscriber lists degrade annually by over 22.5% on average. It is essential that you remove these bounced addresses from your subscriber list. Otherwise, they can affect Deliverability.

Deliverability: A score out of 100 that rates the value of an email based on a sender’s reputation.

While it may just seem like another term for Bounce Rate, since both metrics measure whether or not emails are delivered, it is actually something different altogether, albeit, not separate. As noted above, a high Bounce Rate indicates that emails are not being successfully delivered. Internet Service Providers monitor email behaviour and track bounces. A higher Bounce Rate docks you points, lowering your reputation, which may send your emails directly to a subscriber’s junk mail folder.

Other tracked factors that might lower your score? Irrelevant content, poor grammar and spelling, fake or pushy sales, inbox inundation, and anything else that resembles email spam. And of course, emails that are intentionally marked as spam by recipients (see below) have a huge impact on your Deliverability rating.

Subscriber List Growth Rate: The percentage by which your subscriber list grows over time.

While it is a self-explanatory definition, this metric is integral to long-term marketing research, measuring your overall success over a specific period of time. Essentially, you want your list to grow continuously, but it’s a matter of quality over quantity. A large list seems great, but a bunch of bounced emails and fake addresses won’t lead to any conversions. 

List Growth isn’t a straight line either. While an increase reflects positively on you and your content, external factors like time or location ought to be taken into consideration. For example, a personal trainer may see a large increase in subscribers in January due to New Year’s fitness resolutions, while in March that list may dwindle (once we realise that we’d rather eat crisps on the couch than hit the gym). In this case, your numbers may drop, but even a negative change in rate allows you to observe user behaviour and engagement. In turn? You have a better understanding of your audience.

Unsubscribe Rate: The percentage of individual subscribers that have ceased their subscription.

This metric is key, as it is the biggest indicator that something is wrong. If people are actively unsubscribing from your list, especially all at once, it is imperative to discover the cause. Is it poorly written content? Useless offers and irrelevant information? Excessive email blasts? Or perhaps you said something controversial or negative that struck a chord with your audience. 

Whatever the reason, unsubscribes are unavoidable. Knowing you audience, optimising your content, testing email performance, and reviewing your data will help you maintain subscribers and increase List Growth.

Spam Complaint Rate: The percentage of spam complaints received, per email.

Ideally, you want your Spam Complaint Rate to be zero. While that is possible, it definitely isn’t probable. There will always be someone that finds your once-a-week emails just too much, or forgets they signed up, only to be shocked when their inbox is speckled with a plethora of online shopping promos. 

That being said, if you’re finding that complaints are up, it’s worth investigating. Did you promise readers one thing, then provide something unrelated? Did you offer something free, only to charge down the line? Or have you added addresses to your list without express permission? Don’t forget: That is illegal! And while you might not end up in jail, it is considered bad practice and can get you blacklisted.

The best way to avoid complaints? Transparency. Give subscribers what they expect, on top of what they want.

 

Ready To Start?

While the list above isn’t comprehensive, it puts the “key” in Key Performance Indicator. Tracking these metrics is of benefit to any business, large or small. And when the necessary tools are provided (read: free!), why wouldn’t you? Get tracking!

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A mini guide to email marketing

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

A mini guide to email marketing

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Let’s Start Off with the Basics

 

There are so many amazing how-to and reference guides on email marketing. Whether you’re just starting out or simply need some clarification, having that kind of resource is invaluable! These guides are extensive, which is a positive in the long run, but what if you just want the basics? Sometimes you just want a quick bite-sized answer to your question. 

 

This mini-guide will provide you with all the basics of email marketing, in a short-form format for easy digestion. And if you’re looking for a full how-to? Well have I got some great resources for you!



Parts Of The Email

 

Email marketing has a formula. With personal mail you can do as you like; send a block of text, fill your content with emojis, or forget the sub-topics line. In marketing however, every email you send is made up of absolutely integral parts, specially curated to appeal to your audience and convert readers into leads.

 

So what makes up a marketing email? We might know what a subject line is, but why is it important? What the heck is a lead magnet? Check out the index below for a full rundown of key email components, from top to bottom.

 

Sender Name

 

The name or pseudonym of the sender of an email.

 

Pretty self-explanatory. This is the name people see in their inbox when they receive an email. Often a senders first name, it can include individuals or groups (businesses, associations, clubs, etc.). While it may not seem as important as the content itself, choosing the right Sender Name makes a difference.

 

Using your companies full name has its benefits as it clearly states who you are and confirms your credibility. On the other hand, sending emails from the desk of a real person within your organisation provides a personal touch and an authenticity that appeals to some audiences. A/B testing (see below) will allow you to find which method best represents you and your business.

 

Subject Line

 

Text describing the contents of an email. Often shortened in your inbox preview to save space.

 

This is the first point of reference regarding the content of an email. Aside from the sender, the subject line is the first thing people look for when judging the value of an email. And judgement can happen in a split-second, so it’s integral to optimize your subject line.

 

It should be clear in its purpose. That means no clickbait or dishonest marketing. While a bit of mystery in a subject line has its place, promising an audience one thing and directing them to another is frowned upon.

 

Your subject line should also be captivating. While it is only a preview of the content, it should compel people to open and read your email. This can be tricky, as you only have so much space. Try for something that is punchy and concise, but be sure it gets the message across.

 

Tip: When appropriate, personalise your subject line with each subscriber’s name to boost open rates.

 

Lead

 

A potential customer or client who has subscribed to your email list.

 

When someone subscribes to your email list, it is the beginning of a relationship, with equal give and take. You provide information, offers, and other desirable content (Lead Magnets) in exchange for their prospective patronage.

 

Lead Magnet

 

A marketing tool in which you supply subscribers desirable content in exchange for their contact information. 

 

It isn’t as nefarious as it sounds! It’s part of the relationship you’re building. Your readers subscribed to your list for a reason, and you are giving them content they expect, paired with the offer of something they may want. It isn’t pushy or demanding; it’s up to the reader to decide if they are interested. 

 

Whatever you offer, it should be true to you, your business, and your brand. Don’t try to push something that isn’t related to the products and services you offer. Make it relevant to your readers. Provide something they can use; something that offers a solution or improves their life. And don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you offer something, and you don’t deliver – well that’s just poor practice!

 

An example of effective lead magnets:

  • Ebooks
  • Guides
  • Resource Lists
  • Videos
  • Workbooks
  • Checklists
  • Templates

 

Check out Christina Perricone’s ultimate email marketing guide and Kevin McGrath’s comprehensive lead magnet list for a more in-depth look at various lead magnets.

 

Body Copy

 

The main content of an email. 

 

Engaging copy is key to any email marketing campaign. The body of your email should convey your message or offer clearly and succinctly. It is integral that your content is relevant and enticing. If your readers don’t find it interesting, they may unsubscribe.

 

Images

 

The visual content of an email. 

 

Again, pretty self-explanatory. Choosing exciting, eye-catching images is to your benefit, but make sure they are relevant to the written content. If you have an offer or want to promote a product, choose photos of the products specifically. 

 

Very important: only use photos you own or have the rights to. And be sure to give credit! Even if the content isn’t being published on your site, if you use it, follow the regulations. That way, everyone wins!

 

Call-To-Action

 

An appeal of engagement from your readers.

 

Essentially, it’s a small bit of text paired with a button, link, or form that asks readers to take the next step in the relationship. It can be something as simple as a subscribe button. You are requesting action on their part in exchange for something valuable. The action might be anything from visiting your website, to downloading your ebook, to signing up for a course. 

 

What you offer in exchange can vary greatly. It could be valuable information, exclusive membership, a free trial, or a discount on products or services, just to name a few. 

 

For an fun list of effective CTAs, check out this extensive selection compiled by Brittany Leaning.

 

Unsubscribe 

 

A link or button that removes a reader from your subscribe list.

 

Unsubscribing should be easy for your readers. Trying to make it difficult so people can’t leave will only cause frustration and hurt your credibility. Having a clear link or button at the bottom of your email is always a best practice.

 

One big benefit of including the button? You can track when people unsubscribe. This allows you to monitor which campaigns work and which content turns peoples away.



Three Key Email Marketing Practices

 

While each of the following practices stands on its own as an important part of email marketing, they all work together, each one functioning best when combined with the others.

 

  1. Segmentation

 

The practice of separating your subscriber list into different categories, each of which receives specific content. This is the best way to ensue you are sending the right information to the right people, helping you cater further to your audience.  

 

There are numerous factors to take into consideration when deciding how to segment your list and looking at your analytics can help you find the best option. Demographics like age and gender are a good place to start, but really diving deep into your data so you understand your readers is integral.

 

So what else should you be looking at?






Take a peek at Jordie die van Rijn’s blog for a detailed look at the ins and outs of segmentation.

 

  1. Automation

 

As you would expect, it is the process of automating the delivery of emails. But there’s more to it than that! 

 

It isn’t simply a matter of scheduling an email to be sent at an exact time. While that is a benefit, as you can batch-produce and schedule emails months in advance, automation allows for drip campaigns – a marketing campaign that auto-responds to a subscriber after a specific action triggers it to start. 

 

Automation also works concurrently with segmentation. After dividing your list into groups, you are able to automate specific emails, newsletters, and drip campaigns for those designated groups only. This prevents the inundation of your subscribers inboxes with extraneous content.

 

An added bonus? It really does save you time!

 

  1. Personalisation

 

The practice of customising emails to each of your individual subscribers. While this may seem time-consuming, it is actually relatively simple. A lot of the work necessary for personalisation is done through automation and segmentation. 

 

With automation, you can set every email to be addressed to the name given to you by each given subscriber, instead of their email address or a general “Hello!”. 

 

With segmentation, you can personalise the content of a campaign to the interests and demographics of each given segment. For example, if you have subscribers from all over the world, it could benefit you to customise the content to their location. And don’t forget to personalise the subject line! 

 

A fun bonus? Christina Perricone suggests adding your own signature to sign off each email. That way, you readers know there’s a real human being behind the screen, providing a more personable experience!



Consider Your Analytics

 

Tracking you campaigns is essential to understanding what works best for you. Fortunately, most email service providers include analytics. This allows you to learn about your subscribers. Which demographics enjoy what content? Who gravitates towards one lead magnet over another? What kind of people make up your most engaged readers? So many questions! Thankfully, metrics have the answer!

 

There are two main ways to measure your success: Performance Analytics and A/B Testing. The first focuses on the overall success of your campaigns, while the second compares two similar emails that present differently.

 

Performance Analytics

 

Usually just called Analytics, this is the system that tracks and measures all of your emails, whether a simple welcome email or a full-blown campaign.

 

Knowing exactly how people are interacting with your emails is invaluable. From the first email they open, to any time they click on a CTA, your analytics tracks user behaviour to provide you with data you can use to improve your email content and structure. This is of benefit to both you and your readers, as it allows you deliver the content your readers want.

 

What sort of metrics should you be tracking? Some important ones include:

 

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unique opens by time or location
  • Conversion rate

 

And that is just to name a few! While it can take a bit of time and energy, understanding what works and what doesn’t is integral. And if numbers just don’t click for you, hiring an email marketing professional can be a good investment.

 

Another benefit provided by analytics? You can learn which content resonates with which demographics and tailor your content to those groups through segmentation and personalisation.

 

A/B Testing

 

A form of comparative testing that deduces which of two options performs better with your audience.

 

Put your lab coat on, it’s time for an experiment! While you do have to follow a system, it isn’t quite as complicated as it sounds. A/B testing is simply the comparison of two similar emails with a solitary difference. The purpose of the test is to deduce which email performs best with the observed audience. You can A/B test all parts of your email, from subject line, to colour, to layout, to delivery time, and more. 

 

Much like with any form of research, you are required to have a solid research question, based on testing one sole component of your email at a time. After randomly dividing members of your subscriber list into two equal sections, send Version A to one group, and Version B to the other. Once the results are in, you can compare the data and improve your email marketing based on user preference.

 

Want to delve deeper into email marketing analytics? Check out FulcrumTech’s Email Optimization Guide.



A Little And A Lot

 

Whew, that was more than I thought! And that is just the basics! Considering that this is a whittled-down version, it’s no wonder that email marketing can seem like a behemoth from the outside. But it is a totally tameable animal! Just start with baby-steps, learn the lingo, and begin your journey!

 

Don’t forget to check out the resources provided. If you want to read more, check out these informative (and awesome!) digital experts:

 

 

And hey, if you’d like to get more helpful guides and notes from me now and again, you can sign up for my email list a little further down the page 🙂 see you there!

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The value of email marketing

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

The value of email marketing

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Speed, efficiency, ease, and impact; email marketing has it all! Not to sound like a salesperson straight off the bat, but when it comes to a tool this useful, it can’t be undervalued. Digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing as the most profitable and efficient method of promotion, and a large portion of this comes directly from e-mail marketing.

But what makes email marketing so great?

 

Spread Your Message

 

 


Well, for one, it allows you to communicate with the masses. In 2019, research found that over half of the world’s population was using email; a number expected to grow to over 4.3 billion in four years. With so many people online, your audience pool is immense. Email allows you to share information, promote products and services, and communicate with the public on a massive scale; an opportunity that, honestly, is invaluable.

That being said, a substantial email list is only productive if you’re reaching the right people.You’ve heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder”. Building your subscriber list follows this principle. You want quality over quantity. Acquiring a large number of subscribers might seem like a positive, but if they aren’t engaging, it’s a fruitless endeavour. Sending information to readers who couldn’t care less won’t benefit your business. Not only are you wasting your own time and energy, but it can greatly skew your analytics. 

 

Subsequently, if you have a large list, but your emails keep bouncing, this can imply several things. On one hand, your emails may not be reaching their intended targets due to spelling errors or an obsolete address. On the other? You may have been blocked! It is fundamental that your list consists solely of subscribers that want to be contacted. In fact, in many countries there are regulations put in place to prevent companies from subscribing people without their consent. 

 

As long as you are following regulations and not contacting people with unwanted spam, email marketing hits the mark. The long and short of it? Email works, so make it work for you!



Pick Your Pie

 

Or rather, know your audience! Once you have developed a streamlined subscriber list, it’s important to tailor your emails. This can be done through segmentation, an integral aspect of quality email marketing. Segmenting allows you to customise emails, sending relevant content only to those interested in said content. Through the use of analytics, you are able to learn what content intrigues which readers, what topics different groups engage with, and what content can be reworked or removed altogether. Some programs, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, have their own built-in analytics feature, but other CRM tools such as HubSpot work just as well. 

 

Why is it so important to segment? Picture a pie! Let’s say it’s apple, fresh out of the oven and ready to eat. You slice it up, ready to serve, but not everyone wants apple pie. Some people prefer cherry. Others, pumpkin. How can you satisfy everyone if you only offer one kind of pie? 

 

While it may take some time, by knowing your audience and their preferences, you can learn which pies to bake, or rather, which content to send to whom. Whether you base your segments on interest, engagement, location, or another characteristic, knowing your demographics is integral. What’s more? With email marketing, not only can you segment your emails to reach specific audiences, but you can automate the process. Producing targeted campaigns and implementing automated correspondence saves you time, money, and energy. Get the baking out of the way, automate, and send your readers exactly what they want, when they want it, one slice at a time.



Control Your Costs

 

Like other forms of digital marketing, email marketing can offer an inexpensive, yet profitable form of promotion at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. TV and print ads can run a high bill and may not have the same reach as email marketing, both in terms of numbers and specifics. In fact, in 2019 the ROI on email marketing surpassed all other forms of online marketing methods.

 

 

Even if you decide to contract out marketing and communications, you are still likely to save on cost, and certainly on time and energy. It reduces employee hours and labour, not to mention extra costs related to paper (in the case of print media) while concurrently lowering your environmental footprint. For small businesses, especially those with a lower budget, investing in email marketing just makes sense. 



Measure Your Results

 

Another advantage offered by email marketing is the ability to measure results. Other methods are measurable as well, but obtaining concrete, useful insights can prove difficult. Depending on your alternative of choice, whether it is a television ads or a print piece, data is often estimated. This does not mean it is totally invalid, but it may not be entirely accurate either. 

 

No matter the platform you use, email marketing generally allows for accessible, accurate analytics, often in real-time. As mentioned above, some platforms work in unison with outside insight analytics programs, whereas others have built in analytics, allowing for absolute ease. Either way, they deliver veritable results and useful insights, not to mention detailed information on a variety of select demographics; something traditional media can only estimate. This allows for the aforementioned segmentation and customisation. 

 

Why is this so useful? It allows you to deduce which email marketing practices are the most productive and which you might need to drop. You can find out which campaigns work best, what time people open their emails, and who clicks on what. Which leads convert your readers from curious to customer? Is your CTA effective? And what can you do to improve? No matter your question, there is a high likelihood your analytics can provide an answer. 

 

Confused about which analytics are worth noting? Check out these need-to-know metrics and find out why they are indispensable to your marketing campaign!

 

Get Started

 

I cannot stress enough how valuable email marketing can be! It allows you to communicate clearly and concisely with customers and clients worldwide, using the most productive marketing tactics, without breaking your budget. It is both far-reaching and personal. The opportunity to measure results means the opportunity to constantly improve. 

 

Want to learn more about the basics of email marketing? Hang tight for my upcoming blog, giving you a full run-down of campaigns necessities!

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