In this article, we will look at some goals that email marketers frequently set. We will start with the most complex one and then look at some more specific ones, and we’ll give you some KPIs to focus on for each goal.
Once you are familiar with email metrics, the question is, how can you use them to improve your marketing? The goals of the campaigns will be the main factor in determining which metrics you might need to consider and how you will use them.
It is worth noting that your emailing goals don’t need to be entirely based on metrics. They can be based on something more abstract, like wanting to include more personalization in your newsletters. The important thing here is that your results need to be quantifiable and measurable. This is where you come back to the metrics we discussed above. You will need to set different KPIs based on which metrics are important for your goals.
Definition: "I want to increase the revenue I get from email marketing by X% in Y months."
This is the most common, but also the most complex, goal that you can set for yourself. It is influenced by many factors, so it is usually wiser (and easier) to break it down into smaller steps and multiple KPIs.
Let’s start at the end of the funnel: a conversion. Conversions on the web or in an app can come from email in two ways: either directly from a click in an email, or indirectly (a customer gets an email but doesn’t make a purchase immediately, but later they remember the content from the email and come directly to the site to make a purchase).
There is no straightforward way to measure email’s influence on the latter scenario, so we need to start with a quantifiable goal: an increase in clicks and click-to-open rate.
The following 4 points are the steps that you can take to improve these metrics.
Test the content, formatting, and images on multiple devices. Make sure your readers can engage with the content once they open the email, regardless of the platform they use.
Don’t hide a button at the bottom of the email. Highlight the conversion goal multiple times and work on your CTA button – it’s your moneymaker. Set the right expectations at this stage.
Make the content personalized and relevant to the customer – whether that means targeting based on their favorite category, or using advanced recommendations that choose the best products for that particular customer. Bloomreach Engagement has a number of powerful product recommendation engines that can be integrated with your emails and your website.
Personalization is the tactic that is usually the most effective one.
This can be done by encouraging a direct email reply (you might have noticed that “[email protected]” emails are slowly disappearing), giving customers a simple poll about the content, or setting up a customized preference control center that allows customers to select the topics they are interested in and set the frequency with which they’ll receive emails.
You should also look at increasing the number of email opens. We cover that in a separate goal breakdown below.
A metric that’s one step earlier in the funnel is the number of emails sent out. Increasing this number can also increase your performance, but it can also backfire quickly. Sending as many emails to as many customers as possible is a short-sighted decision nowadays, and your email reputation will be penalized in a matter of weeks or even days.
So how can you increase the number of emails sent while keeping best practices in mind? You can check out the active audience size goal below, but apart from that, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t over-communicate – 99.99% of customers do NOT want to hear from you twice a day, every day. Limit the number of emails that you send out, and get into the head of your customer to better understand how many emails they want to receive.
- To achieve this, take time to build your active audience, i.e. customers who have engaged with your emails within the last 90 days. This is the audience you can communicate with the most frequently without getting penalized by mailbox service providers. On the other hand, customers who have not opened an email of yours in the last year are not very likely to open your next email, and sending it to them can hurt your reputation.
- Start using frequency management. Establishing which customers receive how many campaigns per week or month can lead to multiple metrics being improved. Even with a small drop in the volume of emails sent, you might still see an increase in the absolute number of opens, clicks, and revenue.
- Build different types of campaigns. You have many different types of customers: some are bargain hunters, some focus on social responsibility, and some are always looking for something new to wear. Try a few different types of campaigns, and start to segment users based on which campaigns they usually click on, or what they’re interested in on your website. In essence, this means making your content relevant to your different audiences.
- Automate based on the customer journey. Identify customer journey touchpoints where it makes sense to communicate: registration, their birthday, and their first return. These campaigns can churn out revenue during the whole year. They take time to build, but they don’t need to be checked frequently (although you should aim to update them at least every few months). This can increase the number of emails you send out while keeping the content relevant and personalized.
Definition: "I want to increase my active audience size by Y(%)."
Two things influence your active audience size: customers becoming part of your active audience by engaging with an email, and customers leaving it by not engaging.
Start by improving your sign-up process. Is it as simple and straightforward as GDPR allows? Are the customers clear on what they are signing up for? Once they sign-up, do they receive a welcome email that sets the expectations for the content they will start receiving from that day? If they don’t open the email, do you try to re-engage them with personalized communication, or do you just start churning out newsletters?
Do you make sure that customers have a good reason to re-engage? If you know a customer is about to leave your active audience, there are a few things you can try. Offer an incentive, showing what they missed out on by not opening your emails (create “FOMO”). Make sure to capture customers with re-engagement campaigns not just at the 90-day mark, but at different times too: 150 days, 180 days, a year. Don’t be afraid to A/B test various incentives and messaging at this stage.
Definition: "I want to increase my open rates by 30%."
The open rate metric can be quite misleading, and the overall number doesn’t tell you the whole story. It’s important to establish a benchmark between different mailboxes. This helps to rule out any deliverability issues before you try to improve content.
If the variation in open rates for different mail providers is more than 30%, e.g. Gmail reports an open rate of 20% while Hotmail reports 11%, you should focus on improving your inbox placement with Hotmail. In this regard, you might find our email deliverability tips useful.
If you are sure you don’t have any major deliverability or inbox placement issues, you can proceed with content improvements. Anything the customer sees is fair game for improvement. Here are some items worth checking:
Is it obvious at first sight who the email is from? Try A/B testing which branding works best for you (using a personal name in the “From” might work for some more informal brands – e.g. Peter from Bloomreach Engagement). Most of the time, keeping it simple is the winning variant. People like consistency here, so don’t change the sender name too often. This might get you incorrectly flagged as a phishing or scam attempt by the recipient.
Here you can really flex your creative muscles. This is the most visible element of the email, so make it personal! Use any knowledge of the customer you have to make the subject line relevant, but not creepy. Focus on the brands, categories, and products the customer likes. If possible, do an automatic A/B test – test 3-4 variants on a small portion of your database, wait for a few hours, and then send the winning variant to the rest of your customers.
Although slightly less visible than the subject line, customers still notice it. Make sure to use this space to “preview” what the content of the email will be like. You definitely shouldn’t show the following message: “If you can’t see the email properly, click here to view in browser” – this is a waste of valuable space.
The last thing that is visible to the customer at first sight, and this influences where your email is in the inbox. If you send your email at 6 AM, and the customer usually checks their emails after work, you might already be in the 10th position. You need to use your knowledge of when a customer opens their emails and be sure to send them at that time so you can land at the top of the inbox. All of these improvements will lead to an increase in open rates.
Of course, the person you’re sending it to is also important. When it comes to the recipient, the same principles from the previous goals apply: be careful not to over-communicate, be relevant to the individual customer, and make sure the frequency is acceptable.
Bloomreach Engagement provides several ways to increase your open rates. Optimal Email Time analyzes your mailing data to determine when customers are most likely to open a message, and then sends your mail at the right time for each individual customer. Bloomreach Engagement also makes it easy to test and optimize all elements of your emails using Automatic Email AB Pre-Testing. This feature runs an AB test (for whatever element you choose) on a small portion of your emailing database, then sends the winning variant to the rest of your database automatically.
Updated 6 months ago