Your picture-perfect marketing emails are useless if you’re not paying attention to email marketing KPIs. Yep, you read that right! You may tirelessly work on crafting amazing emails, but guess what? It doesn’t matter if you’re not tracking the results. Make sure to keep an eye on your email marketing KPIs, or key performance indicators, to see how your emails are doing. And if you’re wondering why you should care about email marketing at all, check out this post: Email Marketing Strategy: Stats You Should Care About.
First, you’ll want to figure out what your goal is for your email marketing. The goal can vary for different businesses or campaigns. Once you’ve decided on your goal, you’ll want to figure out which metrics you want to track to see if your email marketing efforts are successful. And if all this talk of metrics is putting you to sleep, we totally rock at this, so contact us if you need help with your email marketing. If you’d like to read on, below is our list of email marketing KPIs you should know about.
Email marketing KPIs you should know about
- Clickthrough rate
- Conversion rate
- Open rate
- Bounce rate
- Delivery rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- List growth rate
- Sharing and forwarding rate
- Click-to-open rate
- Spam complaint rate
1. Clickthrough rate
Clickthrough rate, or CTR, is the percentage of email recipients who click on at least one link in the email. You’ll want some catchy calls to action, or CTAs, to get those clicks! You want to keep an eye on this metric because you want to measure how effective your content is in bringing in more traffic to your website, which leads to more business! A good CTR means that people are not only opening your emails, but engaging with them too.
2. Conversion rate
Conversion rate is like clickthrough rate with an extra step. This rate is the number of recipients who not only click on a link in an email, but also take action. The action depends on the email and goals, so it could be anything from buying a product to filling out a form or registering for an event- all depending on how you set up those goals within each particular campaign. This must-know metric measures customers or leads who convert!
3. Open rate
At first glance, open rate sounds like the most important thing, right? After all, how can your email marketing be successful if nobody opens your emails? One key thing to note is that an email is only counted as “opened” if the recipient also receives the images in the message. So even if people open the email, those emails don’t necessarily count toward your open rate (I know! What??). Even though this metric can be misleading, don’t totally throw it down the drain! You can compare your open rate to other email marketing KPIs to get a bit of insight. And don’t forget to note this KPI by itself since it will still give you an idea of how engaged your subscribers are. If you’re looking for an open rate to shoot for, the average overall open rate for 2020 was 18%.
4. Bounce rate
Your bounce rate doesn’t involve trampolines, but it’s even more fun than that, because what’s more fun than email marketing? Nothing. Anyways, your bounce rate deals with the number of emails that couldn’t be delivered to a recipient’s inbox. There are two types of bounce rates. A hard bounce rate is a permanent one, and a soft bounce is temporary.
- Hard bounces: This happens due to an invalid email address, and these emails will never be delivered. Let’s have a moment of silence for all emails lost in the void. You should weed these out of your email list since a bad bounce rate can impact an email sender’s reputation.
- Soft bounces: As mentioned above, these are due to a temporary problem. In this case, the email address is valid, but there’s a different issue, such as a full inbox or a server problem. In other words, there’s still hope! The server may hang onto these emails and deliver them once the problem goes away. Then you can jump for joy!
5. Delivery rate
Even if you have an enormous subscriber list, not all emails you send will be delivered. There’s no need to fret over a 100% email delivery rate (not to be confused with email deliverability!) because it just won’t happen. Your email delivery rate will show how many emails made it through to your customers’ email service provider without bouncing. Like all of these metrics, a good rate will vary depending on a lot of factors, including industry. And while you don’t need a perfect delivery rate, you should strive for a high delivery rate. An average delivery rate is about 95%.
6. Unsubscribe rate
This rate doesn’t really paint a full picture. This is because some people may simply stop reading emails when they no longer want to see them (*raises hand*). Since they’re not really unsubscribing, it doesn’t impact your unsubscribe rate, but again, this doesn’t mean people are reading your emails. But you should still keep an eye on this metric. It can tell you if you’re sending too many emails, or maybe if you need to segment your emails. If you notice a sudden jump in this rate, take a look into what happened.
And did you know that unsubscribing can sometimes even be a good thing? There’s a chance a lot of the people on your email list are just hanging out, but they may not ever buy anything or even read your emails. Unsubscribing can be a good thing because you want a quality email list rather than just a huge, inactive one. If inactive people unsubscribe, it can actually help clean up your email list!
7. List growth rate
This is exactly what it sounds like. Don’t you love simplicity? Your list growth rate is simply the rate at which your email list is growing. Of course, a bigger list means a bigger possible audience. Keep in mind that you will naturally lose some subscribers over time, which means that you’ll want new ones. It’s like when you stop being friends with people in elementary school, but it’s all good, because you make new friends. Make those new friends for your email list. If you have a healthy list growth rate, the natural losses are nothing to sweat over, and you’ll still be in great shape.
8. Sharing and forwarding rate
This metric counts the percentage of recipients who shared some of the email to social media, or who forwarded the email to somebody else. Both of these are great things. If people are sharing your content, your email marketing is probably crushing it. And when people share your content, it can attract new customers, which can add to your list growth rate! Isn’t it cool how these email marketing KPIs are all connected?
9. Click-to-open rate
Click-to-open rate is different from clickthrough rate. What’s the difference? Clickthrough rate measures how many emails resulted in someone clicking on your call to action, while click-to-open rate measures subscribers who both opened the email and clicked the link. This is also different from open rate, which just shows how many people open an email. Instead, click-to-open rate is measured by dividing the number of unique clicks by unique opens, which will help you get an idea of how engaging your content is.
10. Spam complaint rate
Your spam rate is measured by how many mark your email as spam! This is different from your unsubscribe rate, but if you notice both going up, that should tell you something alarming. You don’t want people marking your emails as spam, so try to keep your spam complaint rate low. Another reason for a high spam complaint rate is that subscribers are having a hard time leaving your list. For this reason, make your unsubscribe button easily visible so that people can leave when they choose. Your email list shouldn’t be designed to trap people forever, and people may just mark them as spam if they can’t escape. Also, a high spam complaint rate can affect your delivery rate. This can take a long time to fix, so make sure you stay on top of this metric!
Creating killer emails is not enough for a strong email marketing strategy. Don’t just aimlessly fire out emails and cross your fingers. You not only need great emails, but you also need to track the results with email marketing KPIs like the ones above. The metrics you choose to track may depend on your exact email marketing goals, but you’ll be on the right path when you start tracking. Then you’ll have real data to see what’s working. Keep these must-know metrics in mind, and you’ll be good to go! And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, you can always contact us if you need help with your email marketing.