According to ExactTarget, about 95% of people online use email. Out of that 95%, 77% prefer to receive marketing communications via email. However, just knowing that consumers prefer this is a long way from seeing success with your marketing campaigns. Obviously, there is a lot more that goes into a successful campaign than just typing out a few words and hitting a send button.
First and foremost, you must define your measurement of success. This requires deciding what you want to accomplish with an email campaign before you ever write word one of the letter. Do you simply want to encourage current customers to visit the website or do you want to offer them a special sale price on overstock? Perhaps you want to ask for referrals to help grow your business. There are many different ways to measure success when it comes to email marketing. Knowing your end goal will help you formulate the letter accordingly and better track how successful your efforts are.
Measuring Success by Engagement
Forrester Research estimated that 838 billion marketing emails were sent in 2013 alone. Consumers are flooded with emails, and while the averages indicate that a $1 email marketing investment equals a $44.25 return in profit, profit isn’t the only way to measure success of a campaign.
Number of Click-Throughs
Not everyone who signs up to receive your emails will open those emails. There are many factors that go into whether or not the consumer will open the email, not to mention click on any links to go to your site and complete conversion.
- An engaging headline that pulls the reader in and intrigues her
- The time a reader has on any given day
- Whether the product/service interests the mailee
The best way to track click-throughs is to create a unique landing page for each email campaign. This will help you track exactly how many people are reading far enough into your emails and being engaged enough to click on the link.
Social Engagement and Interaction
Another measure of success is how many people are sharing your email. You should add a statement at the end that the email can be shared in its entirety. This can increase your reach past those on your list and create an automated referral system.
Make it easy for people to share your emails on social media sites. Allow comments on your blog about any information you included or create a Q&A section where customers can ask questions and get quick answers. If you get your customers engaged in your emails, then you’ve successfully hooked them into reading more information about your product or service.
Another part of this equation, though, is telling people how they can join your mailing list. If someone is forwarded the email, you want him or her to subscribe and become a potential new customer. So, include a Call to Action somewhere in the email that states something like:
- Get Offers First
- Receive News Updates
- Special Discounts for Subscribers
Measuring Success by Conversions
Perhaps you’re sending out dozens of emails and people are reading them, but you aren’t seeing a result or an increase in sales. It may be time to apply some good old A/B testing methods to your emails to increase the results you’re getting.
Are People Doing What You Want After They Read Your Email?
Epsilon Email Marketing Research Center estimates that conversion rates will hover at between 1 to 5 percent, which is also in line with most marketing methods. If people are opening your emails but not converting to traffic for your site, newsletter subscribers, or buying (depending on your goals), then it’s time to do some testing and see how you can get the customer to convert at a higher rate. Here are some tricks:
- Call to Actions (CTAs): Tell the reader what you want him/her to do. Examples would include a button that says “Get information on Gizmos”, “Click here for a discount on Gizmos” or “Subscribe now!”.
- Different Landing Pages: People clicking on your links is only beneficial if the landing page is set up for optimum conversion. Use good conversion standards and test out different landing pages to see which ones are most successful. Use these in your emails.
- Keep Trying New Things: Just because a particular landing page or a particular CTA worked last year doesn’t mean it will work this year. One thing is certain about the Internet – it is fluid. The Internet is not the same as it was last year and will not be the same tomorrow. Try new things. Stay up on industry trends. Experiment.
Are Sales Impacted?
Are your emails having an impact on sales? Even if your goal isn’t to increase your sales but just to gain new subscribers, you should still see a slight increase in your sales numbers for every dollar you invest in email marketing.
If you’re not seeing an increase in sales upon stepping up your email marketing efforts, then refer to the section above on conversions.
There are many factors that play into how many people actually read your emails. First and foremost, your email must offer something of value. A unique article or information they can’t get anywhere else. To get the reader to read your email, you must grab her interest, write engaging content she’ll want to read, and keep it short and to the point.
Another thing to consider is that many people are now using mobile devices, so if your website or your email isn’t easy to read on a mobile device, you may lose readers. Although 28% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, according to Smart Insights, only 10% of those opens lead to clicks. Part of the reason for this is that users know that websites won’t covert well on their smart phones or perhaps the email itself isn’t formatted well. While you don’t want to cater only to mobile users, you definitely should take this into consideration.
Splitting the List
Another thing you can do is to split the lists up into different types of customers and target those groups with offers that are specifically aimed at them. According to Unbounce, Totes Isotoner conducted a test where they made emails category specific and split their list. They saw an increase in sales conversion of 7,000%. That is an amazing result and you can imagine the resulting profit since the focus for their conversion was strictly sales.
Tips to Maximize Your Email Marketing Efforts
There are some other things you can do to maximize your email marketing efforts.
- Keep your list clean. People change emails from time to time. Check for bounces and remove any emails that are hard bouncing. They simply use time and resources and may skew your conversion numbers.
- Limit the choices. Try to stick to a single call to action. Offer too many choices and you risk the reader not choosing any or perhaps choosing the least desirable CTA.
- Link emails together: Unbounce also recommends linking your emails together so that the topics are related and build on each other. They approach email marketing from the premise that most people don’t send enough emails.
- Timing matters. This is another place where it might be smart to categorize your emails. Sending an email out in the early afternoon might work well for those in the same time zone as you, but if the person lives in another country where it is three in the morning, the email may get lost in the shuffle. This takes a lot of experimenting with your list to figure out what times work best for your particular demographic.
- Limit the images. Not everyone one is on high-speed Internet and others may have images turned off for a variety of reasons. Limit the number of images in each email and include alternate info for text only readers.
- Test the messages yourself. There are sites that allow you to test how a message looks in different browsers and on different devices. Utilize these free services to make sure you are putting out the most visually pleasing message possible.
- Don’t overdo it. While it is okay to send two or three messages a week, don’t bombard your readers with three messages a day. Your unsubscribe rates will soar if you overwhelm readers with emails. If you promise one email a week, stick to one a week.
- Poll your readers. Communicate with your readers. Create interactive polls. Ask them to fill in a survey about what they want to see in future emails. Offer an incentive for providing this information to you, such as a free report or ebook.
Inexpensive Marketing with Big Profit Potential
Email marketing is an inexpensive way to get the word out about your business. If you follow basic email marketing concepts and test what you’re doing, the potential for profit is huge compared to the cost of email marketing. Remember to try new things, provide fresh content for readers and take the time to think about what you would like to see in an email and you should find success with this method.