You’ve got to measure the performance of your email marketing campaigns. So you log into your email service provider and immediately become overwhelmed by the amount of email metrics it throws at you.
I mean, how do you know what metrics matter in the first place? Liz Wilcox says email marketing is the best thing for your business, but like…how do you determine if your emails are effective? How much value do they add to your business? If any?!?!?!
Waddup! Liz Wilcox here. Let’s demystify this whole measure email marketing thing, shall we? When evaluating the success of an email campaign, there are 3 key categories that you should focus on depending on the type of business you have.
And for fun’s sake, let’s call those categories buckets, okay? Maybe we’ll put a fun face on them. Why not?
The Healthy Bucket: Bounce Rate and Deliverability Rates
The healthy bucket of metrics to review includes:
- bounce rates
- list growth
Now let’s break down these email metrics. I promise to make it not boring. Well…I promise to try not to make it boring.
Anyone else see this metric and think of Tigger? Just me? Okay, let’s get serious.
Bounce rates are the percentage of emails that weren’t delivered successfully. Sometimes an email bouncing can be your fault, like a spam filter. Other times, we can blame it on somebody else, like when there’s a typo in their email address.
Bounce rates can be an indicator of poor email list hygiene, or a sign that your email might need some tweaking.
A high bounce rate can also mean you’re missing out on potential leads (aka revenue 🤑), so it’s important to keep an eye on it. But luckily with the right tools and strategies, you can reduce your bounce rate and get back on track. So don’t let bounced emails leave you feeling deflated – get
Tigger your bounce rate under control and watch your email engagement increase, baby!
The most common issues include bounced emails due to invalid addresses, full inboxes, and message size limits.
Invalid addresses are the leading cause of bounces for many senders. This is great news(!!!) as it just means that someone mistyped the address or it was outdated. To minimize this issue, make sure your recipients are up-to-date in your email list. Check bounced emails 1-2/month depending on how fast your list is growing for any email addresses that clearly have a typo in them. Fix the typo and your email will likely hit their inbox next time. #booyahbaby
Full inboxes can also be an issue for many senders when it comes to bounced emails. If the recipient’s mailbox is full, then any new messages will not be accepted and you will receive a bounce message. To avoid this problem, you can use an email service that automatically keeps track of the amount of space left in each mailbox and sends a warning when it starts to get too full. I’d only recommend this if your email list is large (50,000 and up) and you’re making good money from your email list.
Message size limits can also lead to bounced emails. If your email newsletters contain a lot of images or other large files, some inboxes may reject them because they exceed their size limits. To prevent this from happening, make sure to keep your messages short. Remember, it’s a newsletter! Not a novel! Oh, and compress your images and GIFs when you’re sending more than one in an email.
Paying attention to common email bounce issues can help your overall metrics. Bonus! Your emails will actually get delivered. In general though, don’t sweat the bounce rates. Just keep an eye out at least once a month for those email address typos. Any good email service provider will likely be helping you with the rest.
Ya know when you unsubscribe from an email and they ask you that little survey “why don’t you want those emails anymore” and one of the options is something like “I never asked for this?” That’s basically how a subscriber can complain.
Yeah, it sucks when it happens. And we definitely want to avoid it as much as possible because it directly affects our deliverability rates. That said, sometimes? It’s inevitable to get a complaint or two. Heck, I just took a look and I got a complaint just 18 days ago. 🤷♀️
We want our subscribers to feel like they’re getting value in their inbox every time they see your email. If you’ve properly prepared them in your welcome sequence, they know when your emails are coming and what to expect out of them.
Some might complain of lower back pain. Bwaa! Just kidding. When it comes to email marketing, one of the main complaints from subscribers is that they’re receiving too many emails. This can lead to frustration and even unsubscribes. But how do we combat that?
#1– Tell them in your welcome sequence how often you’re going to email them. And if you change that frequency, send out a newsletter informing them of the change before you act on it. Here’s a great example of how I sent an email telling people I was gonna go from weekly to daily for an entire quarter.
#2– Always send relevant and valuable content that your subscribers look forward to. It’s okay to stray from the topic of interest in the form of personal updates or stories, but make sure you always bring things back to the main topic that your subscribers signed up for.
Another common complaint is that the emails are too long, they’re like novels. Subscribers want information quickly, so keep your messages concise and to the point. I recommend about 400 words for a regular newsletter. Sales emails can be longer, but in general? Get to the point, babe.
Use clear formatting, breaking up text with visuals and succinct headlines to make sure readers get the key points at a glance.
Finally, some subscribers may complain about not being able to unsubscribe from email lists easily. Make sure your unsubscribe link is visible and easy to find, so they don’t have to search for it. Luckily, your email service provider will likely do this for you. After all, your ESP doesn’t want complaints, either…so don’t change it!
Keep those complaints low, so you can ensure that your ESP is happy with you, your email subscribers love your emails, and your campaigns are successful.
We want to check our deliverability, but we don’t want to obsess over it. I would say after you’ve been in the email game, you’ve been emailing consistently for about a year, you probably want to check on your deliverability.
You want to see, is there anything out there, any internet gods that have put up red flags and said, “hey this person’s emails suck. Don’t deliver them.”
If those red flags pop up, definitely fix them. Then check on your deliverability again in about six months, after sending consistent newsletters.
A lot of people, and I mean a lot of people will emphasize deliverability. Oh, you gotta check your deliverability monthly, weekly, quarterly…but honestly, if you follow the things that I teach, you’re going to be just fine.
Yes, deliverability is very important, but for micro businesses that are sending to 0-5000 people a week? It’s likely that…
#1–our email service provider has done enough work for us that our emails are being delivered.
#2– we haven’t sent enough email to hurt what our email service provider has in place.
Meaning…we are just fine and we should just focus on sending those emails out!
OMG! List growth is my second favorite email marketing metric!! Friend. I cannot emphasize this enough. List growth is incredibly important. Write that down somewhere.
List growth is something you actively and always want to be working on. All those other metrics I’ve mentioned so far? Consistently growing your email list takes pressure off of complaints, bounce rates, and unsubscribes. Those stressful metrics go down because your new and excited subscribers keep things in the positive, babe!
Now I know, I know. List building is not fun! Maybe it feels hard. But it’s an essential metric to track, even if you’re just looking at your dashboard and making note that yes! You have new leads week after week after week.
And if you’re not getting new leads every week? Definitely check out my $12 list building training.
Unsubscribes suck. Yep. They totally do. And when it comes to measuring email marketing, you definitely want to look at how many people are unsubscribing from your newsletters. But not for the reason you think, boo! We want people to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested. In the words of Ariana Grande….🎤Thank you, next🎤
We don’t want people hanging out increasing our email metrics that stress us out, right? So next time someone unsubscribes, remember! They are helping you keep your list healthy. It’s sweet and thoughtful, really.
Okay, okay. If your unsubscribe rate is higher than your industry average (roughly 0.5% average across all industries), then it is time to look at your email marketing strategy.
– Is your freebie/lead magnet attracting the right folks? (Take a look at this article for my info on that.)
– Are you looking in the right places for the right people for your list?
– Are you staying on topic in your emails?
Let’s also be uber realistic, if you have 0 unsubscribes, then either you are not building your list enough or nobody’s opening your email. #tooharsh?
The Optimize Bucket: Click Rate and Open Rate
Phew. That last bucket was a lot. Let’s move on to something less intense, shall we? The Optimize Bucket with your click rate and open rate.
What we’re trying to optimize with these metrics are the content of our emails. Our subscribers may not always share their opinions by replying back, but these metrics communicate a ton!
And when we optimize the content of our emails, our click rate and open rates will likely go up. Simple, right?
If you’re expecting me to give you an exact number when it comes to what is a good click rate, you can stop right there, honey bun. A good click rate is one that is increasing. Always be trying to increase your click rate. Set a goal of increasing it half a percent in your next email. Then worry about increasing it half a percent overall in the next 30-45 days.
Bonus tip: Check out the content in your welcome sequence. Is it optimized to get clicks? Getting clicks in your welcome sequence will likely help you get clicks in your weekly newsletters.
One of the biggest top myths of email marketing is that email open rates are dead with the Apple iOS updates. The Mail Privacy Protection (aka: the thing Apple launched on their devices that makes everyone think open rates are dead) essentially just skews the data. It basically inflates it–making your open rate appear higher than it actually is. But, you do still want to look at your open rate. Just know it’s not wholly accurate. Just like click rates, aim for increasing it. And look at your welcome emails first.
(For a deeper dive into open rates right now, I recommend this full training for $49 on open rates and other email metrics. It’s fun and has all these buckets broken down, on top of really demystifying the Apple iOS update!)
The Me Bucket: Retention, Revenue, and Engagement
In the words of Toby Keith….I wanna talk about me! (Remember that song?) Anyway…The final bucket is all about what matters to me as the business owner. Your focus will be different depending on the type of business or business model you have BUT I highly recommend these three email marketing metrics:
Retention (how long are people sticking around?)
Engagement (do folks not just click, are they replying?)
Revenue (money in the bank, shawty whachoo drank?)
If you’re someone like me who has a membership-based model of business, retention is most important. Listen, I pay SOOO much attention to my retention.
- How many people are staying on my email list?
- How long are they staying on the list?
- How long are they staying in my membership?
- On average, how long does it take for them to cancel?
- Do they ever come back?
Even if you’re not doing the membership thing like me, it becomes increasingly important to figure out how long people are staying on your list. Especially if you spend money on leads through advertising, or maybe your customer journey is 6-24 months before someone buys your signature product. You need people to stay on your list! So if you notice people growing cold or unsubscribing within a few months, what can you do to ensure they stay?
- Make sure your content is relevant.
- Double check your freebies and landing pages to ensure they represent your style of business and are built for your ideal client/customer/student.
- Shorten your emails and make them super valuable
- Ask for feedback
- Run a fun giveaway for subscribers only
Honestly, this one applies to every business owner. Focusing on how much revenue an email generates is powerful information. Also, understanding how much money email specifically brought your business each quarter (etc) will help you better optimize your marketing later.
- How much money can I make with that specific email?
- Which product will generate the most profit when featured in an email campaign?
- Which emails can I duplicate for my next campaign/launch?
- Why didn’t this email make the money I thought it would?
The true lifeblood of any business, especially online business that cultivate community. Or businesses with high ticket programs that need folks to engage and believe in the brand and trust it before buying. Think: high ticket life coaching services.
This also applies to content creators. If you have a Patreon, OnlyFans, or you have a subscription on Instagram or something like that, you need engagement, right? You need your subscribers to actively stay involved with you and your emails.
It goes beyond “are people opening and clicking?” We want to dive a little deeper and elicit replies. Start conversations in the inbox. Engagement like that is going to help you really know who is on your list and whether or not they are the right people for your products.
This might not be something you measure in a spreadsheet. It might be something you simply keep a pulse on and discuss with your team when necessary.
- Who’s opening your emails?
- How many people are replying?
- When I get replies, is it obvious this is my ideal customer? Or the opposite?
- Who is clicking on what?
- We’re in prelaunch mode. Do people seem to be excited about the upcoming launch?
Questions to Ask Yourself
These are questions that you can ask yourself about metrics.
- What are your strategic goals and what is the customer impact?
- Was this email a good spend on my time?
- Did it add value to my community? for my subscribers?
- Did it drive revenue?
- Was there anything about my emails this month that hurt my metrics?
Successful email marketing creates opportunities to collect first-party data–words and feedback directly from your subscriber. Squee! There’s something about “straight outta their mouths” that does more for driving your business and your email marketing plans than analyzing data ever could! It’s the 411 directly from your community! Send surveys through your email to hear your subscribers’ opinions. Read through the replies and open up those conversations. Remember, data can only get us so far. But an open line of communication between you and your ideal customer? That’ll take you anywhere you wanna go, my email friend.