One of the most effective channels for marketers is email because it offers a consistent yet streamlined opportunity for building traffic and engagement. However, as any experienced marketer knows, you must be able to measure your success, because without it, you essentially know nothing.
How do you know which subject lines are most effective? Do you know if a traffic boost is from the last email you sent or a previous one, or is it from something else entirely? Are people even reading the unique content you send out?
That’s where marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) come into the equation. They are metrics that highlight improvements, successes or even failures.
KPIs can be used to show what works in an email campaign, what doesn’t and how things can be improved. Metrics can also be used to track performance in all areas of business, including live events, customer feedback or general sales.
If you want to optimize your email marketing campaigns, the following 10 KPIs are what you should be paying attention to.
1. Open Rate
It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do, be it chasing more sales, generating leads or simply increasing traffic to a site. If no one opens your emails, then it’s all for nought.
The open rate KPI tells you how many people opened your email, read what was contained within and where it ended up. It’s not always reliable, because some email services automatically mark a message as read when you scroll by.
Even so, it’s a valid indicator of who’s interested in your content and who isn’t. Higher numbers reveal the success of a campaign.
2. Click-Through Rate
The click-through rate tells you how many people followed the links contained within your email.
If a tool doesn’t provide this, you can divide the total clicks by the emails delivered and multiply it by 100. The result is the percentage of users following your links.
3. Conversion Rate
While most metrics track specific actions, this one is more about the end result. It focuses on why you sent the email or campaign in the first place, and whether or not your goal was met.
For example, did you want customers to make a purchase, register on your site or browse web content? Whatever it is you wanted your audience to do, how many actually followed through? That is your conversion rate.
It tells you what your campaign achieves and whether or not your audience is interested in its content.
4. Total Sales
The total sales metric involves the full impact of sales as a result of the email campaign. It’s not only about sales directly from email, but also what customers and visitors do as a result. Maybe they didn’t like a product featured in the email, but bought something else instead.
5. Total Number of Unsubscribes
If people don’t enjoy your content, they’re going to unsubscribe. This metric is as important as your new subscriber rates. If you’re bleeding followers, then you’re clearly doing something wrong — and you’ll never know what’s happening if you’re not tracking it.
6. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is a lot like unsubscriber counts with one exception: most of these events are accidental. When an email bounces, it means either the address in question is not correct, not in use, falsified or a server is down. On some rare occasions, a bounce may happen because an inbox is full.
Either way, this occurs when there is a delivery problem — which means one less person is receiving your emails and improvements are needed.
7. Cost Per Lead
What is the total cost to acquire a new customer or generate a lead? How much are you spending to develop an email, send it out and reply to various communications? Do you have a dedicated team in place, or are you doing it yourself? These are all things to consider.
8. Time on-Site
You may be generating a lot of traffic as a result of an email marketing campaign, but is it truly worthwhile? Are your visitors staying on-site long enough to make a difference? Is it translating to sales or conversions?
9. Contact List Growth
Most marketers have a system in place to collect new email addresses, which are then added to their newsletter or updates list. Over time, it means the contact list for a campaign grows instead of shrinking.
This is an important metric to track. Not only does it tell you how big an audience your emails are reaching, but it also signals just how effective a campaign is.
10. Social Growth
Alongside traffic, you might also be looking to grow social exposure or follower counts through an email campaign. This is another metric to track if so.
KPIs Can Help Achieve Your Goals
Depending on what you wish to achieve, you don’t necessarily have to monitor every KPI on this list — there are others, too. Choose metrics that align with your goals. If you want to boost follower or audience count, then you should be looking at bounce, unsubscribe and open rates. If you want to increase site traffic, then look at click-through rates, time on-site and social growth.
The 10 email marketing KPIs you see here are some of the most important, meaning you really can’t afford to ignore them.