Overlooked e-mail metrics

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Overlooked e-mail metrics
Overlooked e-mail metrics

You can only improve what you can measure. Unfortunately, most email marketers measure only what their e-mail service provider (ESP) supports, like email open rates, click rates, bounce rates, and list size. These e-mail-centric metrics are certainly valuable, and can lead to improvement in your email-centric results.

But e-mail marketing isn't an end in itself. It's almost always used as a driver for response in another channel, particularly the website. E-mail-centric metrics are a leading indicator of overall e-mail program success, but you shouldn't stop there! When e-mail marketers focus attention downstream of e-mail outreach to where customers are actually buying, new and highly actionable insights come to light.

We'll start with this simple sequence of desired customer behavior and corresponding metrics. (In later articles we'll add in social media and negative behaviors, leading to a more complete analysis model.)

Desired Behavior

Metric

Subscribed to e-mail list

List growth rate

Email metrics

Received the e-mail

Bounce rate

Opened the e-mail

Open rate

Clicked in the e-mail

Click rate

Arrived on Web site landing page

Entry rate

Post-click metrics

Browsed Web site

Time on site

Put items in cart

Cart rate

Completed purchase

Conversion rate

Note that there are two different kinds of metrics in this sequence:

  • E-mail metrics, which your ESP provides, and
  • Post-click metrics, which you'll get from a web analytics tool like Omniture SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics.

The critical piece of technology you'll need to generate post-click metrics is integration between your ESP and your web analytics tool. This integration works by tagging each link in your email with tracking information that is picked up by your web analytics system. Most ESPs provide this integration as a feature of their service, and it's automatic for you to use once switched on.

In the most basic form, web analytics integration allows you to correlate behavior on your website with email-driven traffic. You'll be able to answer questions with your web analytics dashboard reporting that you were only able to guess at previously, including:

  • What proportion of site traffic came from email marketing?
  • How much revenue did that email traffic generate?
  • What was the time spent on site for email visitors?
  • What's the ROI (return on investment) of my email marketing versus my paid search?
  • What landing pages and products were most popular for email visitors?

With slightly more advanced web analytics integration, you can also answer questions like:

  • What was the order size and conversion rate of different segments of my list?
  • Which email most effectively recaptured unengaged customers?
  • What day of the week is best to send email for generating revenue?

The fundamental shift that web analytics integration brings to your email marketing is clear and accurate visibility into financial results. You'll find your thinking will change from driving behavior at the beginning of the sequence to driving revenue at the end.

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