Measuring e-mail results: Using the wrong end of the stick?

If the job of marketing is to generate interest and drive leads, then e-mail measurement must move that process forward. Measuring open rates and click-through at the broadcast level is rarely actionable. It’s like measuring with the opposite end of a yardstick.

E-mail provides a built-in direct response and follow-up mechanism. Most marketing broadcasts will initiate some interest and action, but no one expects a reply from your [email protected] that reads, “Hey, thanks for your interest in this link. Here is some more information.”

Why keep valuable data such as who opened the message, clicked on the links, read the attachments or forwarded the e-mail to a friend locked up in a broadcast-only e-mail system?

Actionable measurement information is available within plug-ins and services for everyday business e-mail systems like Outlook. The ability to pinpoint interest as it happens, and easily follow-up and extend the interaction, provides the ability to align the marketing and sales process, literally on an individual customer and lead basis.

Sales, marketing and service staff use e-mail to communicate with a set of prospects and customers every day. If they knew exactly when these individuals responded to a campaign, they could take more immediate, personal and relevant follow-up action.

Monitoring clicks and interactions throughout the interest, evaluation and purchase cycle provides multiple benefits. Sales people improve their productivity and timing by focusing in on the individuals expressing real interest through click behavior. Marketers can exert more control by providing standardized, branded content distributed via everyday e-mail, and gain the ability to measure the results of their broadcast campaigns to a whole new level of conversion, monitoring the engagement of their audience with the company’s front-line representatives.

Yet most marketers never put this concept into action, relying only on broadcast e-mail analytics, Web analytics or sales figures to measure whether a message, offer or promotion is successful.

Certainly the idea of e-mail and Web analytics integration is a step in the right direction. The idea of adding CRM integration into this mix is usually enough to strike fear into the hearts of any sane business or IT manager.

But there is an easier way. Tracking interactions and filling the gap between broadcast marketing and sales activity is increasingly valuable.

Like most things in business, success relies upon execution. Yet the e-mail interactions are already happening, right in Outlook. All you need to do is supercharge them and capture the information, turning your everyday inbox into a sales and marketing machine.

Michael DesRochers is CEO of Salestream Software. He can be reached at [email protected].

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