I used to be one of those people who absolutely hated stats and metrics. Numbers seemed boring to me. I blame my HS math teacher. That all changed now as I learned how to use stats to pinpoint where I can do least of the work to improve the most in my business results. In email marketing there a quite a few numbers but only some are worth while following.
The most misunderstood is the unsubscribe rate. I am in the minority here but I absolutely believe that unsubscribe numbers should be completely ignored. There is no point counting how many people you loose each month. They are gone anyway.
Some say its good to match your unsubscribe rate to the number of emails you mail to find out if your emailing to much. To those I say “there’s no such thing as emailing to much”. If your emailing valuable and useful information people will be glad to receive your emails no matter how much. This is an art of providing value in the emails but that is another topic all together. Besides it is never your goal to have as many subscribers on your list as possible but it is to make as many sales as possible. Emailing more many times results in more sales as well as higher unsubscribe rates !
Numbers to Watch
Open Rate – This is the first number I look after each mailing. I love to see high open rates, but I also know from experience (mine and others) that as your list grows your open rates drop (especially if you don’t do any advanced list segmentation). I recommend calculating your monthly average open rate. If at anytime your open rates drop below average this can mean a few of problems.
- Your subject line sucks and did not do its job of creating enough interest and desire to read the email.
- Your email delivery service sucks and you get low delivery rates (never happens if you use top service like Aweber)
- You emailed during or right prior to the high traffic time and your email got buried under the pile of others.
- Your subscribers just don’t like you
Before I go on I would like to point out that your open rates are always going to be less than what they actually are. That is due to the fact that the way open rates are calculated is by placing a 1px image in the email. Every time this image gets accessed on the server it is counted as 1 open. The problem with that is that some email providers automatically block images in the emails until the user does not manually turn on images. Those that don’t do not get counted.
Click Through Rate – This is the number of people who have clicked a link inside my emails. Measuring this number tells me whether the emails I have written are interesting or engaging. Low numbers could indicate that:
- The email copy is not good enough
- The email is lacking a strong call to action
- The message in the email is not properly matched to the email list
Complaints – You always want those who do not wish to receive or read your emails to unsubscribe from your lists and not mark you as SPAM. If you see high complaint numbers that means:
- You are writing emails that come off hypey and too salesy, resembling common spam emails
- You are hiding the unsubscribe link or making it too hard to see/find
Strive to have no complaints. Its ok to have one or two here and there but remember if enough people mark it as spam from now on most of your messages will end up in spam folder with that email provider.
This pretty much all the metrics I look out for when sending an email broadcast to my lists. I hope you find this useful and use it to improve your email campaigns. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments below. I read them all !