Metrics with E-mail Marketing Software

By Robert Burko | Posted March 04, 2008

With the right e-mail marketing application, the days of blindly conducting marketing initiatives without being able to track your success (and learn from your experiences) are a thing of the past. Now, e-mail marketing software makes it easy to measure the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing campaigns. With all this information at the marketer's fingertips, the pivotal question becomes, "How can I use it?" This article will discuss several key methods of using the reports from your e-mail marketing application to boost your results.

1. Your Open Rate Can Highlight Problems with Your E-mail Subject
One of the most important reports your e-mail marketing software will generate is the overall e-mail 'opens.' Your application might also divide this into unique opens vs. total opens. This is a vital metric because if people aren't opening your messages, they can't see the great offers or information you've put inside the message. This is generally the first report you should look at in your e-mail marketing application, since it can act as an early indicator of a problem with your e-mail name or subject.

With the many e-mail clients your subscribers may be using, all they can see is the 'from' name and subject. Then, they have to make a decision about whether or not to open the message. If you have a low open rate, the first thing you should do is ask yourself if people recognize the 'from' name you're using.

Most e-mail marketing software solutions will let you enter any from name you desire. Following this logic, if your customers know you as "Widgets Direct," and you send out the e-mail from "John Smith," that could be a contributing factor to your low opening rate.

The other piece of the puzzle is your e-mail subject. While creating your e-mail, you should be able to specify the subject. The objective of the subject line is to describe the contents of the message, while at the same time eliciting people's interest so they'll want to open your message. A lackluster subject could easily be an explanation for poor opening rates.

2. Link Click-Through Measurements Can Tell You Where Your Readers Are Looking
Knowing exactly which links are being clicked can be very helpful when planning future e-mail marketing campaigns. Most e-mail marketing applications will generate a report that shows you all the links in your e-mail message and compare the clicks each one receives.

This insight can be useful because it tells you where your contacts are looking and what interests them most. From this information, you can figure out if your audience is looking at the first featured article in the main section, an article in a side column or perhaps a quick links section. Everyone's audience is different, but with your software giving you information about which sections generate the most interest (and action), you can more effectively plan out future e-mail campaigns.

For instance, if you can see that your "Quick Links" section containing links to key parts of your Web site is a consistent click generator, then you can put important promotions or messages in that spot. And since clicks (in many cases) are what you need to generate sales, this is a measurement that shouldn't be overlooked.

3. Past Readership Habits Can Help You Segment Your List
Since your e-mail marketing application will generate reports that clearly identifies who is interacting with your e-mail marketing campaign (whether it's clicks, opens, forward, etc.), this opens up a world of opportunities for targeted e-mail follow-ups. The purpose of this section is to figure out who your key (or more active) contacts are, and then spend extra time marketing to them. This generally produces a greater ROI (return on investment).

With most e-mail marketing applications, you can take a cluster of people that performed a certain action (such as opening your e-mail) and save them as a targeted segment. This lets you send a specific e-mail marketing campaign to only those individuals who previously took your desired action.

Since you know these people are more qualified leads (after all, they already took the first steps toward interacting with you), it can be beneficial to spend more of your time, attention and marketing budget reaching out to these people. This doesn't mean that you should neglect your overall list, since you definitely want to keep your brand in front of as many eyes as possible.

If you have a limited budget, using the reports from your software to further segment your mailing list can let you hone in on the people who, based on past behaviors, are going to be more receptive to what you are communicating.

Robert Burko president of EliteE-mail.com, has been featured on TV, radio and print publications across North America for his e-mail marketing expertise.

Adapted from Webreference.com.

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