Understanding the performance of your email marketing is not always as simple as your delivery or open rate. It can be much more complicated than that.
If you are reading this post to find out a benchmark for open rates or delivery metrics for the email campaigns or programmes that you run, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you simply want to get better then please read on.
I’ve previously written about the importance of Agile Marketing and dealing effectively with constant change (perpetual beta), finding effectiveness within your email marketing is a key part of applying Agile Marketing to your business.
Based on a recent debate I attended at a recent DMA Email Council, here are seven points that you should consider when you are looking to create effective email programmes within your business.
1. Let’s start with metrics
In terms of email effectiveness, open rate is an easy measure for email – it is also generally accepted as ‘the measure’ for email marketing. Mailchimp keeps a rolling industry average – the average open rate being 21%. This is a useful metric – especially for Websand as our client average is +30% open rate.
However open rates only really become relevant once the optimisation metrics are at an acceptable level – if you send an email to 100,000 people and it only gets delivered to 80,000 then is that effective?
I’d suggest not, if you are in that position, then to be effective you’d first need to focus on the bounce, junk, spam and block metrics and increase the deliverability of the email that you are sending.
So it makes sense that the first measure of email effectiveness is delivery, “if the email doesn’t arrive all other metrics are irrelevant”.
2. Your position in the ‘email’ supply chain
Email marketing can involve many different parties. For the bigger brands it will mean dealing with at least one agency as well as internal departments. So it’s logical that the measure of email effectiveness can be different for different people based on their position in the process.
For example, if you are responsible for the creation and application of an email campaign, then your measurement of effectiveness would be based on how well the email has performed based on the metrics in relation to that email.
Did it arrive? Was it opened? How many clicks?
The effectiveness of an email agency could be based on the % delivery of the email communications issued.
Whereas the effectiveness of a creative agency could be measured on the ‘open’ rate of the email communication they have created for the client.
Internally the client could measure the effectiveness of the email based against the business objective of the communication or email programme as a whole. That could mean that email effectiveness is actually measured by customer behaviour beyond the tracking of the email communication.
For example, did (or does) the email programme (continue to) result in the outcome that we wanted. That could be increased web traffic, increased social engagement, more inbound phone calls, increased sign ups, or more sales.
This can make measuring email effectiveness very difficult to measure – which is why Websand tracks customer behaviour within the business as well as the normal email tracking metrics of delivery, open and click.
3. How does your email perform?
Email effectiveness is specific to your business and the history of your email marketing.
The working of each business is different, the ‘brand’ positioning, the position of the email within an email programme. The metrics (and therefore perceived effectiveness) could be different for each email.
One suggestion to create email effectiveness would be through Continuous improvement based on the history of performance for each email communication.
So your email effectiveness could be measured based on the email performed vs…
- the last email communication issued
- the overall email metrics within the business
- the industry average for your sector
Follow the lead of British Cycling, or the sports science techniques adopted to incrementally improve performance against a specific metric that you set for your email marketing. If you want to find out more on this process, I’d recommend this book by Simon Hartley – Two Lengths of the Pool: Sometimes the simplest ideas have the greatest impact
4. The importance of email to the bigger picture
How important is email effectiveness to your business? In most cases, email is a cog – obviously a very important cog – in the marketing mix. Your marketing will be driven by an overall marketing strategy which has been devised to achieve specific business related objectives.
The importance of creating effective email programmes to your business could depend on the volume of email issued, the % of marketing budget assigned to email marketing, or the marketing strategy – is email adopted on a programmatic scale or in support of a series of campaign based marketing activity.
5. Where you stand within the business
Email effectiveness is different for different people in the organisation.
At C-level, the effectiveness of email will be judged on the overall impact email marketing on overall business performance against business objectives. The question the board want answered is ‘does this make a difference?’
On a managerial level, the effectiveness of email will be managed against a lower level metric, such as need to raise web traffic, sales or registrations. The question the manager needs to answer is ‘did this strategy work?’
On an operational level, the effectiveness of email should be judged against previous benchmarks of email performance and focus on the mechanics of email marketing – that is delivery (make sure it gets there) and open (make sure it is engaging). The operational question is did the email process work as well as it could have.
All three questions are perfectly valid questions, and in most small businesses it’s likely that it’s the same person that needs to answer all of three questions.
6. Your metric for email effectiveness (laissez-faire approach)
The metric you decide on for your email effectiveness is unique to you. It’s your metric. It could be open rate, it could be delivery rate, it could be £ generated per email. If you send regular newsletters then your measurement for email effectiveness is likely to be different to a full automated email marketing programme.
When you are looking to create effective email programmes, you decide on the best way to measure the effectiveness of the email programme you create. Just remember if you don’t have a performance metric you’ll never improve.
7. The email marketing software you need
Email marketing can be a simple exercise, but it is increasingly becoming more complicated and more important. For example, when Instagram looked to increase customer engagement they decided the best way was to create effective email programme.
The complexity of how you use email marketing in your business will determine which email marketing software fits the requirements. Do you need a simple email system to send the same message to everyone, or do you need something more sophisticated to create effective email programmes.
In our opinion, the route to email marketing effectiveness is through managing the data that you need to send the right message to the right person at the right time for the right result.
Measuring email marketing effectiveness can be really difficult. Our marketing automation software makes life easier. Websand makes it easy to create sophisticated email programmes, understand which email messages are effective and where you can improve.
How to get effective
When you are looking to improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns, you need to consider…
- Your operational metrics.
- Previous performance of your email campaigns.
- Your position in the email marketing process (agency, marketing manager, business, all three?).
- Importance of email to the bigger business picture.
- Your position within the business.
- What effective email means to you?
- The software that you need to control, measure and create an effective email programme for your business.
We wish you well in creating effective email marketing programmes.
Of course, if you need some help, we’d love to help you.
We can help you to get more sophisticated with your email marketing and build some data driven email marketing programmes. Or simply help you get a little more effective with your current email marketing activity.
Email marketers love to record a click, so either click on the banner below, or Click here and let’s have a chat
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