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Laura MacPherson on August 15, 2018 (last modified on April 8, 2021) • 6 minute read
Opens and clicks are essential metrics, but they’re not enough to give you the full picture of how your email marketing is performing. Other important KPIs can help round out the picture, allowing you to get a more in-depth view of what’s going well and what could be going better.
These other metrics can also give you clues on how to improve your campaigns so you see better results. In this post, we’ll cover six often overlooked metrics that deserve more attention.
Knowing how many of your list subscribers call it quits each month is valuable intel. If you have an unsubscribe rate that’s consistently over 2%, it’s time for some serious reflection on why people are pulling the plug. Sending campaigns too often or sending emails with content that’s not resonating with your readers are two of the most common reasons unsubscribe rates reach unhealthy levels.
What to Change to Improve Results: If more than 2% of your people are unsubscribing, consider testing adjustments in frequency, content, or both to re-engage your readers. Also try segmenting your audience in different ways and test different types of content with each segment.
Even if your unsubscribe rate stays under 2%, your list size will eventually decrease if you’re not adding new readers at a healthy clip. You can grow your audience by encouraging current subscribers to spread the word to their friends and colleagues, offering bonus content to subscribers that’s not available elsewhere, or adding a widget on your website that prompts visitors to subscribe. By keeping tabs on how quickly your lists grow, you’ll gain important feedback on how effective your efforts have been.
What to Change to Improve Results: If your list growth is stagnating, brainstorm ideas for bonus content to offer exclusively to subscribers then promote the offer on your website and social media channels.
Your bounce rate is the percentage of email addresses that return an error after an email gets sent out. Email bounces come in two types: hard bounces and soft bounces. A hard bounce flags an email address as invalid or non-existent. In this case, the email never hits the target because the target was never there in the first place.
The soft bounce happens when an inbox is full or the server hosting the email account is down. With a soft bounce, all’s not lost. Once space in the inbox gets freed up or the server comes back online, your email will find a place to roost.
Bounce rates matter because they’re one of the leading factors ISPs use to rank a sender’s reputation. (And a low sender reputation score means that your emails may be sent directly into the spam box, even if they’re high-quality emails.) A higher-than-average bounce rate could point to issues with a specific email client or the email message itself.
What to Change to Improve Results: Take time to tidy up your email lists to preserve your reputation with ISPs.
Knowing just how your subscribers are accessing your emails can inform how you design your emails. While you should always use templates that look good on mobile devices, if most of your opens happen on a smartphone, you’ll want to take extra care to prioritize these recipients. A more concise design, less text, and fewer options for clicking out to additional content can streamline the experience for small screen readers. If you cater to a mostly desktop accessible crowd, you’ll have a greater degree of flexibility in layout and content requirements. If you don’t know how people are reading your messages, you’re in the dark on how to best dish out the meal you’re serving.
What to Change to Improve Results: Once you learn how recipients are accessing your emails, make appropriate changes to your design templates.
Your message doesn’t need to be spam in order to be flagged as spam. Recipients will often hit the Report Spam button because it’s more convenient than scrolling to the bottom of an email to hunt around for the unsubscribe link. Engaging subject lines, valuable content, and a send rate that matches your recipients’ expectations will help keep your spam complaint rate low.
What to Change to Improve Results: If you’re still getting spam complaints even after focusing on subject lines, content, and send rates, try making your unsubscribe link highly obvious. The more convenient you make unsubscribing for those who aren’t interested in your content, the better.
Conversion rate is arguably the most important metric. How many people took the action you hoped they would when they opened up your email? Conversion rate doesn’t have to relate to a purchase. A conversion could be completing a survey, downloading an app, or whatever your primary CTA calls for. Knowing just how effective (or ineffective) your messages are at spurring subscribers to take a desired action will help you improve the quality of your copy and your CTAs.
What to Change to Improve Results: If your conversion rate is low, try testing different versions of your copy and CTA. Test not only the messaging but also the way the messaging is presented.
Focusing on these additional six metrics will give you the information you need to make your campaigns better. You’ll get a more complete view of what’s resonating with your subscribers and what’s driving them away. With this data, you can make the right changes to boost your campaigns’ performance.
Editor’s note: Want to get notified when important KPIs trend up or down? Get Databox alerts for your KPIs or start receiving performance insights directly in Slack now.
Want to easily view essential email marketing KPIs? Use the following dashboards to get the data you need:
What other email marketing metrics are you tracking?
Need a quick update on your email campaign performance? With Scorecards, you can select up to 15 metrics and automate performance updates of those metrics to your whole company or specific departments.
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