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Email Marketing: what is it & how to measure its success

More than 4 billion people across the planet use email. So if you’re looking to meet customers where they are, that meeting place might just be their inbox.  

That’s one of the reasons email marketing is as successful as it is — email marketers report having an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent.  Pretty incredible, right? So stop asking what email marketing is, and start asking how you can perfect your email marketing strategy (psst… we can help with that). 

But if you still have to ask…

What is email marketing?

Ready for this groundbreaking answer? It’s the use of email within your marketing strategy. Boom. Blog over. End of speech. 

It’s the perfect blend of digital and direct marketing. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular digital marketing channels with 87% of businesses using email to distribute content. It’s an efficient way to promote products, introduce services, and invite people to events. The list goes on and on. 

On the other less sales-y side of things, email marketing is a way to keep your customers engaged. Educate them on industry news, keep them in the loop with the goings on at your business, or send them a note for the holidays. Again, the list goes on and on. 

Is there a downside to email marketing?

Maybe “downside” is the wrong word (c’mon Mr. Copywriter!), but there are certainly some things to keep in mind when it comes to creating email content. 

Here are some things to keep an eye on:

Spam – Avoiding spam filters is critical for getting your email content in front of the right people. In January 2004, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 became law, setting compliance regulations for businesses emailing potential customers. 

Here’s the 30,000-foot view at the regulations to ensure you don’t get flagged: don’t use deceptive headers, from names, reply-to addresses or subject lines; provide unsubscribe links, which must work for at least 30 days; and you must include a physical mailing address.

Size matters – Don’t overstuff your emails. Pack an email with too much content, or images files that are too big, it could take a long time to load. Or, even worse, not load at all. All that loading time does is give potential customers time to tune out. 

Hoards of competition – Like we touched on earlier, 87% of companies reported using email as part of their digital marketing strategy. That means there’s a lot of people vying for space in customers’ inboxes. Be wary of that. Make your subject lines compelling enough to stand out and demand action. 

Low engagement rates – People are impulsive. A potential customer might see your ad out in the world and sign up for emails, hoping to take advantage of whatever sale you’re running. But then they don’t use the code, and they’re just sitting, not engaging, in your database. 

Because there will likely be passive folks on your list, you have to constantly be coming up with ways to engage your audience. Without engaging content, you’ll have a low open rate and, even worse, lots of unsubscribes. 

How are people reading these? – Nowadays, there’s a screen everywhere. And people could be reading emails on any of them. Could be a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, watch, TV. It’s important to keep that in mind when creating email content.

Email marketing metrics

Forgive us for defining these metrics, some of them are super self-explanatory. But you’re here looking for background, so background you will get. 

Here are some basic email marketing metrics:

Open rate – Your email open rate is the percentage of recipients who open your emails. And while there are certainly more important metrics like clickthrough and conversion rates, open rate serves as the foundation. Because if customers aren’t opening your emails, there’s no hope for them converting. And it all starts with a catchy subject line.

Clickthrough rate – Your clickthrough rate is the percentage of recipients who click on one or more links in the email. Shorthanded as CTR, this metric should be an integral piece of your email marketing strategy. CTR gives you a clear picture of exactly how many people are interested in, and engaging with, the content you’re sending. 

Conversion rate – Your conversion rate is the percentage of recipients who clicked a link and completed an action, like purchasing a product. The purpose of any marketing campaign is to get customers to convert, so having an understanding of where your conversion rate stands will be imperative for adjusting and optimizing content.

Bounce rate – Your bounce rate is the percentage of emails that are not delivered successfully. There are two different types of email bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces. 

A hard bounce comes when you send an email to a closed or non-existent email address. Do your best to remove these email addresses from your list as soon as they’re discovered, ISPs (internet service providers) use bounce rates as a key element of your sender reputation. 

Soft bounces happen when there’s an issue with a valid email address, like a full inbox or issues with the recipient’s servers. Some servers may hold on to the email for delivery once the issue clears up, or you can resend the email later. 

Unsubscribe rate – Your unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients who unsubscribe from your list after opening an email. But keep in mind, unsubscribe rate is not a perfect metric for understanding your email marketing success. There are plenty of subscribers who will just let emails sit and clutter their inbox in favor of going through the unsubscribe process.

We know. It’s a lot. 

So if you don’t want to deal with it, that’s perfectly understandable. 

But ignoring your email marketing strategy entirely is probably a bad business choice. A good business choice? Letting 1744 Marketing take over your email marketing efforts. This writer would go so far to say that it’s a great business decision. But he is a little biased. 

Want to hand over the keys to your email marketing? 

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