Hopefully you collect your customers' (and prospective customers') email address so you can send them tips, announcements, and special offers. Because email marketing is a highly effective way to stay in touch with your customers and generate revenues.
Depending on what emails you send, they can lead to customers calling you, buying something online from you, walking into your store, telling a friend about you, becoming more interested in purchasing from you, etc.
But, most entrepreneurs don't achieve these results. Why? Because they don't methodically track and improve their email marketing tactics.
Rather, to succeed, you must track certain key metrics and modify your strategies based on what you learn. Fortunately, tracking these metrics is simple using most email delivery/management services like ConstantContact, iContact, aWeber, etc. These services all have a tracking section where you can look at previous emails to see their delivery rates, open rates, and clickthrough rates.
Here are certain elements you must track.
You might think that if you have 1,000 people's email addresses and press "Send," that 1,000 emails will all arrive in the Inboxes of those people. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way. Emails don't all get delivered because they get sent to Spam folders on accident, get lost in transit, and for other reasons.
Typically, 5-10% of your emails won't get delivered. To improve deliverability, make sure people get removed quickly (or automatically) when they unsubscribe from your list. Also, don't send out irrelevant emails. Both high unsubscribe and low open rates can hurt your email delivery through certain email providers that your subscribers use (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc.).
Your email management service will tell you how many emails were opened, and what percentage of the total delivered emails that number represents.
Your open rate can vary a lot-mostly depending on the subject line. That's what people read in their inbox to decide if they want to open the email or not. You've only got about 55 characters (depending on the recipient's email provider), so choose your words carefully and persuasively.
If you send out 3 emails to promote a product of yours, and notice that more people opened one of the three than the others, it suggests that the headline was more effective. This would be a subject line to reuse in the future, or add as an autoresponder message that every new subscriber receives.
Or use the same language in your subject lines as in ads you run to generate leads. After all, you know it already gets the attention and interest of people in your target market.
Importantly, if you see your email open rates go down over time, it means you are not providing your subscribers with value in your emails. And as a result, people stop opening them. The ideal is for subscribers to be excited to open your emails each time they arrive.
Your email management service will also show you how many recipients clicked on a link (or links) that you placed in the email, and what percentage of opens and total recipients this represents (this "click" rate is known as the clickthrough rate).
You want to know your total clicks so you can estimate in advance how much traffic you'll get to the webpage you're promoting. And the percentage of people who click after opening is the main indicator of how persuasive the language was in your email body.
Another idea: Try sending an email with the same subject line to three groups of recipients, but use a different email body in each one. The open rates will probably be the same (because you used the same subject line), but the clickthrough rates will give you an apples-to-apples comparison of which email copy was more effective. Cool, huh?
When people click on your link, they will all visit the webpage to which you chose for them to be directed. What do you want to happen once they get there? Do you want them to read a blog post? Make a comment? Share on Facebook? Buy something?
Whatever you choose, there's a metric involved and a way to track it. You can use Google Analytics to see how much time visitors spent on your page (hopefully several minutes if you want them to read a post). You can count the comments on your blog. Your Facebook "share" button will tell you how many people shared your page. And your shopping cart service will tell you how many people made a purchase from that page. And if your goal was to get phone calls coming in, you can count the phone calls and ask what prompted them to call.
So know what actions to measure, because that's the whole purpose of sending your customers or readers email in the first place.
Importantly, if your goal was to generate sales, then you'll have a dollar amount for the revenue created as a result of sending out your email.
If you email 1,000 people and make $100...congratulations! You have revenue of $0.10 per subscriber. Now imagine if you had 10,000 and ask yourself if it's worth spending a few hundred or thousand dollars on building your email list.
In addition to these metrics, I track:
- New subscribers: how many new people have joined my email list
- Unsubscribes: how many people unsubscribed to my list (and then I look at the recent emails I've sent to see what may have caused this)
- Email revenue per subscriber per month: this is an important metric. If you know, for example, that the average email subscriber is worth $1 per month to you, and the average subscriber stays for 12 months, then you can consider marketing tactics to build your email list, and perhaps pay $1, $2 or even $6 or more per subscriber since you know you'll earn a good return on this investment.
Email marketing is a highly effective marketing tactic. But, you must track your results carefully and improve based on this market feedback.
Suggested Resource: Want to learn my complete strategy for methodically maximizing the success of your email marketing, plus get more online traffic, leads, sales and profits? Then check out my Ultimate Internet Marketing System.