when looking at your email marketing metrics

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Looking at Your Email Marketing Metrics

11 min read

Every year marketers across the world say “Email Marketing is going to die”.

And every year they are proven wrong.

According to a study by DMA in 2019, Email marketing is one of the most profitable digital marketing channel generating an average value of 42$ for every dollar spent.

That`s a whopping 42x ROAS. Bet how many channels can do that.

But the most crucial aspect of email marketing is to know the right metrics to track and analyze.

Although these metrics are ever-changing because of frequent updates, we can get a fair idea by looking at the most important email marketing metrics below:

7 Most Important Email Marketing Metrics

1. Click through Rate (CTR)

CTR is undoubtedly the most important metric that can give you a clear picture of the performance of your campaign.

CTR measures the number of clicks received divided by the total number of emails sent.

For Example, You sent a Festive Season offer with a clickable link, CTR would tell you what percentage of subscribers clicked the link

Typically CTR is much lower than the Open rate because not all people who open your mail are going to click them.

Although CTR varies as per industry; the average CTR is approximately 4%.

2. Open Rate

As the name suggests, the open rate tells us what percentage of subscribers opened the mail.

This metric can be optimized by improving the subject lines of the mail.

With the various privacy updates being introduced by Apple, this metric is set to become unreliable in the future.

3. Bounce Rate

This metric tells us what percentage of subscribers didn`t receive the mail.

Soft Bounce tells us if there is a temporary issue with the email address.

While Hard Bounce suggests a permanent problem with the mail address. It includes email Id being unavailable.

Bounce rate gives you a fair idea of the quality of your subscriber list.

For Example, If the hard bounce rate is high, it means there are lots of old, fake or wrong email address in your list which you need to clean up.

In order to decrease bounce rate, one of the best practices is to use the double-opt-in feature.

It sends mail to subscribers for email address verification thereby reducing the chances of wrong mail ids.

4. Number of People Unsubscribed

This metric tells us how many people have unsubscribed from your mailing list.

This is usually done by clicking on the Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the mail.

Marketers should keep a sharp eye on this metric because of two reasons:

  • High number of unsubscribes suggests that mailer format and content has to be improved to suit customer needs.
  • Unsubscribes lead to a fall in domain reputation thereby affecting deliverability.

One of the methods to control unsubscribes is to give an option to set email receiving preferences as seen below:

When Looking at Your Email Marketing Metrics

This helps in fine-tuning the subscriber base and to deliver a better email experience to the customers.

5. List Growth Rate

This metric tells us the rate at which your email subscriber list is growing.

This is calculated by the below formula:

List Growth Rate = {(Number of New Subscribers – Number of Unsubscribes) / Total Subscriber Base}   *   100

You can track this metric to assess the effort required to grow your customer base and plan the budget accordingly.

 6. Spam Complaints

This metric shows how many subscribers have marked your mailers as spam.

Email Service Providers (ESP) always keep a close eye on such complaints.

If the complaints increase, it leads to reduced deliverability and even blocking domain in extreme cases.

This metric helps you assess the quality of your mailers along with the interest of subscribers. It is advisable to remove those subscribers from your list who mark your mails as spam.

7. Email Sharing Rate/ Forwarding Rate

The email sharing rate tracks how many times your mail has been shared on social media or via email.

It gives you an idea of the brand advocates or evangelists that you have earned.

This also acts as social proof for your brand as purchase decisions are highly influenced by the shares/ post from friends or acquaintances.

Now when we have identified the most important metrics, let us look at some of the most common mistakes that marketers should avoid in order to get better ROI.

11 Deadly Email Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

1. Not sending Welcome Mail

2. Not Focusing on Subject Line

3. Ignoring Buyer Persona and Interests

4. Ignoring Deep Marketing

5. Not Giving Subscribers a Chance to Reply

6. Ignoring Sender or Domain Reputation Metrics

7. Ignoring the Email Marketing KPIs or Metrics

8. Using Excess Inorganic (Purchased or borrowed) email list

9. Not Giving Clear Call to Action

10. Ignoring Uninterested Subscribers

11. Ignoring Mobile Optimization

1. Not sending Welcome Mail

Imagine you enter a restaurant, but no one greets you or asks you for water. How would you feel?

This is the same kind of feeling that a subscriber who just signed up for your newsletter or purchased from you feels if there is no communication post action.

Welcome emails are the first point of contact for the majority of companies.

Try giving value and establishing certain guidelines such that subscribers wait for your newsletters to show up in their inbox.

Below are some popular calls to action (CTAs) that can be used in a welcome mail:

  • Join Facebook Group
  • Join Community
  • Enter the Club
  • Subscribe to Blog/ Newsletter
  • Share with Friends and Get Extra Discount
  • Know Our Journey (Journey of the brand)

Check out this awesome welcome mail from Adidas

welcome mail from adidas

2. Not Focusing on Subject Line

Subject lines play a major role in getting subscribers’ attention.

Around 47% of customers decide whether to open or delete an email based on the subject line.

This drives one of the most important metrics; the Open Rate that has been discussed in this article.

Below are some points to keep in mind while drafting subject lines:

  • Provide value and don`t even try to mislead
  • Be clear, crisp and concise – The maximum character allowed is 50 characters, so make sure it becomes enough to gather interest
  • Avoid Fillers and unnecessary words
  • Sound Professional and don`t try to intimidate
  • Use personalization appropriately. Don`t force it.
  • Don`t ever use All Caps subject line. It sounds like you are yelling at customer and is huge turnoff
  • Use emojis only if required. Random emojis might divert attention

Below are some of the awesome subject lines:

“Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”

“(fire emoji) Hot freebie alert! 15 free gifts, you pick 5”

“Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring”

3. Ignoring Buyer Persona and Interests

Creating tailored content based on subscribers’ interests, needs, aspirations, etc. is a mammoth task.

But this can make or break your entire email marketing strategy.

In order to nail this, the buyer persona is often used by brands to create befitting content.

Below are the two major segments of a buyer persona that can help you create content:

  • Demographics: Details such as age, gender, marital Status etc. will tell you who your customers are.
  • Psychographic: Elements of personality like interests, thoughts, concerns, pain points etc. will help you in creating appropriate content that appeals to customers.

Doing email marketing without a buyer persona is like shooting in the dark where you have no idea what is going to work and what isn`t.

4. Use Segmentation and Conditional Content

Segmentation refers to creating groups of subscribers based on actions taken by them on your mail.

Segmentation can be done at multiple levels:

  • Based on opens, clicks, unsubscribes
  • Based on preferences set during signup or unsubscribe
  • Based on options chosen from within the mailer

Segmentation, on one hand, empowers the subscriber to consume what they want.

On the other hand, it helps you to understand the customer in a better way and to remove junk from your list.

Below is an example of segmentation from Hubspot where it gives the option to subscribe to receive mailers based on their interest:

Hubspot mailers

5. Not Giving Subscribers a Chance to Reply

Email marketing is definitely not one-way communication.

Subscribers wish to be heard as much as they want to listen to you.

Almost 67% of subscribers do not open emails after seeing the sender address as no-reply.

Therefore, never send emails from donotreply@yourdomain.com or no-reply@yourdomain.com address.

No one wants to talk to bots or lifeless forms.

Always make it a habit to send emails with personalized addresses like Tim from Nike or Thomas from Mattel.

Always allow subscribers free hand to get in touch anytime they want in order to establish better relationships.

6. Ignoring Sender or Domain Reputation Metrics

The sender reputation metric shows the authenticity and credibility of your domain.

This metric, if not monitored can lead to low deliverability or even blocking of the domain in extreme cases.

Below are some factors to be looked at for a good sender reputation:

  • Email bounce rate should be low
  • Volumes of email to the unauthorized lists should be avoided
  • The number of unsubscribes should be kept low
  • Spam or abuse complaints should be kept in check

7. Ignoring the Email Marketing KPIs or Metrics

The critical KPIs or metrics like Open rate, Click rate, Engagement Rate, etc. should be monitored regularly.

These KPIs are discussed above in detail.

They play a pivotal role in deriving insights and finding content that resonates best with the audience.

Without these analytics, it is difficult to develop and optimize the email marketing strategy.

8. Using Excess Inorganic (Purchased or borrowed) email list

A shockingly large number of marketers designs their email marketing strategy based on sending spam emails to purchased lists.

The bad news is you are bound to fail if you follow this strategy.

Below are the major factors that make this strategy a big NO:

  • No trust established with the list
  • Unreliable quality of lists (out-dated address, wrong id)
  • Marked as spammer directly affecting domain reputation
  • A high number of unsubscribes
  • Spamming to the unauthorized lists is banned in a number of countries

9. Not Giving Clear Call to Action

Once the mailer is sent, you will need the consumer to take action that should ultimately fulfill your objective.

Having a clear, short, and precise call to action is critical to take that action.

It is best practice to give a single CTA at multiple places and not to confuse the audience with tons of CTAs.

Your email copy should be such that it compels the recipient to click the call-to-action button.

Random CTAs without any relevance to the mail is not advisable.

For Example: If you are sending an invitation for the webinar, CTA should be REGISTER NOW rather than SHOP NOW

10. Ignoring Mobile Optimization

Recent stats suggest that 75% of all email opens are happening on mobile.

This is enough to emphasize the importance of optimizing your mailers for a small screen.

Most of the ESPs now have a design test tool for mobile and tablets.

Make sure you check the design for desktop, mobile and tablets before hitting send button.

Also, another way to test is to send a test mail to yourself and other stakeholders.

This helps in checking for mobile optimization as well as broken links, typos, broken images, etc.

Final Thoughts

We can safely assume that by closely monitoring the important metrics and avoiding the mistakes mentioned above, you can earn a good reputation as a brand.

However, mistakes are bound to happen.

So if you make a mistake and the train has left the station, make sure to write an apology letter and immediately create a plan to rectify the mistake and never repeat it again.

This leads to improved relationships with customers and ultimately better brand image.

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