4 Metrics That Will Optimize Your Email Marketing

For every dollar spent on email marketing, brands generate nearly $41 in sales. 

In comparison:

  • Mobile marketing generates $10.51 per dollar spent.
  • Social media generates $12.71 per dollar spent.
  • Display advertising generates $19.72 per dollar spent.
  • Search engine marketing generates $22.24 per dollar spent.

Based on these statistics and general sentiments expressed by numerous companies utilizing digital marketing strategies, it’s safe to say that email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and impactful ways to engage customers and prospects.

That said, achieving email marketing success is not so cut and dry. There’s a science to it.

In order to ensure you get the most out of your email marketing efforts, you need to monitor and measure several different factors.

From there you can analyze what is and isn’t working and make changes to your strategy in order to achieve your wider business goals—such as increased engagement and conversions.

Whether you’re new to email marketing or have been utilizing it for a while but want to optimize your campaigns and strategy, check out these four metrics that will help you analyze email performance.

#1: Deliverability


A soccer player can’t analyze her performance at a game if she never shows up to the field.

In the same sense, business owners can’t improve email opens, clicks, and conversions if their emails aren’t delivered to the inboxes of prospects and customers.

Email deliverability (or acceptance rate) refers to the success rate an email marketer has in getting an email delivered to a subscriber’s email address.

You can calculate this rate by dividing the percentage of emails that are delivered by the number of emails that are sent, and a healthy percentage should be in the upper 90th percentile.

You may be wondering what affects deliverability and why.

Let’s back up a bit.

In the early days of email marketing, you could send an email and trust that it would be delivered to the intended inbox and seen by the receiver.

However, as email has evolved, various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Yahoo, Gmail, and AOL began introducing spam filters and other methods to weed out emails that receivers didn’t want to get.

Overall, this was a positive development for anyone wanting to maintain a clean inbox. After all, no one likes email scams or viruses.

The downside? Sometimes, emails from senders with perfectly good intentions will end up in that category if the emails are mistaken for spam.

If you find that you have deliverability issues and certain ISPs are rejecting your emails, look for ways to adapt your emails so they won’t be mistaken for spam.

For example, avoid specific keywords that may trigger an email client’s junk mail filter. Phrases such as…

  • big bucks
  • earn per week
  • free money
  • no credit check

Additionally, Mail Monitor is a great tool that alerts you to deliverability issues so you can end what they refer to as “spray and pray” campaigns.

#2: Open Rate


An open rate is exactly what it sounds like–the rate at which your emails are opened.

It serves as an indicator of how much subscribers actually care about the content you send them.

All email marketing platforms will track open rates, which is calculated by dividing unique opens by received emails.

As a benchmark, the average open rate for emails across industries is 32%.

Your email opens can be greatly affected by…

  • Subject lines: Unfortunately, most people do judge a book by its cover, and in the email world, your cover is your subject line. Make sure your subject line entices subscribers to open the email by keeping it short, building intrigue or excitement, and communicating value.
  • Delivery times: Certain days and times are better to send your email because subscribers may generally have more time to read emails and have less emails to go through at these times. These times change between subscriber bases and the type of industry you’re in, so run a few A/B tests to determine when the sweet spots are for your email efforts.
  • Segmentation: A particular offer and message tone will differ among various types of subscribers. Be sure to target your email marketing and increase open rates by sending the right emails to the right people. For example, you wouldn’t want to send an email promoting a sale on rave gear to senior citizens (you never know, but let’s assume it’s a very small percentage of the senior population).
  • Repeat sending: Some businesses find success in sending the same email twice in order to see a rise in open rates. Make sure that you allow enough time to pass between each send; otherwise, you could overdo it and irritate your subscriber.
  • Consistency and urgency: Once customers know to expect your emails on a regular basis–especially emails of value that build excitement or intrigue–they may make a habit of opening the emails you send.

Test different strategies with the variables above and track opens along the way, and you’ll be on your way to increasing your open rate.

#3: Click-Through Rate

Persuading people you email to open an email is only half of the equation.

Once they’ve opened an email, you want them to click something–most often a link to your website or online store.

Your click-through rate (CTR) is calculated by dividing the number of unique clicks by the number of unique opens. Like open rates, it can be tracked by most email marketing platforms.

CTR is most closely tied to making a sale–so ensuring that people are actually taking the desired action in your email and clicking through is essential.

If you notice that your CTR is low, it’s usually a sign that the copy within the email isn’t effective enough or you may have an unclear call-to-action.

As a general rule of thumb, aim to sell the click versus the product in your emails–your goal is to get them to your site where prospective buyers will be able to take a deeper dive into learning about the product or service you’re offering.

#4: Disengagement Rate

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s time to talk about the stuff no one likes to deal with–unsubscribes and spam complaints.

If you add these two factors together and divide by unique opens, you have your disengagement rate.

It can be hard to realize that a subscriber has been moved–for whatever reason–to take an action in order to disengage or report your emails.

Try not to take offense to this. Some people just won’t find your content relevant enough to their lives to allow your communication to fill up their inboxes.

That said, you will want to aim to have the large majority of your subscribers interested in and desiring your content.

In fact, if your average disengagement rate goes above 0.15%, you’ll start to see your deliverability drop.

To keep your disengagement rate low, make sure you’re giving your subscribers the value that was promised when they opted in.

Through A/B testing and other methods of testing what is and isn’t working, you’ll get closer to staying relevant to their needs and wants.

With 90% of consumers checking their email every day, underutilizing or ignoring email marketing will be a huge mistake for any business.

Start paying attention to these metrics, adapting your strategy, and from there, you’ll see more of the magic happen.

There’s a lot of dos and don’ts in email marketing, and it’s important to know what’s really valid.

Check out this post that debunks three popular email marketing myths. 


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