Ahh. If only there were one simple answer to the question I posed above.
The fact is, there are so many metrics email marketers can use that it's easy to feel confused. Here's a quick primer I hope you find of interest . . .
Check out these common email performance metrics.
Open rate. The percentage of recipients that just open your email.
Click-through rate. The percentage of recipients who click on a link in your email.
Delivery rate. The number of emails sent minus bounces.
Conversion rate. The percentage of recipients who respond to your call-to-action. (Downloads, phone responses, etc.)
Earnings per click/email. It's a key measure of your profitability. Are you keeping track of this?
Orders, downloads, transaction rates, average order size.
Unsubscribe rate. Too large a number means you're not meeting your readers' needs.
Hard bounce rate. It shows you email addresses that no longer exist. Delete them.
Soft bounce rate. Typically mail boxes that are full. Don't chuck these out.
Spam complaints. Don't let your complaint rate top .04%.
Referral/forward rate. It shows you how many readers liked your email enough to send it on to a friend or colleague.
Churn rate. It measures how much your list has grown after you take into account unsubscribes and hard bounces.
And that's just for starters!
Choose the metric that fits your specific business needs.
If you publish an e-newsletter like I do, you might pay attention to your open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, and referral/forward rate.
If you're a retailer, you'll probably pay most attention to the number of orders per emails sent, your average order size, and the like.
After you determine which metrics you want to track, monitor them over time. If your results keep getting better, celebrate. If you suddenly get a strange result, like an unusually low open-rate, look closely to see what's going on. (Maybe you just used a lousy subject line or are facing deliverability issues.)
Here's how I can help you boost email results.
No matter what metrics you wind up using, email success depends on using a good list, a solid offer, and great copywriting! That's where I come in. I specialize in writing emails that get results for clients like Microsoft Great Plains, Intuit, Citrix, Symantec, and many other terrific companies, large and small.