One of the best things about marketing yourself over the internet is that it provides you with a set of tools to see very clearly what your campaign is doing and how well it is working. These tools are called analytics, and they’re available to use both for web-based advertising in general and email-specific campaigns.
Unfortunately, analytics bring with them their own terminology that may not always be immediately clear if you’re not well-versed in computer marketing. That’s why we decided to define some of the basic terms so that even a layman can feel like they’re an expert.
Successful Deliveries. Just because you sent to 1,000 people, that doesn’t mean all of them got it. Your message might have been blocked by a filter or firewall, or “bounced” if a recipient’s inbox was too full or the address was incorrect. This is called a bounce rate and it’s important because it can tell you if the email list you have is current or needs to be updated.
If your number of successes is lower than you expected, you might want to try breaking up your email list into smaller groups and see if the percentage increases, or even talk to your internet provider about getting a static IP address. Why? Because if your IP changes frequently, some email programs will label you as a spammer and block your messages.
Open Rates. This is a broad term that actually covers a lot of ground. It tells you how many total times the message was opened (which can be misleading if some people opened it numerous times), the number of unique recipients who opened it, and things like the number of subscribers who did things like click on the email or download images in the message. Averages in the industry run from about 6 to 8 percent, but if possible you want to be closer to something like 20 percent.
Low percentages can tell you a number of possible things, such as that your campaign is targeting the wrong audience, or the message itself needs to be tweaked to incite interest. It’s not always immediately clear what you should change, but at least it tells you that something isn’t working.
Click-Through Rates. This tells you the total number of times your recipients clicked on any links you had in the email. For the most part, a click rate of 10 percent or higher is very good. These statistics can be broken down further to show you which links were clicked and how many times. That way, you have a better sense of the kind of content your audience wants and can focus on creating more of it. Experts say that you shouldn’t have more than two links per email to make it easier to understand why certain links get more traffic.
Forwarded Email. Unfortunately, you can’t track any of the above information for people who aren’t on your list, but if a bunch of your recipients are forwarding your emails on to their friends, at least you know you’re creating content that people find interesting. Plus, those people then have the option of joining the list.
Total unsubscribers. This is the number of people who saw your email and decided they didn’t want it anymore, so they asked to be removed from your list. Obviously, this is a bad thing, and if your number is high, it means you should take a long hard look at the kind of content you’re providing and how often you’re sending out messages.
Total Abuse Complaints. Sometimes, the people who get your emails will mark them as spam – even if they subscribed to the list! When this happens, a report is sent to your internet provider and they will send a warning to you. This is why it’s so important to keep updated recipient lists, because if your spam percentage goes above 0.1 percent, the bigger
internet providers will start blocking messages from you.
About the Author: Robert Woodford has been writing about a variety of email marketing tips online including free email newsletters for over a decade. When not writing, you can find him at home with his family or on the golf course trying to lower his handicap.