Emailing is a complex science. Of course, you can learn a lot about how to optimize it to make it relevant to your audience. However, you will also need reliable metrics to rely on to measure results and determine if your goals have been met.
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Before any e-mailing campaign, be sure to ask yourself a few questions. What is the objective of this campaign? Is it about attracting new subscribers, generating leads, or converting more leads into customers?
Whatever the objective (s), it is necessary to select the indicators to follow to assess your progress. Here are just 7 KPIs to take into account for your emailing strategy. Among them, some are moreover particularly suited to specific objectives.
Emailing: 7 KPIs to know
- The click-through rate.
- The conversion rate.
- The rejection rate.
- The growth rate of the contact list.
- The overall ROI.
- The number of disengaged subscribers.
- The number of new leads generated.
1 – The click-through rate
- Definition: this is the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email.
- How to calculate it: (total number of clicks OR unique clicks ÷ number of emails delivered) x 100
- Example: 500 total clicks ÷ 10,000 emails delivered x 100 = 5% click-through rate
(You can base this on both total clicks and number of unique clicks, as long as you always use the same formula.)
The click-through rate (CTR, for click-through rate) is probably the most followed indicator by marketers. It is the benchmark for email marketing because it makes it easy to calculate the performance of each email sent. It is also possible to follow its evolution over time.
CTR is also used to measure the results of A / B tests, as these often aim to identify ways to generate more clicks. CTR is an essential metric for all marketers using email: it reveals how many contacts are engaging with the content sent and are interested in the brand or offers offered.
If you’re using HubSpot’s free emailing tool, access this metric by going to Marketing> Email and the ‘Analyze’ tab:
2 – The conversion rate
- Definition: this is the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in an email and took the expected action, such as filling out a form or purchasing a product.
- How to calculate it: (number of contacts who performed the expected action ÷ total number of emails delivered) x 100
- Example: 400 contacts who performed the desired action ÷ 10,000 emails delivered x 100 = 4% conversion rate
After a contact clicks on an email, the next goal is often to generate a conversion – that is, to get the contact to take the requested action. So, if an email invites the reader to download a free eBook, for example, any contact who has downloaded that eBook is equivalent to a conversion.
The definition of a conversion depends directly on the call-to-action associated with the email, which must meet the overall objective of the campaign. The conversion rate is therefore one of the most important indicators in determining whether the objectives of an email marketing campaign are being achieved.
To measure email conversion rate, you need to integrate your email sending platform and web analytics. You can do this by creating unique tracking URLs to associate with in-email links. These URLs help identify the source of clicks from a particular email campaign.
3 – The rejection rate
- Definition: this is the total percentage of sent emails that were not delivered to a recipient’s inbox.
- How to calculate it: (total number of rejected emails ÷ number of emails sent) x 100
- Example: 75 rejected emails ÷ 10,000 emails sent in total x 100 = rejection rate of 0.75%
Two types of releases can be tracked: permanent releases (hard bounce) and temporary releases (soft bounce).
Temporary rejections are the result of an intermittent malfunction with a valid email address, such as when an inbox is full or when a problem occurs on the recipient’s email server.
Permanent rejections are generated by an incorrect, deleted, or non-existent email address. These emails can never be delivered. Corresponding email addresses should be immediately removed from the contact list, as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) take deliverability into account when calculating a sender’s reputation.
4 – The growth rate of the contact list
- Definition: this is the growth rate of the email address list.
- How to calculate it: ([(nombre de nouveaux abonnés) – (nombre de désabonnements + signalements pour spam)] ÷ total number of e-mail addresses on the list]) x 100
- Example: (500 new subscribers – 100 unsubscribes and spam reports) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list x 100 = 4% list growth rate
In addition to indicators relating to call-to-action (CTR, conversion rate), it is recommended to monitor the evolution of the contact list. The goal is to feed this list in order to extend your reach, widen your audience and position yourself as an expert in your field. An email marketing list is experiencing natural erosion: about 22.5% of contacts expire each year. Maintaining the growth of the list is therefore a capital issue if you want to preserve your reach.
5 – The overall ROI
- Definition: it’s the overall ROI of your email campaigns, that is, total revenue divided by total spend.
- How to calculate it: [(valeur en € des ventes supplémentaires réalisées – coût en € de la campagne) ÷ coût en € de la campagne] x 100
- Example: (€ 1,000 in additional sales – € 100 invested in the campaign ÷ € 100 invested in the campaign) x 100 = 900% return on investment for this campaign
Note : this is the basic formula for calculating the ROI of email marketing, but other approaches exist. Choose the formula best suited to your activity.
As with all marketing channels, being able to quantify the overall ROI of your email marketing campaigns is essential. If you haven’t already, set up a framework contract system to assign different values to different types of leads based on their revenue generating potential.
How many leads of each type are generating your email marketing campaigns? How to translate these results into potential added value? And in real turnover? This type of indicator allows you to demonstrate to your hierarchy or your sales team that email marketing is producing concrete and tangible results.
6 – The number of disengaged subscribers
It is important to track and increase the number of subscribers, but also to track disengaged subscribers, or even remove them from the list if necessary. Indeed, sending emails to contacts who do not interact with can deteriorate the overall deliverability rate of your emails. This type of e-mail is referred to as graymail. Email clients may experience low engagement rates and forward emails from affected companies directly to the Recipients Junk folder. Technically, emails are sent and delivered, but in reality they go completely unnoticed.
7 – The number of new leads generated
With some strategies, it is the number of new leads generated that takes precedence as a key performance indicator. In this case, the sent emails must contain lead generation offers, that is, content that is only accessible after submitting a form.
If your goal is to generate leads, you should track the number of leads generated each day, week, and month. Depending on your priorities, you can take into account all the leads generated, or only the new leads added to your database.
To go further in your emailing strategy, download this optimization checklist and multiply the ROI of your marketing emails.