Email marketing is a powerful tool and one that every business should use. Most studies indicate that it usually has the highest ROI of any marketing a company can do. In my opinion, it should play a part in every business’s marketing plan and needs to be well integrated into that plan. If you are doing email marketing without a marketing plan, before even looking at your metrics, you should first be completing a marketing plan that indicates how email marketing plays into your overall plan and strategy. Depending on your strategy and plan, this can drastically change what your emails should include and the message they should convey.
The most important metric to measure for email marketing, I would argue, is not open rate or click-through rate, which so many people focus on. Instead, I would argue it is the amount of revenue you generate per email you send. At the end of the day, businesses are not in business to get email opens or clicks; they are in business to make money.
The problem is that it takes a system and dedication to be able to accurately track this. Sometimes sales that occur as a result of email marketing are not easily tracked back to email marketing. For example, if a customer receives an email and decides to purchase but places a phone call or makes a visit to a location to purchase instead of making a purchase online, this may not be tracked by your current systems.
Instead, I would suggest that a system needs to be put into place to track where all purchases come from so that even offline purchases can be attributed to the right marketing medium. If this can be done, you will have valuable information that directly shows what emails are the most successful at driving your business forward.
Second, I would argue that total impressions per email sent are the next most important measure to this measure. To demonstrate why this is, let us take a look at two different scenarios.
Emails sent = 1,000
Open rate = 30%
Total Opens = 300
Impressions Per Email Sent = 0.35
Total Times Email Is Viewed = 35 (1.16 times per reader)
Emails sent = 1,000
Open rate = 10%
Total Opens = 100
Impressions Per Email Sent = 0.5
Total Times Email Is Viewed = 500 (5 times per reader)
In this example, I will take scenario #2 with the lower open rate over scenario #1 any day. In scenario #2, the message is read many more times, and each person that does read it is, on average, reading it 5 times. Most studies indicated that they need to see it 5 to 7 times for a marketing message to stick with someone. Getting a higher read rate will give your marketing more punch and compel more people to purchase.
Besides, they will also be more likely to talk about your product or company to other people if they are engaged enough to read it multiple times instead of only once. Using the metric of total impressions per email sent ensures that you are working to have your message heard the most as it focuses on the total number of times your message is viewed.
If you focus only on open rate, it counts someone who views your message only once as equal to someone who views your message 10 times. Someone who views your message 10 times is definitely more valuable, though. That is why it is best to focus on total impressions per email sent, then open rate or click-through rate.
So the next time you are reviewing your email marketing efforts, don’t spend too much time fretting about click-through rates or open rates. Instead, only spend a little time trying to optimize them and focus most of your efforts on increasing revenue per email sent and total impression rates.