Every time you send out an email campaign, a wealth of information is available.  How many people opened, clicked on links or unsubscribed.  But it is all just numbers, if you don’t use the information to make decisions that improve your next campaign.

Regardless of the software you use for your email campaigns, the same types of data is available in the reports.  You can look at each campaign and see how many people opened your email, clicked a link inside or unsubscribed from your list. 

Here is some of the information you will find in your reports: 

Sent – This is the number of people who you hope to reach with the email. Unfortunately, people are busy and not everyone will open your email. Comparing the total sent to the number of people who open the email will give you insight into how good your list is and how interesting your subject line is.

Opens – The number of people who saw your email in their inbox and were willing to give you a few minutes of their time. Typically expressed as a percentage, this number gives you a quick snapshot of the level of interest of your audience over time.
With so many messages being delivered to the average consumer or business owner, open rates have fallen in recent years. These days a 15 – 20% open rate is average. However, you can improve this by sending more targeted emails to segments of your list, writing more interesting subject lines, and removing people who haven’t opened an email from you in a year or more.

Clicks or Click-throughs – This is the number of people who clicked on a link inside your email. The Click rate typically expressed as a percentage helps you compare the different types of offers and incentives.

Bounce – When an email is undeliverable it is said to “bounce.” There are several reasons an email will bounce. Some you can control like old, outdated email addresses or addresses with spelling errors. There are also reasons, such as your email being blocked by a spam filter or company policy or a temporary service outage at the delivery point. Use the bounce report to clean up your list, correcting any errors in your control.

Opt-out – Someone who received your email decided to unsubscribe from your email list.

Spam – This is more serious than a simple opt-out. In this case, the recipient received your email and does not believe they gave you permission to send email to them. If your spam complaints exceed 1/1000 you could find yourself in serious jeopardy of being prohibited from using certain email tools. Avoid spam complaints by only mailing to a permission-based list and reminding people from time to time how they ended up on your list. They may still choose to opt out, but they won’t file a complaint against you

Transforming Data Into Action 

You need to do more than just look at the numbers.  The tick is to pull meaningful data from your reports and create action plans for your next campaign. 

Improve Your Open Rate:
When you first start an email campaign, you’ll likely see a great open rate – but the honeymoon period won’t last long. Open rates will probably be the most volatile of all your performance metrics and can vary depending on your content, time of day and relationship with your customers.
Keeping your open rate high normally requires some experimentation. If your open rate isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, try one of the following changes: 

Frequency: If your main business is in large product or project sales (e.g. a home improvement company), customers aren’t likely to be bothered to hear your weekly news. Adjust the frequency of your emails based on your consumers’ habits and get the most out of your work. 

Subject Line: Often a culprit of low open rates, your subject line should be short (4-7 words) and should promise the customer value, such as saving them money or helping them avoid misfortune. 

Content: If your emails don’t contain relevant, engaging content, there won’t be reason for contacts to open future emails. 

Timing: The same email with the same subject line could be received much differently depending on when a contact receives it. Think about when your customer base makes decisions for your industry and target those specific tendencies. 

Audience: Maybe your list has gotten old.  People are tired of hearing from you, no longer insterested, or no longer even using the email list you have on file.  One way to address this is to send an email with the subject line – Do you still want to hear from me?  Encourage people to opt out if they are no longer intersted. 

It is better to have a smaller list of interested prospects than a large list of people who don’t care. 

Looking for More Tips to Use Email Metrics? 

Our FREE Email Metrics Workbook will help  you evaluate and develop action plans based on your open rates, click rates, SPAM and bounce rates.