All signs point to the incredible value of email marketing for everything from building brand awareness to improving lead generation to driving sales. Educators in particular rely on promotional emails to learn about the numerous teaching solutions available to them, including supplemental materials, classroom supplies and professional development materials. In fact, 66 percent of respondents in Agile and SheerID’s 2016 Understanding Teacher Spending & Loyalty survey stated that they value emails and e-newsletters for learning about teaching products and programs.
It’s clear that, in general, email is trusted by marketers and educators alike. Marketers use it to build relationships with prospects and nurture them through the sales cycle; educators use email to help make purchasing decisions. But how do you know if the emails you’re sending are effective?
You can determine if your messaging is helping you reach business goals by tracking the email data that comes in after every message deploys. Making this a habit after each email send can help you prove the need for email marketing within your organization, focus your email marketing efforts on what’s most important to your business, and improve email performance and response rates over time.
There are enough email data sets to make your head spin, and they range from high-level analytics to deep metrics. To determine which ones you need to track closely, ask yourself a simple question: What are my goals? Then identify the analytics that will help you measure them.
Here are six basic analytics you’ll likely want to follow and record:
- Open Rates: This measures the number of people who opened your message. According to IBM’s 2016 Email Marketing Benchmark Study, emails in the schools and education category see the highest average open rates at 30.9 percent. It’s important to note that while open rates can give you great general insight into trends in audience engagement, they aren’t always accurate. For example, some email providers don’t record opens if images aren’t enabled in the message.
- Click-Through-Rates: This tells you how many readers clicked on a link at least once within the group that opened the message. This analytic goes a step further than the open rate, giving you a good basic measure of audience action and email performance. IBM’s study revealed that emails sent in the schools and education category have the third-highest click-through-rates at 4.3 percent.
- Audience Demographics: Keep track of who makes up your audience, where they teach or work, what their job titles are, and more. Use this to determine how successful a campaign is among different audience members or in different locations. For example, teachers might prefer a different type of messaging than administrators. Or, maybe schools in the northeast are interested in different solutions than schools on the West Coast. The more you know about your audience segments and the types of emails they prefer, the more you can tailor your messaging and content to their particular interests.
- Unsubscribe Rates: When you see a number of people opting out of your emails, this could be a sign that you need to improve content quality, or that you need to segment your list into smaller groups to ensure you’re delivering information that’s relevant to different subsets of your audience. Try splitting your list into smaller ones sorted by school location, job title, area of teaching, or another defining characteristic. According to a Lyris study, marketers who segmented their emails achieved 28 percent lower opt-out rates.
- A/B Testing: Dividing your audience into two segments and testing variables such as subject lines, image preferences and offer wording can help you get to know your audience on a deeper level and tailor messages to their preferences. Just be sure to test one variable only at a time.
- Conversions: You’ve successfully converted an email recipient when they’ve opened a message and completed the action you asked them to do. This might be watching a product demo, downloading a white paper or enrolling in a free trial. Tracking conversions requires unique URLs that link the email to your website analytics.
The benchmark measurements provided here are a great starting place for organizations trying to ramp up their email measurement efforts. Over time, create your own data sets and metrics to compare your campaigns to. Agile’s experts are here to help you interpret the data, define your target audience and strategize your messaging. Contact us today to get started.