Define Success: Email Marketing

Using generic metrics for gauging success is very common in email marketing.  Specifically the most common gauges are:

  • Open rate
  • Click rate

Don’t misunderstand, these metrics are important but for most email campaigns they should not be the defining factor in measuring success.  Success depends on the intent of the email.

Here’s an example, an email campaign that consists of one communication promoting an event and a second that offers informative tips.  The open rate matters in both cases as it is an indicator of subject line clarity and recipient loyalty.

In fact, for the informative tip the open rate is a good immediate indicator.  However, the rate of the email being forwarded might be a better gauge because it clearly indicates that recipients valued the content.  Even a fairly small percent of forwards is a major victory because this particular metric typically only records a fraction of actual forwarding activity.

For the event promotion opens are a good initial indicator and click through rates are important.  However drilling down to what was clicked on is typically more important.  Were people drawn to a video link, an image, a headline, or a particular hyperlink?  This information is a better gauge for success because it can be linked to who registered for the event as well as inform future communication on what draws the target audience.

Of course this is only a sample and other metrics would be more critical to success in other cases.  The point is that open and click rates are usually a starting point to evaluating a campaign.  They rarely are capable of being a stand-alone gauge for success.

Define Success for Your Online Marketing

It’s common for people to use general metric standards as a guideline for success when analyzing online marketing data.  This can lead to real problems with their campaigns because it doesn’t take into account individualized goals.

Each webpage, email communication, or social media post needs to have a clearly defined metric for success rather than being analyzed on general metrics. General metrics like visitors, open/click rates, or post views can be misleading on the effectiveness of online marketing.  This data is informative but should not be the measuring stick for most online marketing initiatives.

In upcoming posts we’ll look at three separate areas of online marketing and general metrics that people use to measure success.  We’ll then outline how in many cases the general metrics are feeding false assumptions.  The three areas we will focus on are:

  • Email Marketing
  • Website
  • Social Media