Summary: You already have the information necessary to create an email strategy for your small business. Want to learn about email marketing? Read more here.
Email marketing is one of the oldest types of digital marketing (did you know the first ever email was sent in 1971?) and is still used widely by businesses because it works. And the beauty of email is that you can create targeted email marketing campaigns by leveraging your customer data and using what you know about your customers and their intent.
If you want to know if your campaign was successful, certain email marketing metrics must be measured. You can get started with one of many free email marketing tools available to small businesses or connect with a WSI digital marketing consultant in your area to dive more deeply into your metrics and what they mean.
What should you consider before using email marketing for your business?
The Future of Contextual Marketing
Contextual marketing is the process of delivering marketing content such as emails, blog posts, offers, or ads to customers at a specific point in their buyer’s journey. For contextual marketing to work, timing and details are important.
What does this mean for a targeted email marketing campaign? Before creating an email, you must first know the context of your audience, customers, or leads. Use everything you know about them to build audience profiles and buyer personas. Based on this, you can create personalized, targeted, and relevant email marketing campaigns.
Why should you use contextual marketing in your email marketing strategy? It converts better and increases retention because your focus is on what the customer needs. When they feel you are specifically solving their problem, they are more likely to open the email and click or convert.
Measure Intent Instead of Vanity Metrics
Data remains the best way to measure customer intent for a business using email marketing. By analyzing behavior over time, you can identify trends like whether your content is driving engagement on your website or if recurring search engine queries are leading to conversions like newsletter sign-ups, purchases, or in-store visits. So knowing all this—what email marketing metrics could you use to gather data and ultimately target these prospects?
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
This is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in your email. Why is it important to track? Because it provides direct insight into the number of people on your email list that engage with your content, that want to learn more about you, your brand, and what you’re offering.
- Conversion Rate
This measures the percentage of email recipients that click on a link within the email and complete the desired action (such as filling out a form or purchasing a product), thereby converting on the offer in the email. Always include a call-to-action in your email that is connected to the overall email marketing goal.
- Bounce Rate
The bounce rate indicates the percentage of all emails sent that could not be delivered to the recipient’s inbox. There are also two types of bounce rates – a soft bounce means there is a temporary problem with a valid email address, while a hard bounce suggests the email address is non-existent, closed, or invalid. Removing invalid addresses from your email send list is critical to keeping your send list healthy.
- List Growth Rate
This is the rate at which your email list grows, and ideally, this will plot as a smooth, upward curve. You should also work hard to regularly increase your list with new contacts, as it naturally shrinks yearly due to various factors such as people changing email addresses, choosing to opt out of your messages, and more.
- Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
This is the percentage of email recipients who share your content with their social network or forwarded your email to a friend. Why should you track this? Because it’s a way to grow your email list with new contacts! Make it easy for your emails to be shared – your readers should be encouraged to share your information.
- Overall ROI
Measuring the overall return on investment (ROI) for email campaigns can show how the channel drives tangible results. To achieve this, set up a service level agreement (SLA) system and assign values to various types of leads based on how likely they are to generate revenue for the business.
- Open Rate
Determining the percentage of email recipients who opened an email can be misleading, as it only counts as being “opened” if the recipient receives the images embedded in the message, and many people block the option. Despite this, you can still use open rate as a comparative metric.
- Unsubscribe Rate
The percentage of email recipients that unsubscribed after opening an email helps calculate the overall email list growth rate.
In September 2021, Apple announced the iOS15 data privacy changes, which included an update that decreased access to email analytics. The three main changes meant the ability to accurately track open rates was eliminated, users’ IP addresses were hidden while browsing the internet, and users could mask their real email address with a fake one.
Research done nearly a year later highlights how email marketers have adapted to this change. And interestingly, the majority of email marketers surveyed indicated the change did not really impact their overall email marketing strategy.
Creativity Will Rule
One way of improving email deliverability is by being creative—and a good place to start is with the email subject line. Closely entwined with the email open rate metric, the email subject line is the audience’s first impression of an email and influences their decision to click or convert.
Let’s look at some good practices when writing a subject line:
- Learn from other subject line examples
- Use numbers, emojis, and interesting punctuation
- Pose a compelling question
- Write something that makes people feel special
- Avoid writing the whole line in capital letters – it comes across as SHOUTY! 😆
An attention-grabbing subject line should have some of the basic elements above but must always align with your brand. These elements include creating a sense of urgency for readers to act, making them inquisitive enough to open the email, or giving something away for free. Guided by contextual marketing, when you know what your reader likes, then send an email with personalized content.
A great email subject line should be followed up by an email banner that stands out visually. Fortunately, there are lots of free online graphic design tools that could help you with visual content creation for your email marketing campaign.
WSI believes in better digital marketing and has an award-winning dedication to our craft. We have won digital marketing awards every year for the last 14 years and plan on winning more next year. Do you want to learn more about email marketing and crafting a targeted message for your customers? Then get in touch with our WSI Consultants today!
About the Author: Cecilia Decima, WSI, Marketing Project Manager
Part of the Marketing & Communications team at the WSI Home Office, Cecilia also heads up WSI’s Google Alliance Group.