Imagine your are flying a plane. From the captains chair you look around, certainly a nice view. In your cockpit are also lots of gages and meters, like speedometer and altitude. A layout of the cockpit is made so that the primary gauges – the ones you look at the most – are clustered towards the center of the dashboard. There are also secondary gages like the fuel gage, engine temperature and oil pressure.
I am not an aircraft pilot, I’ve never even flown a plane, but an experienced pilot will tell you they go through a whole checklist before takeoff. For safety they check their gages, failure to do so might end in flying blind or even crashing the plane. Same goes for your email marketing metrics and KPIs.
Tap the window if your metrics seem broken
Some marketers want to measure how successful their campaign is, but look at the wrong metrics… Can you imagine that happening with a pilot? Of course they know what each gage is for… Well that is a discussion for another time.
In most cases average email marketing results – might hide some valuable information, but what i’d like to point out in this article, is that sometimes you will see remarkable results (or the lack thereof) from your emailings but you doubt if they are really telling the whole story.
In those cases always be sure to tap the window of the gage’s three times and investigate a bit further. See if they aren’t broken or if there is a special explanation for the changes. For instance…
Your open rate might be broken if…
- You report on total opens instead of unique opens
- Your email list has a big portion of unengaged subscribers
- Your subject line is always the same or always different but you aren’t split testing
- You send out an email at extraordinary time or date, like during holidays,
Your click-through rate might be broken if…
- You include all types of clicks in your reporting, including unsubscribes and view online version link
- Your email isn’t displaying well on mobile devices
- You look at total clicks instead of unique clicks
- There was no offer or compelling reason to click in the email
Your conversion rate might be broken if…
- You aren’t measuring conversions from email
- The landing page isn’t compelling
- Your products or pricing suck
- There is a long buying cycle for your products or services
In a previous article we went into the difference between metrics and KPIs in email marketing. By now I hope you are feeling the need to deeply understand and add meaning to the numbers that you report on.
A three-dimensional view of your email campaigns
Open clicks and conversions interact with each other, it is like the pitch-yaw and roll of an airplane. So always look at them together for a more three-dimensional view of your single campaigns.
If you are getting a high open rate, but lower click-throughs, it can be that your subject line was interesting, but the email didn’t connect to that. On the other hand, if you get a very low open rate, but incredible click-throughs, it might just be that your email was perfect – but only for a portion of your email list.
If the email shows good metrics, but they aren’t converting into sales very well, that should prompt you to go back to the email and see where in the whole chain of email reporting something goes wrong. Drilling down on email reporting can really help you get the most out of it and give you new ideas for testing or fixing.
Changes that have great impact
All the gages might point north if there was a big change in your email program. A redesigned template can really liven things up, simply because it is new. But will the uplift be permanent?
A big influx of new newsletter subscribers (maybe after using these email subscription form tips) or removing of inactive ones can seemingly boost performance through the roof. And increasing frequency can put a damper on your open rates.
A good pilot knows in which direction he is flying (strategy) and how he is defining success (KPIs). Read your metrics, be sure to add meaning and check your gages, but, and most of all, don’t let a broken gage crash your plan(e).