A wall of canned spam
A wall of canned spam

Are Your Marketing Emails Effective?


Effective email marketing is one of the greatest tools in any business's arsenal for building a repeat customer base and increasing sales. Well, you can see why, considering there are over 4 billion daily email users.

Effective email marketing is one of the greatest tools in any business's arsenal for building a repeat customer base and increasing sales. Well, you can see why, considering there are over 4 billion daily email users.

Fortunately, tapping into this market is easier than you think as long as you track your campaign over time. Let's talk about the essential email marketing KPIs, how to track them, and what you can do to improve them in your email campaigns!

Most Important Email Marketing KPIs to Track

Like any marketing strategy, email marketing has key performance indicators or KPIs to track. Measuring these KPIs will help you improve your campaign over time by judging your recipients' interest, engagement, and more. While every campaign is different, some of the most important include the following:

  • Open rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Engagement rate
  • List growth rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Overall ROI

Many other KPIs may apply to your campaign, but these are the bare minimum. Understanding these basic measurements and improving them over time will help you generate more leads and sales from your emails as soon as possible.

How to Tell If Your Email Campaign Is Effective

First, you must access your favorite analytics tools and begin tracking your campaign. There are plenty of free options, and they need to tell you the above KPIs. From there, here are some critical questions to ask about your strategy.

Are You Arriving in the Inbox?

Nothing harms email campaigns like ending up in the spam folder. If you find your emails landing in the spam or junk folder on significant email providers (Outlook, Gmail, etc.), then you need to determine why and petition to change it. Avoiding spammy materials or bombarding users with emails is an excellent way to prevent this fate.

What Is Your Unsubscribe Rate?

You will never get your unsubscribe rate down to zero, which is okay. Unsubscribes happen, and you don't need to make it harder for individuals to unsubscribe when they want to. Believe it or not, doing so could be a one-way ticket to the spam folder.

However, if you notice that your unsubscribe rate is exceptionally high, you'll want to address it. While this rate differs for everyone, your unsubscribe rate should always stay within your list growth rate. Keep a close eye on these and try to determine the issue.

People unsubscribe for various reasons, many of which are out of your control. Still, improve your engagement and open rates if you notice a high unsubscribe rate.

Are You Using the Right Software?

Not all email marketing platforms are created equally. Some platforms offer different services and features, including templates, personalization features, and more. Ensure your email platform offers everything you need for a successful campaign.

Are Users Opening Your Emails?

If not, you may need to fix your name, subject line, and pre-header text. Start with the name, as this needs to be perfect. Remember, this appears in every email.

For example, if you receive an email on your smartphone from "Jonathan Fakelastname with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration," you're going to think, "I don't know anyone with that name," and not open it. Well, that name could have easily been "Jon with NASA," which would be visible on a smartphone, easily read, and recognizable.

Consequently, your subject lines and preheaders need to be concise and enticing. Try different strategies with these, track your open rate, and see what works for you.

Where Do You Lose Users?

Understanding where you lose users along the journey toward conversions is essential. Do you lose them in the email? It could be before or after.

Make sure you identify this so you can fix whatever the problem is. For example, if you lose users after they click through, then the problem is on your website or landing pages. Alternatively, not getting any clicks could mean a problem with the emails themselves.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaign

A shot of a battleship from the bow

Once your analytics tools are set up, follow your KPIs and identify potential problems early. Once you do that, here's how to make marketing emails that sell!

Test the Waters

Testing your marketing emails is an essential part of any campaign. Using your analytics tools and email marketing platform of choice, conduct a small series of A/B tests to understand your audience's preferences.

If you're unfamiliar, A/B testing is when you send out two nearly-identical emails to two halves of your mailing list. Leaving slight differences in content, wording, imagery, messaging, subject lines, or whatever you want to track will help you identify what works and doesn't.

Of course, no group is a monolith. Therefore, you'll need to conduct multiple A/B tests with different groups to see what works and track the averages over time. Remember, there's always room for improvement.

Add a Personal Touch

Personalization is one of the greatest tools that email marketing offers. You can't replicate that level of personalization on ads, SEO, or even social media at the same scale as email.

Not only do emails arrive in someone's personal inbox, but you can control what they say to each individual to an extent. Adding their name in the subject line is a great start, but why stop there?

You can also personalize emails based on a recipient's location, age range, purchase history, and much more. This information will help you engage your audience better, improve your open rates and CTR, and build a better relationship with potential customers.

Moreover, adding content based on their purchase or search history will help improve conversion rates and ROI. Did you know that a 5% increase in customer retention can result in up to a 95% increase in profits? It makes sense when you think about it, as existing customers are more likely to purchase from you again.

Focus on Engagement

Two knights in a sword fight

Improving your engagement rates will help with, well, everything else. The more users open up and interact with your content, the better.

There are plenty of strategies for this, but at the bare minimum, try to focus on limiting your text and increasing the number of visuals you use. This can include graphic design, infographics, images, GIFs, and more. Our brains process visuals much faster than text, and big walls of text are known engagement rate-crushers.

Also, don't pursue perfection. Instead, focus on creativity and making your content legible and valuable to your users.

Grow Your Mailing List

You'll need a strategy to continuously grow your mailing list from the beginning. Once again, there are plenty of strategies for this, but you shouldn't stick to just one.

Adding prompts on your website, automatic enrollment, discounts for subscribers, and more can help you build your mailing list. Don't limit yourself to any particular strategy. If you run into any challenges, consider taking on professional help.

Build Your Brand

One of the best things about email campaigns is your ability to brand. To build a clear and recognizable brand, hire a design and marketing service to meet your needs.

This is so important to build recognition, positive associations, and a loyal customer base. The easier your customers and target audience can recognize your brand, the better.

Keep in mind this will pay dividends for years to come. The most recognizable brands tend to be the safest!

Track Your Growth

Over time, it's essential to track the KPIs we mentioned above. However, ROI is the most critical KPI email has to offer. Fortunately, email marketing has the highest average ROI of any marketing channel at $42 for every dollar spent.

Compare that to SEO at $2.75, and you'll see why email is still so important. Remember, that's the average, which means the sky is the limit for your campaign!

Boost Your Email Campaign Today

Now that you know some of the essential email marketing KPIs, how to track them, and how to improve them, why wait? Again, email marketing has some of the best returns in the marketing world, so you must pay attention to this essential channel. Follow the steps above, improve your metrics, and most importantly, don't stop trying to improve!

Stay up to date with our latest tips for your business, and don’t hesitate to contact ThoughtLab with any questions or for help with your marketing strategy!