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What’s in a Number?

Kirk Bentley

What's in a Number

One of the most valuable traits of email marketing is just how quantifiable it is. More than any other marketing channel, email gives you the unique ability to quickly size up your email program’s performance. If you’re really putting the pieces together, you’re also tracking email marketing to conversions and putting those numbers in context with all your other CRM data. There’s a ton of data at your fingertips. But what really matters? Keep reading to find out.


Race Flags

1. Outcomes

At its heart, email marketing is about outcomes. It’s tempting to focus purely on sales when thinking about desired results. However, this may not be your goal for every campaign. Yes, traditionally in marketing we talk about “converting” a prospect to a customer. If you’re a business that wants to stay in business, ultimately you need people to buy your product, and it’s a big help to know what lead to that purchase. But the purchase path can be a long and winding road with many steps along the way to “converting.” When it comes to email, consider broadening that definition a bit to include other desired “first step” outcomes. White paper downloads, RSVP confirmations, forwards, and adding fans on social are all valuable points on the customer sales journey for your organization.

Mobile phone

2. Mobile Open Rate

Since 2014 mobile open rates have crept up to 50%. But that’s about to change dramatically this year. The ubiquity of mobile devices coupled with more businesses moving away from expensive enterprise desktop software means a larger portion of your audience will be using all kinds of new devices to read email. Considering, that “using email” is consistently ranked the most popular activity on a mobile device followed closely by “shopping,” you can see why this should have your attention.

If you’re like most businesses, email marketing is your #1 lead generator, #1 digital revenue generator and #1 fan engagement tool. Seems like a good idea to know how all three of these groups are interacting with your email. More importantly, it should inform your entire customer journey. If you’ve got a mobile open rate of 35%, you need a purchase path as easy as Amazon’s.


3. Engagement Rate

Using a single campaign or average open rate is a quick fix. But open rates are mostly a “feel good” metric. There are too many mitigating factors that make open rate unreliable. Better to use engagement rate. This number gives you valuable subscriber data about how often, when, where and how your subscribers are interacting with your campaigns. Try sending to a segment of subscribers who have fallen off recently. Or following up with your VIPs. Reach out to those 5-star generals who deserve a special discount or treat. That’s how you create value and ensure your subscribers know you’re paying attention.


What numbers have you been paying attention to? Try giving these numbers priority in your next campaign review.