When evaluating the performance of your email campaigns, which stats are most important to track? We recommend you start with the following:

  • Clicks
  • Growth Rate
  • Bounces
  • Complaints

Let’s take a look at each of these stats in more detail.

Clicks

The purpose of your emails is not just to provide content to your subscribers; you want them to take some kind of action. This action can be as simple as opening your email, but generally you’ll want them to click on a link that takes them back to your website or blog.  It’s worth noting that, because people need to open the email in order to click the link, a high click-through rate = a high open rate.

How can you improve your click-through rate?

  • Use a compelling subject line; ask a question, give them a “teaser”, etc.
  • Get to the point and and answer the “what’s in it for me” question right away
  • Make your call to action stand out by using a button or bold text, surrounding it with white space, etc.

Growth Rate

The size of your list doesn’t matter as much as the quality of your subscribers. However, you still want to see your list continue to grow. Monitoring your growth rate (monthly is often enough) can help you stay on the right track. You might want to use a graph, so you can see at a glance how your list is growing over time.

You can grow your list more quickly by doing the following:

  • Consistently deliver high quality content! This will not only improve your list growth; you’ll see higher click-through rates, a lower number of complaints, and even an increase in your revenue. By providing great content, you’re fostering commitment to your brand. Your subscribers will be more likely to share your content with their networks, and stick with you for the long haul.
  • Test, test, test! Try out different language, offers, incentives, and calls to action. This is the best way to find out what resonates most with your audience.
  • Find out why people who unsubscribe from your list have chosen to opt out. Note any patterns or common themes. If you want your campaigns – and business – to be successful, you need to give people more of what they want, and less of what they don’t.

Bounces

When an email doesn’t make it to the recipient’s inbox, it’s called a “bounce”.  This can happen for many reasons, but most of the time it’s because the email address is no longer active. You need to remove these addresses from your list immediately, because they will negatively affect your deliverability and make it harder to get your emails to the active addresses on your list.

A few ways to lower your bounce rate:

  • Use a double opt-in process, which requires new subscribers to confirm that they do indeed want to be on your email list. You can do this by sending a confirmation email to the address they used in the initial sign-up form.
  • Ask subscribers to put you on their whitelist by adding you to their address book. This ensures that their email service won’t block you.
  • Remove inactive subscriber addresses from your list right away. Depending on how often you send, you can also edit your subscriber list by removing people who haven’t opened any of your messages over a specific period of time. For example, if you send weekly, remove anyone who hasn’t opened any of your emails in the last month.

Complaints

Whenever someone marks your email as spam, that’s considered a complaint. These complaints can negatively affect your deliverability, and, if not addressed promptly, can also get you blacklisted by your email service provider.

Here are three ways to avoid complaints:

  • Set expectations from the very beginning. Tell subscribers how often you’ll be emailing them, and what to expect in those emails.
  • Include unsubscribe information in every message, and make it easy to find. Subscribers shouldn’t have to hunt for a way to get off your list if they don’t want to receive your emails anymore.
  • Keep your send rate and design consistent. If there are long lulls between your emails, your subscribers can forget about you. And, if you change the look of your emails every time, your subscribers may not recognize you.

What stats do you measure when evaluating your email campaigns? Let us know in the comments!