If the mere thought of interpreting raw data or analyzing charts about your marketing makes your skin crawl, you are not alone. There are plenty of intelligent, creative marketers out there who struggle with the numbers game of marketing.

To make things easier on yourself as you dive into email analytics, you should think about which specific email metrics that you need to interpret. By limiting yourself to only the most important email metrics and making sure that you take the right actions with these metrics, you can ensure that your email campaign grows the way it needs to.

Why are metrics important?

The main reason that you need to have at least a basic understanding of what performance metrics to measure is because they represent the overall results of your campaign. It’s great to employ a groundbreaking new email marketing technique that you heard about from your marketing-wiz friend, but how will you know whether or not it works if you don’t measure what’s working?

Once you get a good grasp on your metrics, you can begin to tweak your campaigns to make them even more effective. This is the true benefit of email marketing: providing marketers with the ability to optimize their campaigns based on the needs and interests of their targets.

With that in mind, here are a few most important email marketing metrics you should be tracking, and some tips for optimizing your emails based on what they tell you.

Open Rate

This is arguably the most important email metric; everyone running an email campaign should have an understanding of their open rate, no matter how much email marketing experience they have. This is what tells you whether or not anyone is actually seeing all of the content that you spend time carefully crafting.
Remember, however, that a low open rate usually doesn’t indicate poor content. It simply means that something about the way you are delivering your email content is off. You might try sending your messages at a different time or using a shorter subject line in your correspondence.

List Size

Everyone wants to have more subscribers, and the size of your list is one of the email metrics that helps you understand how many people you are reaching. In order to get a truly accurate sense of your list size when compared to others in your industry, try to do some research about the average list size for companies of your age and stature. Also consider how your list has grown. If you’ve had the same number of subscribers for months, you may need to do a better job of promoting your email marketing.

Click Through Rate

Your click through rate is defined as the number of people who actually click on the links or content in your email messages, compared to the number of people who open them. It’s nice to have lots of people seeing your messages, but if they aren’t actually taking action then your email marketing isn’t as effective as it could be. If your click through rate is lower than it should be, it likely means that the content of your email correspondence needs work. You’ll need to do a better job of conveying the value of your offer to prospects who are warm enough to sign up for your email list.

Email metrics really are not the intimidating, complex beast that many inexperienced marketers think they are. By initially keeping your focus on just a couple of the most important email metrics and coming up with a logical plan of action about how to improve your email campaign based on those metrics, you can get more ROI out of this excellent tool for improving visibility and increasing sales.

Conversion Rate

Some would argue that even more important than opens and clicks, is the conversion rate (CR)—the next step after the click through. Not every subscriber that opens your email is going to actually be interested in what you’re offering or be provoked to perform the action requested. However, the subscribers that DO perform the action requested can then be classified as conversions. Conversions mean sales, or the potential for a sale through lead nurturing. This makes the conversion rate the most important metric!

Measuring the effectiveness of email campaigns need not be intimidating, complex beast that many inexperienced marketers think they are. By initially keeping your focus on just a couple of the most important metrics and coming up with a logical plan of action about how to improve your email campaign based on those metrics, you can get more ROI out of this excellent tool for improving visibility and increasing sales.