If you are already using emarketing to build your business are you getting the most out of the information it is providing you?

You’ve designed your email, segmented your data, written the content, made sure there are actions for the audience to take and relevant links to your website. You’ll have enquiries coming in and focus will move onto building your next email. But before you look ahead, this is the critical time to report and review the facts about your eshot so you can learn and adjust accordingly. What better way to learn about your audience than understanding how their behaviour and reaction to the communication you just sent them?

All emarketing systems will have in-built reporting available giving you quantities, percentages, rates, heat maps, geographical maps, member ratings and more. This is where you will find the information you need, it’s just about translating it into useful actions. I’ve outlined below a starter guide on some of the key areas to analyse.

1. Open rates

Your open rate is calculated by the emails opened divided by emails sent minus bounces. Many people will tell you open rates don’t give you an honest figure and it’s best to use the number as more of a guide. This is true because an ‘open’ can be counted differently depending on which email service you’re using (Outlook, Mac Mail, Gmail etc), what settings you have turned on or if you have a preview pane. Nevertheless, your open rate will give you a good indication of the general consensus. To benchmark your open rate figure many emarketing providers such as Mailchimp will provide you with industry specific averages.  To achieve these you will need great data and expect much higher open rates for existing customers than prospects. How can you improve your rate?

Ask yourself: Were my customers interested in what I had to say? If your open rate is consistently dropping or low, try:

  • A different style of subject line perhaps including personalisation or a question.
  • Spam filters will pick up on words and styles such as ‘Free’, ‘Click now’, ‘ONLY USING CAPS’ and overuse of “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ so avoid these in your subject line.
  • Change the day and time you send your email, think about when your customers might be opening their emails.
  • Rearrange your content, time-poor customers might not scroll down to where the key information is.

2. Click rates

This one is all about your content. If someone has clicked a link they have actually read or looked at your email and been interested. You can start to build a picture of your audience and segment them according to what they are most interested in. Perhaps your lapsed customers are more interested in your new products or innovations and prospects might want to know more about your company, products or reviews. Make sure you note what the most popular link was, that type of content is clearly of interest to your audience.

Ask yourself: Did my customers go where I wanted them to? If your customers aren’t clicking, try:

  • Making links more defined in the design and set up.
  • Have the call to action self explanatory- ‘click here’ can get a little boring so try alternatives ‘Improve my emarketing’ rather than ‘Click here to read the article’.
  • Make sure what you’re offering is beneficial to your customer. Seems vague but if you can’t answer the question ‘why would my customer care about this?’ then you need alter your content.

3. Analytics and Insights

Hopefully you’ll have Google Analytics and/or social media tracking on your emarketing campaigns to make a note of any visitor peaks on campaign days. Someone may not visit your site straight from your email but they may visit later that day or the next day. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms have insight tools to help you see the effect of your email. Bounce rates, goal tracking and  visitor journeys through your site can also inform you of any improvements that can be made to your website. Connecting your emarketing to your ecommerce and CRM systems is also possible which will help you accurately measure the return on investment of your campaign.

Ask yourself: What did my customers do after they read my email? If customers aren’t taking action from your emails try:

  • Ensuring that you deliver on the promises from the email and the landing pages have the information you’ve described. Bounce rates will let you know if you’ve delivered on those promises and if the content was engaging.
  • Once you’ve got customers to your website it’s all about user journey and strategic web design; goal tracking and ‘behaviour flow’ will show you the journeys customers take.
  • Dan has written articles on planning a new or updated website and the responsive web which will give you some great insights.

4. Devices

Luckily, some emarketing systems are now automatically making your emails responsive to mobile and tablet views but they’re not always perfect. Your reporting will let you know what device your customers read your emails on so make sure you cater to that. If 75% of your customers view emails on a mobile then make sure the email looks as good as it can on those devices. This knowledge could spark further marketing activities; if your customers are all Android users then any marketing must consider this. If you’re sending B2B emarketing then it’s likely that your customers will be reading your emails at work, and again it’s likely that they’ll be using Outlook; therefore you’ll need to keep up to date on functionality developments.

For example, will my customers email system support the introduction of HTML 5 and video content within an email?

5. Long term results

What can you learn from the last 3, 6 or 12 months of your emarketing campaigns? Once you’ve gathered statistics from your campaigns, you can begin to review and analyse the results over a longer period of time and get a more realistic picture. These results will help you prepare for peaks in engagement and the personal preferences of all your customers.

It’s vital to remember that staying in contact with your customers in the right way is never a fruitless activity. It can take many, many separate points of contact to convert a prospect to a customer but it does work. And whilst you put your energies into improving your prospect emarketing, never ever forget your existing customers. Are you looking after them and keeping them feeling valued and informed?

*Update! 6. Investigate automation

Automated emails may seem like you’re negating the work you’ve done into sending personalised and considered emails. This isn’t the case at all, as long as you’re sending these emails for the right purpose. Automated emails can link to all kinds of user activities from abandoned cart notifications from your ecommerce site to anniversary or membership notifications. As long as these are targeted and strategic, your emarketing activity can be refined and improved.

I hope this guide has given you some ideas on getting more out of your emarketing. If you’d like to discuss your emarketing campaigns with me, I’d love to hear from you so send me an email at alice@valiantdesign.co.uk or call on 01252 783106.