How to get the most from your email marketing list

Person holding tablet with emails

Remember the days when Facebook was the new big thing and email was going to fade away into oblivion?

Email marketers freaked out.

Social was scary. How would these things work together? Would email survive?

Well, it hasn’t just survived — email has thrived. And, just like everything else, people are actually accessing it more and more thanks to smartphones.

Now we can sit back and laugh and laugh and laugh at our past selves and how dramatic we were.

Your email lists are one of your businesses' greatest assets

Email marketing is still one of the best mediums for turning a lead into an actual sale. Why?

People on your email list are already interested in what you offer. I’m sure I’m not the only one that regularly laments at how full my inbox has become, so if I have signed up to your list, I’m interested!

And while social advertising can be targeted to certain groups and demographics, nothing beats email for segmenting and customising your message. Shouting only gives you a sore throat. Getting targeted means you increase your chance of conversion and market in a more efficient and productive way.

So, how do you know if your email campaigns are working?

Here are our three dos — and one don’t — of email marketing.

Do - Turn information into intelligence

Most email marketing tools make getting the key numbers easy. Some key metrics you should be looking at in terms of your email campaigns include:

  • Open Rates: What percentage of your email list actually opened your email?
  • Click-Through Rates: What action did you want from your email (to go to an event booking form, a certain page on your website, to download a brochure)? Did people ‘Click Through’ and make this happen?
  • Bounce Rates: Are your emails getting delivered? If not, how are you making sure your database is being kept up to date, or is there a reason people might be giving you a fake email?
  • Unsubscribe Rates: What percentage of your email list don’t want to hear from you anymore?

While these numbers are interesting in themselves, they are just numbers. 

They really become useful when you can start to compare information over-time to better create content and see what did and didn’t work. Were there spikes or troughs in open rates or unsubscribes — maybe look at your subject line. Were people more likely to click through to one kind of content than another?

Do - Keep a regular measurement cycle

We recommend diving in and out of key numbers fairly frequently, but setting aside time — maybe monthly — to record that information and look at historical data.

When you send an email campaign, you might like to dive in the next day and have a quick look at some key numbers, just like you would keep an eye on your social media channels as the likes and comments roll in. But turning information into intelligence requires dedicated time.

Set aside time to really look at all your numbers — across social, emails, your website, key landing pages etc — at the same time. Make the purpose of the session to not just record figures, but come up with three recommendations for how you can improve either content or processes for the month ahead.

Do - Test, trial and change

Every audience is different, so not every email campaign should be the same.

What’s the point of measurement if you’re not going to use the information to improve what you do?

Take those recommendations you came up with in your monthly metrics session, then, when the next session rolls around, compare the results.

Maybe you’ve smashed your goals…or maybe things aren’t looking quite as rosy as you thought they would.

That’s ok. Everyone (even us) has an email fail every now and then. But, because we have an ongoing measurement cycle, we’re able to get a picture of what does and doesn’t work over time, and continually improve our offering. Recently we rejigged our subscription preferences, to make sure we are giving people flexibility in how we communicate with them. We’re constantly changing it up — and you should too!

Don't - Forget to measure across the entire customer journey

So, someone has signed up for your email list. That's great news.

How many people open that initial welcome email? What does it look like? If you don’t grab them in the first instance, you may lose them before you really get the chance to impress.

Say someone purchases a product from you that you could offer ongoing support for — a meal plan, or training program would be a great example of this. You might let them know you’ll send them extra support information, motivation, recipes and the like over the first two weeks. At what point do they drop off? Do you know? What happens at the end of that period? Can you encourage them to make another purchase? Are they taking up the offer?

Watching how people interact with your content across a whole workflow or email series is a great way to understand what content people are after, what works and what doesn’t. Don’t neglect it!

Author

Photo of Lesley Hays, Digital Analytics Specialist.

Lesley Hays

Analytics Specialist

User experience is my foundation, with over a decade of focusing on humans in the digital space (and beyond!). Digital Analytics and Business Intelligence is no exception. The way we experience and understand the wealth of numbers available is the difference between success and a wasted investment....

Meet Lesley

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