Measurement is the metric of the moment

Posted by Sara Hawthorn
What to measure in digital PR

When it comes to marketing, measurement is the metric of the moment.

As businesses turn back to email marketing after the gloss of social media selling has worn off, we look at how to measure email campaigns and the opportunity that data presents to SMEs.

An email marketing campaign is only as good as the stats that it produces, so tracking emails is a key opportunity to gauge effectiveness and make improvements that will improve your relationship with customers.

How to ask the right questions

Before we get to rummaging around in the data, we have to ask ourselves one key question: ‘What is the goal of my email marketing efforts?’

Unless you know what you want to achieve, you cannot design an email campaign to suit that purpose or determine whether it has met those requirements from your reports and analytics.

Here are some common goals for SMEs using email marketing.

  • Grow your subscriber database
  • Increase web traffic to specific pages (i.e. your business blog)
  • Generate more leads
  • Convert more leads
  • Driving ecommerce

How to choose the right metrics to measure

Once the email campaign has been sent, there are several different aspects you can measure. Here are the ones that matter:

Measure click through rates

Whilst the open rate indicates how effective your subject line is, the click through rate relates to how effective your content is and how it resonates with your audience. Every email campaign needs to have at least one clear call to action and it is the click throughs to this link which represent a lead or a sale.

It is possible to carry on tracking your customer’s path past the landing page. Whilst most bulk email service providers measure link tracking within their platform, you can lose visibility of activity “beyond the click”. To fix this you need to enable Google Analytics ecommerce tracking (or something equivalent) on your website and set up an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics to report on your email traffic. If you’re not sure how to make UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters work for you, visit the Google help forum.

Bounce rate vs growth rate

It’s always disheartening to see those unsubscribes pop into your inbox or see your list reduced when the hard bounces are removed, but instead of lamenting those lost contacts, turn it into a positive and use it as a spring board to create more tailored, relevant content for the people you can still reach.

Keep the faith. Keep growing your list.

One of the biggest mistakes people make on their website is not adding a sign-up form which is clear and easy to find. Encourage customers to sign up to your email content and where possible create a Preference Centre to ask them what type of content they want to receive and how frequently they want to be contacted. If they do unsubscribe, create a sign out form to ask them why. Above all try to see it as a positive – emailing someone who isn’t interested in what you have to offer is a waste of time and resources, and disengaged users won’t help you generate meaningful email measurement.

Social share/forward

The downside to using merge tags and personalised content is that if the entire email is forwarded on by your contact or shared on social media, this personalisation disappears.

However if you are in a position to encourage social sharing, your CRM system needs to be able to capture activity on your social streams so that you can tie this back to a specific email campaign, particularly if you are parallel promoting on other platforms.
For businesses using Mailchimp, one solution is to add social share buttons to a specific content block, allowing a link to a blog or a promotional landing page to be shared in a way that is measurable and will not compromise the format.

A word of warning – measurement is addictive! Once you start looking at who’s reading what and where it’s impossible to go back to your metric-free world.