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[Google] Think Outside the Inbox: Email Marketing: Use metrics in email marketing

Metrics are an integral part of every email marketing campaign. In this reading, you will explore examples of how companies use metrics to learn about their audience’s behaviors and preferences which help them adjust their strategies as needed.

Open rates are down

To Your Health is a brand that creates custom vitamins for its customers. Customers take a survey that includes their health and wellness goals and needs, and To Your Health develops and sends them custom vitamins.

To Your Health sends a weekly newsletter to anyone who has subscribed to their email list. After a few months of sending the newsletter, they realized open rates decreased week by week. In their analytics dashboard, they can see that open rates have decreased from an acceptable open rate—25%—to a much lower number—18%. They discuss it as a team and determine there are a few things they can do to fix this issue.

First, the company decides to spend more time researching and writing effective subject lines. They choose to use punchier, more clever phrasing to get customers excited and enthusiastic about their emails. Next, the company decides to send out two different newsletters: one to current customers and another to new customers. That way, the content fits each subscriber’s specific needs, and they won’t feel like their time is being wasted.

The first solution of changing the subject lines entices subscribers to click to open the email, and the second solution of sending more targeted emails will ensure they continue opening the emails and enjoy the content week after week.

High click-to-open rates

A food delivery service, FoodNow, allows customers to fill a customized online grocery box, which is delivered to their door later that week. After customers fill their boxes, they get a confirmation email. In that confirmation email, FoodNow encourages customers to click a link back to their website. This link automatically takes them to their box, where they can add the same items for next week, so they don’t have to edit the box later. Recently, they’ve noticed their click-to-open rate surge from 3% to 6% in the last 6 weeks. They decide to capitalize on this and include some additional suggestions in their emails.

Because FoodNow realized their customers like engaging with their emails and clicking through to their landing page, they figured they could get more sales if they add more clickable links.

FoodNow adds a “suggested items for you” link in these confirmation emails, so users can add not only items they’ve purchased frequently but also items they may want to try in the future.

Increase in unsubscribes

Blake’s Beans is a large coffee company with several locations. As part of their email marketing campaign, Blake’s Beans sends out all kinds of marketing emails to subscribers. When analyzing metrics from the last month, they notice an increase in unsubscribers and a decrease in list growth. This is a problem because it means their readers aren’t engaging and/or enjoying their emails. They notice that each time they send emails out, around 3% of people unsubscribe, and their list has only grown by 1% over the past month.

To find out why subscribers are unsubscribing, and potential customers are not subscribing, they add a very brief survey to their unsubscribe page, asking for feedback about how they can better serve their base. This won’t get their old subscribers back, but it will answer questions about why they left in the first place. Next, they decide to start a referral program, encouraging current customers to invite friends to sign up for marketing emails. If someone refers a friend to sign up, they both get a coupon for 10% off. This way, they’ll see list growth.

Key takeaways

Now you know what it looks like when companies adjust their campaigns because of metrics. As mentioned, analyzing metrics is an effective way to understand how your audience wants to engage with you. Sometimes, like in the low open rate and increase in unsubscribers examples, you’ll have to pivot your strategy to fix an issue. In other situations you might have, such as what was demonstrated in the high click-to-open rate example, you’ll notice that your audience enjoys engaging with you and you can capitalize on that.

Regardless of what the metrics tell you, it’s important to add a personal touch to your strategy. Knowing you want your open rates to increase by 5% is great, but you have to plan how that will happen.