In an ideal world, email engagement for your marketing campaigns would sit at 100 percent every time. More often than not, however, you are competing with emails from friends, family, and coworkers for your subscribers’ attention and email engagement. Not to mention trying not to trip the spam filter.
Marketers know the potential that emails hold. They are a direct connection with your audience in a marketing landscape that is dominated by search and social – both of which require working with another company to reach your target audience. With email, you can speak directly to your potential customers. That’s why it’s so important to track how people are interacting with your content.
Generally, email engagement should be measured in two segments: 1) reports on actual email engagement metrics from your email service provider (ESP), and 2) reports regarding your website analytics.
Tracking Email Engagement
Email engagement metrics can help you track and measure whether people find your marketing messages useful, so you can increase engagement over time. Through your ESP, you’ll be able to track data such as:
- Delivery rate. Simply having their email address doesn’t always mean that a subscriber will receive your message.The delivery rate tells you what percentage of emails are delivered to an inbox without encountering a hard or soft bounce. A hard bounce means that your message was not delivered, because the email address was invalid – which can happen if your customer submits their email with a typo. A soft bounce is a temporary problem that happens when the email address itself is valid, but the inbox is full, or the server is down. The recipient’s server may hold the message for delivery, or you might need to try resending it.Immediately removing email addresses that have returned a hard bounce is important because ESPs can grade your trustworthiness based on whether emails actually reach your customers’ inboxes.
- Open rate. The first hurdle to email engagement is getting people to open your emails. Depending on your analytics tool, the open rate calculation might be based on either total opens or unique opens. With unique opens, it’s measuring the total number of unique subscribers who open an email, rather than simply tallying up each time an email is opened. So, if you were to accidentally click on the same email 10 times, the open rate would not change after the first click.Open rates are one of the best ways to tell if your email marketing strategy is working. To optimize them, you need to focus on three things: the sender name, subject line, and preheader text. For marketers, the sender name might be an afterthought, but recipients care about who is contacting them. HubSpot reports that sending from a person, not a company, makes emails feel more personal and makes them more likely to be opened. You also want to ensure that the subject line and message preview are optimized to leave your recipient wanting more.
- Click-through rate. Another good way to know whether your email marketing strategy is on target is to check the click-through rate. It will tell you the percentage of delivered emails that received at least one click. Many ESPs will provide options to track the total number of clicks, as well as the total number of unique clicks.
Some more advanced tools include heat mapping to track your clicks. The major benefit of heat mapping is that you would be able to see which specific links received the most clicks. Knowing which links perform the best can then help you optimize future calls-to-action (CTAs).
Tracking Website Engagement
It’s important to know that email engagement tracking doesn’t stop when someone lands on your website. Once you’ve analyzed whether your subscribers opened the email, how long they read it, and whether they followed any of your CTA links, you need to look at the analytics to see what they did when they reached your website.
- Visits from email tells you thenumber of times that someone clicked on a link to your website from your marketing email. It can help you distinguish whether or not your email marketing campaign is actually driving the traffic for which you are looking.
- Bounce rate tracks how many people leave your website after landing on it without browsing any further. A high bounce rate on your email campaign landing page might indicate that the page doesn’t deliver the experience people are expecting. In that case, you might need to revisit the content of your email to ensure it aligns with what is actually on the page.
- Time on page and pages per visit are two metrics that indicate how long someone spent reading your content. This helps you get a sense for whether the content on the page is engaging enough to capture and maintain your readers’ attention, which is necessary to try and turn potential leads into actual customers.
- Conversion rate is one of the most important marketing key performance indicators for determining whether or not you are achieving your goals. It measures the percentage of website visitors who take the action that your email asked them to take – whether you want them to download content or make a purchase.
Most of these metrics are best used as comparative metrics. Tracking performance of your marketing emails over time can help you determine which tweaks can strengthen your marketing strategy and increase email engagement.