If You Email But Don’t Analyze it, Did it Really Happen?
This time of year is all about good intentions and resolutions:
“I am going to make healthier sides for Thanksgiving dinner.”
“I am going to get all of my holiday shopping done early!”
“Starting the first of the year, I am going to start exercising!”
Each of us make them every year and sometimes follow through with them, even if just for a little while. That is okay though, because every day is another chance to start again.
The same goes for analyzing the results of your email marketing campaigns. We are fortunate enough to be operating in a time when there are more tools than ever to get our messages out there. Send Time Optimization, automated campaigns, A/B Send to Winner logic, and story level targeting are all meant to help us deliver more relevant content and increase our engagement rates. However, too often we send communications but don’t take the time to review how well it did. Learning from past performance helps us be more effective moving forward, and the only way to do that is to remain engaged with our email metrics.
Let’s say that you put together a robust marketing campaign to drive registration for an upcoming event. You build all of the email content that showcases your event, add decision steps to send different messages based on whether members register or not, and feel great when you activate the campaign. After a couple of weeks you look at the campaign to see how it’s doing and are surprised to see email metrics are below the benchmarks and registration is much lower than where you need it to be. Now what?
Remaining engaged with your email marketing efforts is critical for success. Here are some tips for making the most of your email reports:
- Review the Mailing Activity Report twice a day for the first 48 hours after sending. If there is an issue with the email, such as a link not working or the wrong story included, you want to be able to react and put together a follow up email as soon as possible.
- If you are seeing a low open rate, consider resending the email to non-openers with a different Subject Line or Friendly From. Consider your sending frequency and other messages you have going out so that you do not send them multiple messages in too short of a time frame.
- Using industry benchmarks to measure effectiveness is certainly a good practice, however you want to understand how your organizations messages typically perform. Run a Mailing Summary Report for a specific mailing type, such as a monthly newsletter, over the last 6 months. Understand the open and click rates that you typically see for this type of message. This will help you identify when engagement rates are really troublesome.
- The automated campaign dashboard report tells you a lot of information, but don’t forget to look at the Mailings tab and see how individual emails are performing. If the first email far exceeds your benchmarks, but the second email is lower the overall metrics could look fine but in reality you may need to take action to improve the performance of the rest of your campaign.
- Testing is key. I often say that every email you send is an opportunity to test, however if you do not look at the test results and develop a plan for how to utilize this information in future marketing efforts then the effect of the test is diminished.
The great thing about resolutions is that you can start them at any time. So as you think about your New Year’s resolutions for the coming year, remember that the one resolution you should not wait to start is being more involved with your email analysis. It won’t help you lose weight or eat better, but it certainly could help you sleep better at night.
Want more testing tips? Check out Connecting the Dots in Today’s Marketing World for ideas using your reports to improve your targeted messages.