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Email Marketing KPIs: What to Track?

written on 20-3-17-Tue 01:01
Home KPI Email Marketing KPIs: What to Track?

KPIs, short for Key Performance Indicators, is one of the essential backbones that drive the success of virtually every business. They basically exist to show your company its strengths and weaknesses as well as how far you have gone in achieving your goals. Now, every company’s goals and resulting Key Performance Indicators differ based on some factors. Two of those are the industry and the business model.


Regarding the business model, among other things, your company can be situated entirely online, offline or a mixture of both. For these three different kinds of companies, their goals will definitely be different. Nevertheless, that is not to say that they will not have a few similarities. The first and third company, for example, will have goals bordering on the online world. 

One of such goals will most likely be to get more sales online via email marketing. Considering that it would be unwise to just jump into it without setting goals and KPIs to measure those goals, you need to know what exactly you should be tracking in your email marketing campaigns. Luckily for you, this article aims to help you figure that out.

Why does your business need email marketing?

Email marketing, like pretty much every other form of marketing, has its own intricate details. It takes some stepwise procedures for you to get the hang of it fully. These might seem like a burden to a businessperson or a brand owner. This is so because they usually have multiple things calling for their attention at a time. However, while it might be tiring – for lack of a better word – to gather your email list and set up efficient email marketing strategies, one thing is undeniable. 

Email marketing has its own numerous and fulfilling rewards. These rewards are the reasons people take their time to go through the process of email marketing. They are the motivation behind email marketers constantly looking for new ways to create strategies and reach more people. They are the reasons your business needs email marketing. Anyway, that is enough jibber-jabber for a day. Here are five reasons your business needs email marketing:

1. It has a ridiculously large pool of potential customers

Three of the largest providers of electronic mail services are Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. Among those three companies exist several hundred million people who receive electronic writings and files daily. 

Forget the number, though. When was the last time you needed someone’s email address, and they smiled awkwardly, tilted their head slightly to the side and told you they don’t have an email address? We can bet quite an amount that it has been a rather long time. We can bet an even huger amount that it has probably not even happened to you before.

The number of people in the world who use online mailing systems confidently run into billions. Out of those several billion people who have an email address, it is only logical that your potential customers are among them. Imagine being able to reach hundreds of millions of people all around the world personally to tell them about your product or service. With proper email marketing strategies, this is not just an imagination. All you really need to do is to go back to the drawing board and begin carving out your plan for an email marketing strategy. 

2. It helps you to retain customers, perhaps better than social media

Now, we don’t want you to misunderstand this point so we would like to clarify. Ever since it first began from the early stages of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the others, social media has accomplished many feats. Today, there are over a billion people on Facebook alone. In every sense of it, social media is doing quite well for itself. Besides that, it is an excellent way for you to reach a large market as well and promote your product to them. However, it still cannot replace the importance of good email marketing. Here’s why.

Firstly, there is one thing that is worth knowing for internet savvy individuals or groups. It’s that social media are always changing their algorithms. Rules are ever-changing, and what applied a mere year ago might be entirely different in the next year. This constantly shifting landscape keeps you on your toes and leaves you willing to learn. However, it is not exactly the best for your business because it requires you to divide your attention into yet another direction.

In addition to that, if you used Instagram last year as often, you would have realized that on more than one occasion, the platform crashed and left many locked out. Imagine building the entire foundation of your online marketing on Instagram, and then that happens continuously. You would have wasted money and, worst of all, you would lose customers.

When it all comes down to it, these social networks do not belong to you. You are merely a user, regardless of how many million followers you get. Unlike your email list, which is much easier to keep track of and manage, if Instagram decides to close down today, you will lose a painfully large percentage of your Instagram customers.

3. Email marketing is much less injurious to your pocket

Social media advertising, as well as traditional marketing, comes at relatively high costs. They charge you exorbitantly to put your product or service in the eyes and minds of your target audience. You entirely handle email marketing. All you really need to do is put on your thinking cap, design a strategy and implement it. Of course, this process will involve building your email list. 

The entire process is yours to handle. As such, you have the opportunity to grow over time without having to spend too much on an advertisement. Eventually, you will get to the point where you have about ten thousand emails on your list. At that point, you would know that you have that many people who are actually interested in your product/service because they signed up themselves. 

Worse comes to worst, you have issues managing that part of the business yourself because you need to put your attention somewhere else. You can simply hire a digital marketer as a freelancer, on a contract basis, or as a full-time employee. Regardless of how you choose to do it, it would not cost quite as much as some other forms of marketing which can run into millions of dollars. 

4. You have a better opportunity of getting people’s attention

Here, we would like to direct the question at you. Which one are you more likely to pay attention to? A random advert from a brand you have no interest in on your radio, a fancy looking picture on your twitter feed from a brand you’re not even following or an email from a brand you actually signed up for? While we cannot answer that question for you, we can categorically say for ourselves that we are more likely to pay attention to the email. In all honesty, most people are. Especially when you consider that they took the decision themselves to receive those emails.

To make things even better, we live in a generation where mobile, internet-enabled communication devices have made things a lot easier. Now, people do not have to sit in front of their overheating laptop to check their mail. They can simply open an app in line at Starbucks, at a local diner or even in an Uber ride to work in the morning. This ease and convenience means that people will have one less barrier to paying attention to you.

However, as we said earlier, this is not to say that email marketing is capable of entirely replacing the use of social media.

5. It is quite easy to track your progress and measure the effectiveness of your email marketing strategies

With traditional marketing, you might have to do a lot of guessing as to whether or not a certain number of people actually saw your advert. Sometimes, you might spend thousands of dollars on a single medium. Unfortunately, you might not always get the result you really want to see. However, with email marketing, you can eliminate the guesswork with relative ease. This is so with email marketing software. They help you to track how well your emails are doing in the inboxes of your potential customers and make it possible for you to measure progress.

What are the most important metrics to track?

Yearly, people, groups, brands, and multinationals spend cumulative hundreds of billions of dollars on marketing and advertising. The whole essence is to reach a wider market and make more profit. After investing that much money, and most importantly, effort, into ensuring that people see what you have to offer, it is only wise that you measure your effectiveness at this. When you do so, you can see whether or not you are performing as expected. You can also see if there are any problems with your marketing and how you can improve it so that you can reach more customers. 

The case is not much different in email marketing. While it might not cost quite as much, it can still take a bit of effort to get everything done. As such, there are a couple of things to measure to be sure all your effort is not in vain, and you are getting the visibility that you deserve. Here are the most important metrics for you to measure if you are going to be using email marketing to propagate your brand’s gospel:

1. Open rate

Open rate is basically the number of people, out of all your subscribers who received the email, who open your mail. It is usually recorded in percentage. For example, if you have 100 subscribers in your email list and 80 of those subscribers open your mail, the open rate is 80%.

This metric is one of the most important of them all if you are to measure the success of your online marketing via emails. There is quite literally no communication whatsoever going on in your email marketing if nobody opens it. As such, you must pay attention to this KPI. The higher your open rate, the higher your chances of getting a reasonable amount of ROI.

2. Click-through rate (CTR)


Click-through rate is the number of people who click on a specific link in your email relative to the total number of people that actually opened the email. Earlier on, we made an example of you sending an email to one hundred subscribers. Perhaps, it will be best if we merely continued with that example. 

Now, let’s assume that you own a cosmetics brand and you send an email to all your subscribers. In that email, you include a link for them to click on to order for their own cosmetic product. Assuming your open rate is 80 out of 100 people and only fifty of those people clicked on the link to make an order, your click-through rate is 50/80. Of course, you can convert that to a percentage and get 62.5%.

Now, you must measure this click-through rate. This is so because you need to know that people are not just opening your emails but are taking action on it as well. It is not a good thing for you to have a high open rate and a low click-through. It means your headline is good enough to reel people in, but you don’t quite have what it takes to get them actually to do more than just read your stuff.

3. Conversions

This is a bit similar to click through rate. However, while click through is specifically how many people click on a link, the conversion is how many people complete a certain end goal. If you want people to share your email or to follow your social media pages or to register for something by replying your email, conversions are the number of people that do that. 

The higher the conversion rate, the better off your business is.

4. Bounce Rate


In email marketing, your bounce rate refers to the number of people who were unable to receive your email. It is very disappointing if you send out an email to your subscribers and very little of them receive the email in the end. When it comes to bounce rates, there are two major categories. The first is hard bounce and the second is soft bounce.

A hard bounce is the number of people who cannot receive your emails for reasons that you really cannot fix. Take, for example, if someone subscribes to your list with an invalid email address, you can’t deliver emails to them, and this problem is permanent for that email.

A soft bounce is the direct opposite. The issues are not permanent. It could be that the server was having downtime or perhaps the person’s email was full. A simple post informing your users to clear out their inbox occasionally to continue to enjoy your juicy content should do the trick.

5. Unsubscribes

Unsubscribes is a term that refers to the number of people who decided not to receive your emails any longer by unsubscribing. If you have a high number of people unsubscribing from your list after email marketing campaigns, you might want to sit back and try to fix it. You must do so because a high unsubscribe rate can have dastardly impacts on your business, especially if your main way of retaining customers is via email marketing.

6. Average order value (AOV)

This metric shows you the average total of orders that your customers place after reading your email over a defined period of times. Unlike some other metrics, AOV is not just one that you measure in a day. It has to span a particular period. You need to know how many people are actually buying your product or service. If the number turns out low, you might want to review your marketing strategy.

7. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Under normal circumstances, in a business relationship, Customer Lifetime Value refers to how long a person patronizes your brand. It essentially measures how loyal your customers are to you/your brand. However, in email marketing, CLV measures how long customers stay subscribed to your email list. The longer the subscribers stay subscribed, the better for you. This is so because, more often than not, it indicated that you have been able to keep them hooked on you that long.

8. Return On Investment (ROI)

ROI, in the simplest form possible, shows you how much profit you are making from the email marketing. Whatever amount of money you spend on your email marketing strategies is an investment. This metric basically shows you how much you are making from that investment you put into your email marketing. It can be calculated from a few different things. For example, if you spend $350 in total to market your product via emails and you can make $450 in orders of that product, your ROI is $100.

What are the best tools for tracking your email marketing KPIs?

Measuring all these Key Performance Indicators yourself is nothing short of a tedious task. You really cannot do it all by yourself, especially if you have a rather large business. Thankfully, some tools can help you do it. Two of the best email KPI trackers are:

1. Sendinblue


Sendinblue is an excellent email marketing tool. It allows you to design your message professionally. You have the options of starting with a predesigned template, or you can design one from scratch yourself. The latter gives you all the creative freedom you need to get things done. With this software, you can segment your market based on the people who need your product the most, among other things. You can choose to use the free version. However, it limits you to 300 emails in a day. On the other hand, you can choose their paid plans that range from $25 to $66, all offering higher levels of features.

2. Campaign Monitor 


If you are looking for a great tool to help you handle your email marketing, Campaign Monitor is the way to go. It has patronage of about 250,000 businesses around the world. It allows you to create email marketing campaigns to send out to several thousand people based on how you choose to segment your audience. Most importantly, you get the analytics of your emails. It wouldn’t be much of a campaign monitor if it doesn’t help you monitor your campaigns, would it? Campaign Monitor is a paid tool that charges you based on how many emails you will like to send out monthly. 

In conclusion

Email marketing is a great way to complement other forms of marketing and retain your current customers regardless of how you choose to look at it. However, to enjoy all the benefits you can get from email marketing, you need to track your Key Performance Indicators properly. What we have simply done in this article is to show you which KPIs are the most important for you to track, and the best tools to track them.


Q1: Why is email marketing important?

Among other things, proper email marketing is important for helping you get and retain your own customers. You don’t have to depend on the mercy of social networks or traditional media. Email marketing, if done properly, gives you your very own audience and helps you retain it, especially if you track your KPIs properly. Additionally, it helps you get people’s attention much better, and it allows you to market at lower prices.

Q2: What is a hard bounce in email marketing?

Hard bounce in email marketing refers to the problem of people being unable to receive your emails permanently. An excellent example of this is when you send emails to an invalid address. It is about as good as delivering a pizza to a building that doesn’t exist. The message will never get to its destination, and there’s nothing you can do about it because the address is invalid.

Q3: What is a good open rate for email marketing?

Most of the answers to these types of questions are largely subjective because your rates should be dependent on the needs of your business. However, generally speaking, a good open rate for your email marketing campaigns should be around 15-25%.

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