Let the Numbers Be Your Guide: 6 Essential Email Program Measurements

Posted by Bonnie Malone on

What kind of information do you consider when analyzing your email program performance?  Perhaps you look at the creative template, cadence and frequency, or types of coupon offers to determine what tactics are most successful.  Or, maybe you consider geography and seasonality as factors contributing to your campaign performance.  All of these elements are important parts of the success equation, but not as important as another single factor: the subscriber.

You may not know intimate details about each of the subscribers on your list – in fact, you may have little more than an email address.  But, believe it or not, even that is enough data to construct a segmentation strategy and glean vital analytical insight.  How?

  • Start by using recency to define subscribers in 3-6 month groups (for example: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18+ months).  Choose a common behavior, such as the point of subscribe or first purchase, to develop this baseline.
  • Send at least 6 consecutive campaigns to the recency-based subscriber groups.  Some email deployment systems are able to do this through reporting by using a field in the database, while others may require you to send individual campaigns to each group.
  • Gather all the performance data for your 6 campaigns.  Include hard bounces, complaints, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes in your list of metrics; add purchases/revenue or conversions if possible.
  • Compare the average metrics for each different recency-based subscriber group.  Notice differences in key performance indicators, such as complaints, clicks, and conversions.
  • Now, let the numbers be your guide!  Consider adding a win-back message to subscriber groups that are showing a decrease in opens and clicks.  Or implement new business rules to stop mailing subscriber groups with a lapse in activity and increase in complaints, bounces, and unsubscribes.
  • If possible, continue to mail each of your campaigns using this recency-based approach.  This will assist you in noting campaign performance anomalies.  Otherwise, repeat the analytical exercise periodically (every 4-6 months) and evaluate if changes have occurred in the lifecycle path

Tell us – how do you use that data to empower change within your email program?


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About Bonnie Malone

Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying, and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape. Bonnie leads the knowledge and consulting teams at Return Path, the global leader in email deliverability. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and writes monthly for the Return Path blog and TotalRetail.

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