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Five Email Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Email marketing is an essential tool for nonprofits. It’s one way to tell your story and encourage your supporters to get involved. The great thing about email marketing tools is that they provide a large amount of data about campaign performance. These metrics should not only be tracked but can also be used to improve your digital communications over time. Here are the top five email metrics that you should track to determine if your emails are successful and how to improve your strategy based on what you learn.

Open Rate

There are a number of factors that go into whether a person opens an email or not. Some you can’t control, like if people are busy when the email arrives, if they’re away from the office, or if they get a deluge of messages, pushing yours out of sight. Taking those into account, it’s still important to monitor open rate for a variety of reasons.

  • This stat can help you understand your deliverability – specifically if your message is appearing in inboxes or being sent to spam folders where recipients are unlikely to see it or open it.
  • Email clients, such as Gmail, Yahoo!, or Outlook are always evolving and changing. Open rates allow you to determine if your messages might be having issues with a specific email client. Most email marketing tools track open rates by client. If you see a sudden drop in a specific open rate it can signal that there might be an issue with that email client that you need to investigate.
  • Open rate is also useful when it comes to testing your emails. You can test subject lines, template designs, the day and time you send your emails, and more. Then you can use this stat to help determine what resonates most with your supporters so you can eventually decide on the most successful approach.

Click Rate

Once you’ve gotten someone’s attention, click rate data gives you more detailed information about what your supporters did or did not like. It’s important to track not just the overall percentage, but to dive deeper and identify the most successful links within each email.

  • Click rate can help you adapt, edit, and reorder your email content based on what has worked previously. If you know what gets the most interest, you can use that information to put similar content in future messages.
  • Click rate can also be used to test different versions of an email. For example, you could compare a one-column versus a two-column design to see which one generates the most clicks and then use that template going forward.
  • Click rate is also important because clicks drive people to your website where they have the opportunity to check out your other content and learn more about your nonprofit. Firefly recommends utilizing Google UTM tags in your messages to look more closely at what your supporters are clicking on and where they go from there.

Bounce Rate

Unlike other metrics, there’s not much you can test when it comes to bounce rate. But that doesn’t mean it’s not useful.

  • There are two types of bounces: a hard bounce is when you send to a non-working email address and a soft bounce happens for various reasons, like the message was too large or an inbox is full.
  • If you notice a large number of hard bounces, it can signal that your data needs to be cleaned up. This is important because too many hard bounces can impact your deliverability rating and cause your emails to end up in spam folders. You can use email verification services to check your list and remove any invalid email addresses or those that are no longer in use.
  • Lowering your bounce rate by ensuring that the majority of your email list contains valid addresses will also give you more accurate statistics like open rates, because bad email addresses won’t be factored into the recipient total.

Unsubscribe Rate

At the most basic level, your email unsubscribe rate can help you see if people like your content or not.

  • This metric can also assist you in determining the right type of email to send, and how often to do so. For example, if you send a monthly newsletter, which most people expect, and it has a low unsubscribe rate, you can surmise that this is a strategy you should continue.
  • On the other hand, if you are sending multiple event announcements or invitations to the same list with a high frequency, and lots of people are unsubscribing, you know you need to go back to the drawing board for ways to increase attendance or participation without overwhelming your list.

Conversion Rate

Conversions via email can include anything from donations, to survey completions, to people sharing your content on social media or forwarding the email to a friend.

  • The rate of conversion is the number of clicks that result in the successful completion of the call-to-action you’re trying to get your supporters to take. It is essentially the return on investment that you get for each email you send.
  • Comparing this stat with your click rate can also give insight into the landing pages you direct people to. If your conversion rate is high, you can have confidence in both the email message and the way your call-to-action is presented on your site.
  • If recipients are clicking but not completing the action, it could mean that it’s time for you to revise your landing pages so they are clearer and have the content your supporters are looking for.

However you use these stats to improve your email marketing, we want to stress that you should only test one element at a time – and that you do it in a systematic way. If you change multiple variables at the same time (such as subject line and design), you won’t know which contributes to better or worse performance. It’s like taking multiple cold medicines at once – even if you feel better you won’t know which one worked. We also recommend testing each version for at least three months. This will give you enough data to make an informed decision.

Firefly’s team of experts is ready to work with your organization to implement and improve email strategy. Reach out to us today to get started today.

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