As a marketing professional, you probably spend a lot of time creating email marketing campaigns. You think of the content, the strategy, the images, the templates and so on. Then, you set the campaigns on your email marketing software, test them and send it to your segmented lists. So apparently you've done everything right, following all the email marketing best practices. Time to move on to another campaign, correct? Wrong! Your whole work is set to go straight to limbo if you don't track and analyze your results.
But what email marketing metrics you should pay most attention to? How do you actually measure the performance of your transactional emails in your email marketing strategy?
We will show you the ropes:
- Why you need to monitor email marketing metrics
- Which email marketing metrics you should use
- Testing and optimizing your transactional emails
As strange as it might sound, many marketing professionals still have problems analyzing data and applying it to decision-making. That's what the latest study conducted by VB Insight showed. Although 84% of marketing professionals think email is important or critically important for loyalty, sales, retaining customers, and lead generation, just a few monitor their email marketing metrics. Want an example? 32% of them don’t know on which devices their customers are opening the emails and 29% aren’t even tracking revenue through emails.
That's shocking! Especially if you know that email marketing delivers the highest ROI across all marketing channels. So why such few marketing professionals know what's going on with their transactional emails? Probably because 53% of transactional emails aren’t handled by marketing teams.
Marketing professionals need to understand that transactional emails are a wonderful opportunity to increase brand engagement and revenue.
Unfortunately, not all emails result in conversions, but when it's done right your chances rise exponentially. But how will you even know that if you don't measure the correct metrics? Measuring and understanding your performance gives you tools to tweak, refine and improve your campaigns.
When talking about transactional emails, the number of marketing professionals that actually tracks and analyzes the results tend to be even smaller. Simply because since they are automated emails and their opening rates are naturally higher than broadcast emails there is an overall lack of interest in the email metrics.
But if you do measure your performance and the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy, you'll be able to optimize your transactional emails and generate additional sales.
So let's cut to the chase: which email marketing metrics should you pay most attention?
Monitoring email marketing metrics allow you to find out what you have done right and what should be modified. Before start bear in mind that are 2 main sources of data that will deliver information:
- Your campaigns: how many emails you've sent, to whom, who opened it, who clicked on it, and so on.
- Your website: what happened after someone clicked on your email links?
To correctly measure the data coming from this three sources you need to ensure that your emails are being delivered to the right people at the right time. Also, be sure that your website and your landing pages are up and running.
There are basic metrics that you should keep a sharp eye on. They are:
Emails sent:when you are working with transactional email campaigns, you do have to take extra care to this metric. After all, more emails mean more interactions and possibly more transactions. So this is a key indicator of your business success.
Delivery Rate:this is simply how many emails have been delivered. The equation is something like: (number of emails sent – number of bounce backs/ number of emails sent). Note that delivery does not mean that your email reached the contact's inbox. It just means that it was not rejected or deferred by the ISP. To make sure that your emails go through properly, make sure that the sending server has permission to send out emails on your domain's behalf. And make sure that your server doesn't have a bad reputation.
Open Rate:another simple equation. Just divide the number of opened emails by the number of emails delivered. On transactional emails, open rates are usually higher than bulk emails, mainly because recipients are probably expecting this kind of email.
Remember that sometimes your open rates are not as high as expected depending on the subject of the email. For example, if the customer reads the subject line “Payment Confirmation” on the inbox, this is probably enough information for them and they might not open the email.
Another thing that counts when analyzing this email marketing metric is that opening rates are measured only when the images are displayed in the email, so the results shown aren't 100% accurate and are probably below the real number.
Click rate:this is just how many people clicked on your links divided by the number of emails that were delivered. You should already know that transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email and that it can generate 6x more revenue. Just because you're probably expecting high rates it doesn't mean that you shouldn't pay close attention to this metric. In fact, a good practice to make the most of your analysis is to categorize the different types of links that you send in your emails. Doing that you can measure your performance according to your different call-to-actions. For example, segment your clicks by notifications, transactions, promotions or product recommendations.
You can also segment types of emails like emails with images, demographics, location, and so on.
Return on Investment (ROI):for some marketing professionals, this is the most important metric. But it's rarely measured on transactional emails and is essential to analyze your email marketing performance, especially if you work with cross-selling and up-selling in your emails.
The email marketing metrics on transactional email are slightly different from the ones on newsletters. And you also need to consider timing in this analysis. As they are generated continuously, you have to build a graphic with the collected data so you can compare it on a regular basis. Still, it can be quite difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the results.
If you keep a consistent analysis of your results, try testing different strategies to see if you can improve your overall results. You can basically test everything in your transactional emails: images, templates, subject lines, call-to-actions and so on.
With the results of your testing in hands, it's time to optimize your strategy. First of all, have you already found out where your customers are opening your emails? Chances are that they are reading it on mobile devices. So you have to optimize for mobile!
Also, take advantage of social opportunities. We live in social media times, and people like to share experiences and content they find relevant and valuable with their friends, family, and co-workers. And who says that your transactional emails can't be used as a social media strategy?
Click rate increases 55% for transactional emails containing social media links
They are great to ask for feedback, reviews and you can even create ways to make your customer share your transactional email content. 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site offering customer reviews, and customer reviews are trusted nearly 12x more than manufacturer descriptions.
Obviously, this will work better with specific transactions like content downloads, registrations for certain events and product recommendations, for example.
Another great way to optimize your transactional emails is creating drip campaigns. This is a great tactic, particularly if you're sending welcome emails. In fact, welcome email sequences can increase customer engagement by 40%. Welcome emails are an excellent way to increase your open and click-through rates. To make it even better include an offer, which can more than double your revenue per email. Keep subject lines clear and concise, making sure to include your brand name in it.
On emails receipts, that already has an open rate higher than 100%, there is always room for improvement. Don't forget to be polite and say "thank you" in your email, because it pays off: click rate for confirmation emails decreases by 35% if the email doesn’t say "thank you".
Shipping confirmations are another example of transactional emails with great open and click rates, but you can optimize their ROI simply by adding cross-sell offers. It may increase your transaction rates by 20%. Consider including as much information as you can such as order number, tracking number, delivery date, products ordered, and links for product tracking, returns, and questions. This way, you can cut costs on customer service.
Don't ever forget to personalize your emails. Your customer experience should be pleasant from the very first beginning. Make them feel that there's a real person behind the brand: someone who cares about them.
Although it may be a little harder to measure your transactional email performance, it does pay off to take some time to analyze and compare your results over time. As a marketing professional, you have a powerful weapon in your hands and it's your job so take full advantage of that.