Ever hear that phrase “What gets measured gets managed”?
This gem was brought to you by Peter Drucker, and he’s quite right -- studies prove it again and again.
Like did you know weight watchers who tracked their weight on a scale every day or tracked their food consumption in a tracker every day lost on average 13 pounds more than those who didn’t track.
And this applies to you...how?
Because bloggers and online entrepreneurs who measure their email marketing efforts can fix issues, increase their conversion rates and make more sales.
By tracking a few important email marketing metrics, I was able to diagnose an issue with a sales email that led to a 200% increase in sales.
That’s right. Using these 6 metrics, fixed an email that led to almost 100 sales… and that was just with one email. I literally 10x’ed our sales just by paying attention to the right things.
I want you to be able to quickly diagnose issues in your email marketing plan too.
Here’s exactly what to track, why you should track the metrics I’m describing, and how to diagnose issues if you’re behind the curve.
Oh, and before I get into it, click the button below to get the free tracking sheet so you can finally see whether your email marketing is effective.
Let’s say you have a 2% email conversion rate on your website.
For every 1,000 visitors you get, 20 of them opt-in to your email list.
Imagine increasing that conversion rate from 2% to 6%. So now, for every 1,000 visitors, 60 of them opt-in:
And at most, you’d spend just a couple hours to increase your conversion rate from 2%-6%.
This scenario isn’t just an imaginary fairytale land where unicorns roam the land with their manes made of glitter, puking rainbows.
Nope, this is entirely within the realm of possibility - yes, even for you - as long as you’re armed with the information you need to boost your conversions.
And the information you need?
Well, those are your conversion rate metrics - the percentage of people who land on your site or consume a piece of content and end up opting in to your list.
And since your email list is your ATM, the more email subscribers that ATM is stocked with, the more cash your ATM is stocked with too.
If your ATM is empty, when you need to withdraw some money… well, you won’t have much luck.
By tracking this metric, it will help you understand what your audience responds to, so you can then reverse engineer list-building success every time.
When we see that one of our content upgrades or calls to action has a much higher conversion rate than most, we can compare the CTA to the others, to find out why it’s converting so well:
And that’s just from one guide.
We can then use it as a base for our other opt-ins to increase our conversion rate overall.
Same for those that are lagging behind. We’re able to take that metric and use it to fix the opt-in opportunities that aren’t pulling their weight.
By not tracking this, you could be giving up hundreds or even thousands of emails every month -- which can translate into giving up hundreds or thousands of dollars.
OK, so tracking your conversion rate is important. Got it.
But it’s not enough to just login to your Sumo dashboard every week and note how your opt-ins are performing.
You need a more savvy system to track and compare the effectiveness of your opt-ins - including which apps and email collection forms are performing the best, what your offer is, and any changes you’ve made to the opt-in.
And you need track the conversions to each opt-in offer, call to action, and content upgrade you offer.
To track your overall site visits conversion rate: The best way to do this is to set up a Google Analytics goal. This will help you understand what percentage of total website visitors end up subscribing to your email list.
To track your content upgrades: Every email app on the market should track your conversion rate. If they don’t, switch to one that does. Here’s an example of our conversion rate on a content upgrade for our article 10 Types of Emails to Immediately Send Your Subscribers [With Templates]:
Make a new email capture (ie Welcome Mat, Click Trigger, landing page etc) for each piece of content you use your content upgrade on. On underperforming upgrades, this will help you figure out whether it was the offer in relation to the content, the offer itself, or how you’re presenting it.
Track the performance in a spreadsheet.
This may seem old school, but I’m recommending it because it works.
Here's the spreadsheet we use internally to track conversions on our opt-ins.
Let’s say you’re tracking your conversion rate and you notice a couple of opt-ins that aren’t pulling their weight.
Don’t just chalk it up to a fail and bank on the higher performing opt-ins. That’s not how you increase your conversions
Instead, tweak the underperforming opt-ins to see if one of these factors is dragging conversions down:
Protip: Because your conversion rate can so drastically affect your email list growth - and therefore your bottom line - set aside some time every week to review your metrics and make adjustments.
I don’t know about you, but while the words “conversion rate” are kind of sexy…
“Confirmed opt-in rate” lacks a certain je ne sais quois.
But don’t be scared away by the snooze-worthy term for this metric, because not only is it important, but it’s also at least partially within your control.
If you’ve ever logged onto your email service provider and saw the sheer volume of people who took the initiative to sign up for your email list but didn’t confirm their subscription, you might have had a minor heart attack.
That’s because around half of the people who opt-in won’t confirm their subscription.
And you know what that means?
Unfortunately, it means that 50% of the people who sign up for your list won’t actually be added to your list.
You’ll lose half of your subscribers to laziness, the dreaded spam folder, or human error.
And not only that, but you’re still charged for unconfirmed email subscribers within most email service providers… and you can’t do anything with them once they’re in your system for a set period of time.
Meaning that if your unconfirmed rate of subscribership is 50% and you have a list of 10,000 (confirmed subs), each month you’ll have to pay for storage of 20,000 emails.
Something tells me you’re not hustling to make sales in your business so you can spend your hard-earned money that frivolously.
But the good news is your confirm rate isn’t just set in stone.
There are things you can do to increase it and keep more of those subscribers to add to your list-ATM (and to save money on those storage fees).
Paying attention to this metric will not only tell you whether you have a confirmation problem (my condolences), but also whether what you’re doing is working.
Almost every email service provider should have data on the unconfirmed opt-ins to your list:
You might not be lucky enough to get a clean percentage but you can do some of the groundwork yourself.
You’ll want to keep regular data on your unconfirmed rate. “Regular data” depends on the volume of subscribers to your list, so let’s make it simple.
If you see a drastic decrease in the % of subscribers who fail to confirm, that means you’re doing something right (perhaps maybe your thank you page reminder is working).
If you see an increase, there could be an issue (maybe your subject line is pushing your confirmation email into spam folders).
Okay, so let’s say you’re losing half of your would-be subs to the nethers of the internet.
Luckily this isn’t entirely out of your control. Here are a few things that can move the needle in the wrong direction:
Protip: After reading this section you might be tempted to turn off your double opt-ins in your email service provider. This is most likely not a good idea. Those who don’t confirm their email after you have these safeguards in place likely weren’t going to be engaged subscribers, anyway. Let them go.
I bet you do it at least once per day.
You go to your email inbox. You scan through your unread emails, identify the ones you want to read and open, and trash the rest.
And guess what? Your email subscribers do this, too. They do it with promotions, emails from friends, and even your emails.
That’s why this metric measures the amount of people who actually open your emails.
Let’s say you have a 20% email open rate, and 2000 email subscribers. That means that 400 of those subscribers would open your email.
Now, let’s say you have a 5% click through rate and a 10% conversion rate on your sales page.
Meaning that of those 400 opens, 20 people click through to your offer, and you’d make on average 2 sales.
If you pay attention to this metric, you can increase that dramatically. If you increased your open rate to 35%, 700 people would open your email, 35 people would click through and 3.5 people would buy.
Over a year, you’re increasing your sales by almost 20. If you have a high-ticket item, this is significant. If you’re not measuring your email open rates (and tracking them with diligence), you’re leaving a ton of sales on the table.
And this is one of the simplest stats to improve. I’ll show you how in just a minute.
Just like with unconfirm rates, almost every email service provider will give you data on your open rates.
Luckily they’ll make it simple, too, by providing you a quick percentage per email.
You want to track this on every email -- not only the open rate, but also the subject line of your email, because your subject line is most likely (but not always) the culprit for your high un-open rate.
But it could be…
It’s the dream…
Your subscriber sees your email in their inbox. Their interest is piqued immediately. They scramble to open the email, and once they’re in, they devour every word.
They get all the way to the bottom of your email, and they can’t help but click on your call to action and do what you’re asking them to do.
But that’s not reality. In reality, clickthrough rates (the amount of people who act on the call to action in your email) are some of lowest of all aspects of email marketing in terms of percentage.
That’s because your email has to sell the reader. And if it doesn’t?
Fewer clicks. Fewer eyes on your offer. Fewer people buying from you. Fewer bills in your email list ATM.
Tracking your clickthrough rates helps you understand which emails have performed the best in terms of getting people to act on your call to action…
So you can reverse engineer that success to write the best email, every time.
Within your email service provider, you’ll find your clickthrough rates alongside your email open rates on every email you send.
With the clickthrough rate, make some notes about the email itself. What type of email was it, what was the call to action, and whether you used any marketing strategies like scarcity or social proof.
Track this on every email you send like with your open rates, so you can identify the high performing emails against those that are lagging behind.
If you’re below the curve here, there are a few issues you could be experiencing.
Your email. Is the angle or topic of your email something that your audience is truly interested in? Did you add massive value to the email even without your subscriber having to follow your CTA?. Did you “sell” the value proposition in the email? Did you build scarcity, social proof, reciprocity, or another marketing strategy in your email to increase clickthrough rates?
But it could be…
Whether you’re emailing out content, a sales email or even just value you want your subscribers to follow your CTAs.
If through tracking this metric you notice your clickthrough rates are much higher on an email that adds massive value through a case study of your product (social proof) you can use those elements in your future emails to boost your overall clickthrough rate.
There’s nothing more disheartening than pouring your everything into an email that you send, only to see a flood of unsubscribes.
And that’s even when unsubscribers don’t leave rude feedback.
While it’s natural to have some unsubscribes with every email you send, it’s problematic when you have more than average.
You fought tooth and nail for each of your subscribers. Don’t let them go just because of a few common issues.
Track this metric to troubleshoot and improve that unsubscribe rate.
Your unsubscribe rate should be tracked per email to troubleshoot what might have went wrong when the rate is higher than average.
Your email service provider should give you stats on your per-email unsubscribe rates -- whether or not the email is a broadcast or an autoresponder email.
Unlike the other metrics I’ve mentioned in this guide, don’t forget that the higher your unsubscribe rate is, the worse news it is for you.
Before I get into the common issues if you’re seeing higher than average unsubscribes when you send an email, please keep in mind that it’s natural that with every email there will be a certain amount of unsubscribes.
It’s only a problem if you see a huge uptick in unsubscribes, or if your rate is high to begin with.
Email marketing ultimately serves a purpose.
You’re marketing. Meaning, you’re hoping to sell your product or service through email.
Sure, maybe not every email (we’d actually highly advise against this). But when you send out what we’ll call a “sales email”, you better be tracking the effectiveness of that email.
If you’re not, how will you know what’s working?
One of the best (and really only) ways to increase your effectiveness, your productivity, and yes, your sales, is to find out what’s working (and what’s not) and do more of it.
When you’re first starting out, measure against industry standard. Mailchimp has this great table on open rates and click rates by industry.
You do this only when you’re first starting out though, for one huge reason:
Because you have nothing else to measure it against. As you start to track these things, you can begin to measure against yourself - which is far more meaningful.
If we usually have a 30% open rate on our emails, and one of our emails only sees a 20% open rate, this puts us in a far better position to diagnose what is wrong with the email.
Now, sure you can track these with each individual analytics tool.
But this is going to make your life really difficult, and you can’t properly diagnose issues through relying on the internal platform-based analytics.
Instead, use the analytics these tools give you to keep your own tracking tool.
Before you go, don't forget that bonus material.