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So you’ve finally decided to publish a newsletter or regularly send updates about the latest and greatest deals on your ecommerce site. You’ve got your list built out and your email design is looking fantastic. From here on out it should be a cakewalk, right? Well I hate to break it to you but your work has just begun. For your email campaign to reach it’s true potential you’ll need to be constantly tweaking and improving it. This is definitely not a set and forget project!

For you to get the best ROI out of your mailing you’re going to need to pay special attention to a few important metrics and make constant tweaks till you see those numbers improve.

Let’s take a look at them.

Deliverability: This one is absolutely essential. If you’re not getting into the inbox then you’re dead in the water. You’ll need to make sure you’re sending from an IP that has a good history with all the email providers and that your content is clear of anything that may trigger a spam filter. For more info on email delivery, check out this awesome resource from smashing magazine.

Open Rate: You’ve heard that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Well in this case the journey of a conversion begins with a single click, and that click is your subscriber opening your email. This metric is going to be heavily influenced by the quality of your list and your subject line.

You should really be starting off with a high quality list (We’re talking opt-in list here folks, not something that you would send spiced ham to) so you will most likely be seeing improvements in open rate by testing subject lines. This is very simple to test. Just create two subject lines, split up your list, send one subject line to each, then pick the winner. Rinse and repeat.

Click Through Rate: Once you’ve gotten them to open your email you’ll need to get them to click through to your website. This is all going to come down to how much you can entice them with your offer and whether you have a really good call to action.

Testing will be similar to your subject line test except you will be coming up with two versions of the content within the email to send to your lists.

Conversion Rate: The conversion is going to be the ultimate goal of your email. It can come in the form of a product sale on your website, a sign up for your event, a subscription to your exclusive forum, or some other action that you’re looking to get your subscriber to perform. It’s going to be the culmination of all the work you put into your subject lines, calls to action and other factors listed above. It’s your number one indicator of success.

Unsubscribe Rate: You want to see the amount of subscribers on your list going up, not down. This means you’re going to need to watch this metric like a hawk. If you see a spike in unsubscribes then you’ll need to find out exactly what caused it and make adjustments.

Maybe you made a change to the frequency of your mailing and people are starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the volume of email they get from you? Maybe you changed copywriters and now you’re losing subscribers because your newsletter just isn’t speaking to them anymore. Either way, just keep a close eye on that number and if you see it make a drastic change then go back and ask yourself what you did differently in that email. Most likely you’ll find what’s making them drop you.

Once you start working with these metrics then you can easily take your email campaigns to the next level through testing. Simply segment your list and send each list a different version. Then check your metrics and pick a winner. Keep doing that and you’ll have a successful email marketing campaign in no time.


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