Understanding Email Metrics

At The Weinstein Organization, tracking and measuring our work is at the core of what we do. Which is one of the reasons why we love email—the metrics available for us to analyze are truly fascinating (yes, we admit to being data nerds). And what we can learn from email metrics is fundamental to the effectiveness of our clients’ email campaigns.

Following are some of the more commonly used email metric terms and their practical definitions:

Email Conversions: Whether driving a purchase or attempting to acquire a confirmation, email conversions are a measurement of your specific call-to-action. This metric tries to answer the question “How many specific actions were taken by the recipient as a direct result of this email?”

Email Delivered: This metric describes how many emails were actually delivered to the intended recipient’s mailbox provider without getting “bounced” or kicked back to you from a delivery error. But this is not a bulletproof measurement of success. Your email can still be spam filtered into a recipient’s junk mail folder where it will appear to the sender as being delivered. A good way to ensure higher delivery rates is to take the proper steps and perform email list hygiene, which will help keep your list current and accurate.

Total Opens: Measuring how many times your email was opened is more of a measurement of the strength of your subject line, but there are too many variables involved to make this a reliable correlation by itself. Total opens alone do not indicate a successful email campaign, as there can be false open reads when an email is loaded into the preview pane, or when clicked-on just prior to deletion. Open rates are not a reliable metric for success alone, but they can help you understand the success rate of your delivery.

Unique Opens: are a similar metric to total opens, but it eliminates duplicate opens (ex: multiple opens by the same recipient) and tries to answer the question, “how many unique individuals opened my email?” Again, there are too many variables to rely on Unique Opens: alone as a measurement of success.

Click-Throughs: This may tell you that your email has been intentionally opened, and even the likelihood that someone has read it. However, you have to look at which links were clicked before you can measure effectiveness. If your offer link was clicked then your email is more likely to be doing a good job. But if the unsubscribe link was clicked then you have an indication that your email was worse than ineffective—it may have lost you a customer. Many clients will applaud high click-through rates at face value, but they do so at the risk of ignoring their customers’ true intentions.

Email Forwards: Understanding how many of your recipients forwarded your email to someone else is an excellent measure of several things: readability, relevance, the strength of your offer, and the appeal of your campaign to your target audience. As always though, it still doesn’t tell you by itself if your email is effective—conversions give you a better read of that. But conversions and forwards taken together can tell a marketer that they have a potential viral campaign in the works that might garner exponential reach.

On their own, no single email metric should be used as a reliable indicator of the effectiveness of your email. Which is why at The Weinstein Organization we have the capabilities to measure our email campaigns from a wide range of metrics. When you look at all the metrics together you get the total picture of how effective your email is, where it can be improved, and what can be understood about your prospects and customers.


Facebook Email and Integrated Direct Marketing

While the big buzz this week was over Google's purchase of Skype, millions of people around the world were quietly obtaining their Facebook email accounts. It's the latest round of power plays between these two internet giants, each one trying to become the dominant platform in social networking, communications and marketing dollars.

Google, with it's combination of email, search, YouTube and now Skype, seems to have everything a marketer could want in one integrated platform. Facebook is the dominant global social network, combining email, video, search, e-commerce and a highly mobile audience (approximately 50% of Facebookers use their mobile FB app more than the web version). Targeting your audience on Facebook is a marketer's dream.

But here's the critical difference between Google and Facebook: Google is a utility, Facebook is a destination.

People use Google when they need to search or use their gmail account. Now they will use Google to Skype. Google is something people use when they need to do something specific. Facebook is different. Facebook is something people use every day regardless of their intent. There's a ubiquitous quality to Facebook in that it is a part of peoples' daily lives whether they want to admit it or not. 600,000,000 people around the world spend 40 minutes each day on Facebook. They might be just reading posts from their network, playing Farmville or Scrabble, watching videos, buying from retailers and now sending email inside and outside the Facebook universe. Regardless of the action they take, people go to Facebook and spend time there everyday.

Marketers need to see Facebook for what it is: a network with a highly engaged, identifiable and diverse global audience, a two-way communications device, and a daily destination. It is web based and mobile. And now with the arrival of @facebook.com email addresses, it is poised to become an all-in-one communications portal. Marketers should be licking their chops with anticipation.

If email marketing is part of your mix, then Facebook Email marketing will offer a truly integrated way to reach and grow your audience. If email marketing is something you are considering for your business, there's never been a better time to start.


The Email Subject Line Hall Of Shame

Email marketing, when executed correctly, can be extremely effective in reaching your audience and motivating them to respond in a particular way. But your email must be opened and read first, and one of the first lines of defense against a bounced or unopened email is a well-crafted subject line.

The subject line is more than a “headline” to your email. It is the key to getting through spam filters, which are notorious for degrading the ROI of your campaign.

Here are the stars of the “Subject Line Hall of Shame” and how your emails can avoid being just like them:

1. Everything you need to know about this email is in the subject line, so open it now and read.

At 92 characters long this subject line is likely to get cut off in most email clients, and has a high probability of being blocked by a content-based spam filter. Think about how you write a personal email. The subject line is usually just enough to convey importance, urgency, seriousness, or humor. It should act as an attention-getter, not a summary of the message.

We recommend subject lines be 35 characters max.

2. THIS EMAIL IS SO IMPORTANT, I’M USING ALL CAPS

This email looks so spammy, your filter can’t wait to block it from being delivered. All-caps are an immediate giveaway that the email is a poorly-crafted message that needs to SHOUT to be heard, or it was written by that guy in a foreign country who has $5,000,000 waiting to be deposited into your account. JUST SEND HIM YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO GET RICH.

Do not use all-caps.

3. Tips are a tipoff

If I wanted your advice I would have asked for it, so this email must be junk. Here’s a tip: tell me what the benefit is to me in the subject line and I’ll be motivated to read the email. Otherwise, I’ve got 20 other emails in my inbox that have identified themselves as requiring action.

Tips are too passive to be effective, and unsolicited advice is rude.

4. $ave Money!! Act Now!!

Benefit driven? Check. Short? Check. Upper and lower case? Check. Spam? Definitely, according to your filter. Spam filters look for symbols like exclamation points and misused dollar signs in subject lines. And “save money” is such a blind benefit that the reader will wonder how for about 1 second before they delete the email.

“Save money on your cable bill” or “Save money on groceries” focus the reader’s attention better because these kinds of lines communicate real, tangible benefits.


Email Marketing: The Perfect Compliment to Direct Mail

Looking for a cost-effective way to reach your customers without sacrificing maximum impact? Interested in opening a new, alternative channel of communication with an existing customer without being redundant? You should consider using or expanding email marketing.

“Email ad spending will jump to $677 million in 2011, from $492 million in 2008.”–eMarketer, “Social Media and E-Mail Spending to Rise”?

E-mail marketing is an efficient way to provide timely updates, targeted, personalized messages and beneficial promotional information to your customers. Designed to encourage and prompt the recipients to take immediate action–buy, download, sign-up, or direct them to the nearest store location. Besides offering a unique creative palate for direct marketing solutions, the benefits of a well-integrated email marketing component as part of your overall strategy are numerous:

1. Inexpensive - no postage costs.

2. Multi-Channel Strategy - compliments all components of your strategy.

3. Measureable - analyze results: open rates, click-thrus, and conversion rates.

4. Easy to test - try multiple offers, introduce a product before rolling out

5. Targeted - segment your audience and vary messages for each recipient.

6. Top of mind - keeps your company name and contact info in front of customers while generating awareness about new products and services.

7. Builds relationships - often resulting in customer loyalty and trust.

8. Increases credibility - increases awareness and brandishes image as industry expert with timely news and valuable tips.

9. Quick turnaround - perfect for communicating time-sensitive information.

10. Immediate action - sales, downloads, inquiries, and registrations instantly

At The Weinstein Organization we’ve been integrating email marketing within our clients’ overall marketing campaigns since 2004. We deploy over 600,000 emails per month and the results have been impressive to say the least. For more on how cost-efficient email marketing can complement your direct marketing efforts, contact your TWO account representative today.


TWO TIP: Best Opt-In Words

Call to action copy for opt-in e-mail should consider not using terms like "Subscribe to," or "Register for." Some readers will infer that there's a financial obligation due or a fee for service.

"Sign up for" copy is better because it's friendly without suggesting a commitment.

"Join" makes prospects feel that they are part of a group entitled to special benefits. "Exclusive Offer" subject lines should appeal to these people too.