Metrics That Matter: Are You Measuring the Right Stuff?

Michael Kelly, Director of Business Development at ClickMail, recently presented at the Silverpop Summit. His presentation on email marketing metrics that matter was so well received, I thought it fitting to recap it here.

Titled “Proving Your Worth with Metrics,” Michael’s presentation was partly drawn from MarketingSherpa’s 2009 Best Practices in Email Marketing Handbook which Michael played a part in pulling together. Get Michael’s presentation for a preview of some of the compelling stats and numbers.

Michael covered why to measure, what to measure, and the challenges of measuring, among other topics, including what to do with that data once you have it, and new tools for compiling and learning from that data in real-time.

But why is measuring your data so difficult? Lots of reasons, including conflicting metrics and not knowing what to measure. In the email marketing industry, we suffer from conflicting metrics because there are so many things to measure. We measure how many mailed, delivered, opened, clicked through on and more. The lack of consistency in calculating key performance metrics makes it impossible to establish industry benchmarks or to effectively compare results.

Sometimes we forget that email marketing is about more than just clicks. Email can achieve numerous significant goals beyond a sale. The purpose of email marketing is to trigger an action, not only to get a click. That action might be a forward to a friend, signing up, a visit to a brick-and-mortar store, attending an event, or simply being more aware of a brand.

And knowing all those actions are possible reactions to your email makes measuring even more of a challenge!

Again, we’re back to metrics. Remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Real danger lurks in not measuring the right factors or not measuring accurately. You could suffer lost revenue. You might not know which messages are working. And your sales team won’t know what to focus on. On the other hand, there are huge advantages to knowing your numbers so you can:

  • Justify your marketing strategy
  • Prove email marketing is an integral part of your organization’s marketing plan
  • Justify your budget by showing that email provides a far better ROI than any other marketing medium
  • Know what works and what to improve

    Improving click-throughs is one thing, but don’t forget to also measure against your company’s organizational goals. What is the point of all that email marketing anyway? There is a master goal, the big Kahuna, the big pie-in-the-sky reward your business is focused on. Make sure your email marketing measurements align with helping to achieve that goal. This might be increasing brand awareness or increasing sales.

    What we’ve described here is the ideal world of email marketing metrics. In the real world, they’re not so easy to get. Your ESP won’t be able to provide you with this kind of data, but companies have found solutions in widgets and what we at ClickMail affectionately call “reportals”: online dashboards that use API system calls to access data from ESPs.

    You probably already know APIs are highly effective at automating the launching of emails, and managing the flow of data between disparate platforms. Now we at ClickMail are using APIs as a fantastic tool for extracting data to produce actionable reports.

    To read about two organizations that have benefitted from the metrics possible with “reportals” and how your business might take advantage of a similar approach, request a copy of Michael’s presentation.

    Until next time, remember to measure – it’s the only way you can improve!

    – Marco Marini, ClickMail Marketing

  • 2 thoughts on “Metrics That Matter: Are You Measuring the Right Stuff?

    1. Great article. Responses are critical to track because they are the way your subscribers communicate back to you their pleasure or displeasure with your programs. Don’t forget to track everything they are telling you. That includes all complaints from major ISPs, your unsubscribes by campaign and even inactivity over time. This will give you the full story.

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