Many of my Boot Camp attendees believe that the key metric to focus on, when determining the success of their email, is open rate.
This makes total sense, seeing that open rate is usually one of the larger numbers that appears in an email report.
When I tell small businesses and nonprofits that open rate is not the only metric they should analyze, and discuss the reporting features in Constant Contact, I usually receive a gasp or two.
Here’s why your email open rate is not the only metric to watch when determining whether or not your email was a success:
What does your email open rate say about your readership?
Very little. Just because someone opened one of your emails does not mean that they are interested in your product or service, curious about an upcoming event, or even care about your business or nonprofit. Did they open the email and hate it, or did they close it right away? You really have no idea by solely focusing on open rate.
Open rate can also lead you astray because of the way it’s tracked. Some programs give a false positive/negative on open rate due to preview panes. Some email programs will register too many opens while others will register too few opens.
You should focus on clicks and forwards
With these numbers, you will not only see if your email was successful, but you’ll find a path to more successful email marketing.
The primary reason that clicks and forwards are the most important metrics to watch is because of what they tell you about your subscribers.
Unlike open rate, you know that a customer opened your email because they clicked on a link or forwarded the email. You also know for a fact that they found your email of some interest, and when they click on a link, you can dig into what link they clicked on, what specifically interested them etc. Armed with that data, you can see what content your readership found the most valuable. In future emails, you can include more articles or videos around that subject. Should a link perform poorly, you can change the location of that link next time, putting it higher up in the email, or you can rewrite your email copy.
Click through rate becomes even more valuable because you can see which links people found valuable and who clicked on the links. By seeing this data, you can arm a sales team with a hit list. You could even save those readers as a unique list for some targeted marketing.
The value of a forward
Anyone who forwards your email is telling you that they believe in your business or organization and find you interesting. With a list of passionate or valued customers/members, you can send unique offers and elicit them for special feedback. If you further incentivize and involve these fantastic people who are fans of your organization or business, they might even spread the word about you.
My attendees were thrilled to learn about the metrics they should focus on, in conjunction with open rate, as they continuously improve each email based on the data gleamed from the last one. They now know that if you only focus on open rate, you might miss the most thrilling part!
Have more questions about clicks and forwards? Check out one of the Constant Contact Boot Camps in your area!
Constant Contact Boot Camp: Constant Contact offers a wide range of beginner and advanced hands-on, in-person Boot Camp classes that teach small businesses and nonprofits how to be successful at email and social media marketing, as well as event management. Our nation-wide Boot Camp trainers are some of the best in the field.