Analytics 101: How to Use Analytics to Refresh Your Email Marketing
By Kristen Dunleavy December 31, 2014
If your business uses email marketing, you owe it to yourself and to your customers to track your analytics. Consider this your crash course for refreshing your email marketing in the new year.
According to Hiten Shah, KISSmetrics’ co-founder, growing your business without tracking your analytics is like driving a car blindfolded. Sound extreme? Maybe just a little, but he has a point. If your business uses email marketing, you owe it to yourself and to your subscribers to track your analytics.
Why use analytics?
If your goal is to grow your small business, analytics has your back. Want your emails to make you money? Analytics will tell you your ROI. You’ll glean valuable information about targeting to ensure you’re emailing the right people. And if you’ve got content woes, analytics will give you insight into the types of content your audience wants. Analytics is the key to becoming a successful marketer – and who doesn’t want that?
What should I be looking for?
There are a lot of areas you can look at in your email marketing analytics. You can use the tools within your email service provider platform, Google Analytics (or both, if you’re an overachiever) to identify these.
Find out how many people opened your email and who they are.
Which of the links in your email are getting clicks and which aren’t?
If anyone unsubscribed from your list after you sent a particular email, analytics will help you identify that email.
Measure the traffic emails bring to your website and get a better picture of how effective emails are at driving readers to your website.
Are any of your emails being returned as undeliverable? Identify those email addresses to get a cleaner list of engaged subscribers.
Where are your subscribers from? Do you have a sudden influx of subscribers from a certain city? Location can play a big role in the type of content you send people.
How are people viewing your emails? This should prompt you to test your emails to ensure they look good on any device.
Certain analytics like open rates may be affected by your deliverability. If this is low, emails may not be reaching some of your subscribers’ inboxes.
Find out how much revenue your emails are generating.
Common analytics problems and how to fix them
Now that you know what analytics to look for, here are some common problems and how to fix them.
My open rates stink
Give your subject line some love. It should be attention-grabbing, it shouldn’t sound spammy (avoid all caps) and it should be relevant to the content inside. Remember that your readers can see the first line or so of your content (this is called preview text), so make good use of that space too.
Also, focus on the timing and frequency of your messages. Through testing, find the time of day that most of your subscribers open your emails, then stick to it. On your sign up form, tell people how often they can expect to hear from you, then stick to it. If you signed up for a monthly newsletter and started getting daily updates, you wouldn’t be too happy, would you?
People are unsubscribing from my list
Did they unsubscribe after you sent a certain message? Look at that message and evaluate what you can do better next time. Frequency could be another factor. Are you emailing too much, or so little that people forget who you are? Unsubscribes might hurt initially, but they’re not necessarily a bad thing. It’s better to have a small list of active subscribers than a big list full of robots.
I’m getting bouncebacks
There are two types of bounced email addresses: a hard bounce and a soft bounce. A hard bounce indicates a permanent deliverability problem, while soft bounce points to a temporary issue. A good email service provider will identify and mitigate bouncebacks for you. Any email addresses giving you hard bouncebacks should be removed to ensure that everyone on your list really wants to be there.
I don’t know if I’m sending the right content to the right people
Let’s say you sent an email containing a customer feedback survey. Those who didn’t open the email may need an extra nudge. Why not segment your list based on open rates and offer a discount incentive to those who didn’t open your email? This gets you more opens, the feedback you wanted and a sale!
No one is clicking through to my website to make a purchase
What do you want people to do after they read your email? Make your call-to-action (CTA) very obvious. You can also try an incentive offer for first-time buyers.
My deliverability is low
Many factors influence email deliverability. If you’re receiving complaints, you can adjust your content to send more relevant information to your subscribers. You can also adjust how often you send emails. To improve your deliverability, ask yourself these two questions:
- Are my subscribers receiving the content they signed up for?
- Am I emailing them as often as I promised?
Should I split test my emails?
Test all the things! An A/B split test lets you test two versions of the same email to find out which gets better results. Here’s how that works:
- First, decide what you’ll be testing. Your subject line? Call-to-action? From name?
- Define your hypothesis. Something like, “If I make my call to action button larger, more people will click through to my website and make a purchase.”
- Keep an eye on those stats!
- Adjust your emails depending on your results
- Test again!
More analytics resources for email marketing
The only way you can start tracking your analytics is to start sending emails! Don’t get discouraged if you’re not getting the results you want right away. The whole point of analytics is to learn what you can do to refine your emails for the future.
Still looking to solve your email marketing analytics challenges? AWeber can help! Click here to get started today.