How To Tell if Your eCommerce eMail Efforts are Working
You hear it everywhere: eMail marketing has the potential for immense success. Especially in eCommerce, it can make or break your efforts to engage, convince, and retain your customers. But how do you know it actually works toward these goals?
Saying that you need to evaluate your eCommerce eMail KPIs might sound simplistic. Of course, you would want to track how your individual messages and overall strategy are performing in order to prioritize and make adjustments as needed. The more you know, the more easily you can build eMails that actually build your order value and result in more online purchases.
Unfortunately, that process is often easier said than done. In fact, 55 percent of eMail marketers think that they cannot calculate the ROI of their efforts.
Put differently, the majority of marketers today have no idea whether or not their eMail strategy is actually working. General statements like the fact that this channel has a 4400 percent ROI matters little if you don’t know whether your own efforts are actually seeing the same or a similar success rate.
To turn the corner, you need to know what to measure. Because as it turns out, the statement that eMail marketing has the potential for immense success is actually true. Can you say the same for your efforts? Here are the 6 top eCommerce eMail KPIs merchants should focus on to measure true eMail success.
1. Sales Conversion Rate
Without a doubt, the single most metric any eCommerce merchant should track is the sales conversion rate of their eMails. Put simply, this KPI measures the percentage of eMail recipients who become customers as a result of reading the eMail and clicking on its link.
The formula is simple: take the number of people who purchased a product on your website as a result of reading your eMail, and divide it by the total number of recipients for that eMail. Multiply the result by 100, and you get the exact conversion rate for each message.
Use Conversion Rate to Track: eMail Impact on Sales
Tracking your conversion rate makes sense both for individual messages and your overall eMail strategy. In fact, both variants a core part in measuring your actual return on investment. Through this metric, you can determine exactly how many sales result from your eMail efforts, allowing you to prioritize your future efforts.
For example, you might find that the third eMail in a lead nurturing sequence generates the most sales. In that case, consider moving it up in priority or using similar content for other messages in the sequence, as well.
2. Earnings Per eMail
Tracking the number of sales resulting from an average eMail is an important start. However, even two eMails that result in the exact same amount of sales can still have a very different return on investment, based on the order value of those customers who convert on your website.
That’s where earnings per eMail comes into play. This KPI takes conversion rate to another level, assigning a monetary value to each sale. Calculate it by taking the number of conversions for a single eMail, and multiply them by their average order value.
Use Earnings per eMail to Track: True eMail ROI
Earnings per eMail can be complex to calculate, which is why it might not be quite as important to your success analysis as the easier to track conversion rate. Still, it should play a core role in helping you evaluate the success of your overall strategy.
Perhaps better than any other metric, this metric helps you track the true ROI of your efforts. Calculation and analysis can be complicated. But when you get it right, you will know exactly how much revenue a given message generated for your eCommerce business.
3. Click-Through Rate
Every eMail marketer probably has at least some idea of their average click-through rate (CTR). Put simply, this is the metric that allows you to understand what percentage of your recipients actually clicked on a link in your eMail that leads them closer toward conversion on your website.
In addition to the basic metric, it also makes sense to calculate how many of the recipients who opened your eMail actually clicked on one of its link. Neither of these variants are enough to truly calculate success, but they can help you understand just where your eMails work well and where improvements might be needed.
Use Click-Through-Rate to Track: eMail Content Success
Naturally, your click-through rate is only a piece of the puzzle. Clicks matter little if they don’t actually lead to sales conversions on your website. At the same time, they can help you evaluate a core piece of your eMail marketing efforts: the actual content of your messages.
Recipients only click to take action if they’re interested by the message itself. From personalization to engaging graphics, it’s important to build your content specifically to encourage that click. Look to achieve an average CTR at or above the eCommerce industry average of 2.32 percent.
4. Open Rate
Open rate is perhaps the most widely-used success KPI for eMail marketers, but it’s also far removed from the action. Put simply, it helps you track how many of your recipients actually open your eMails.
Naturally, tracking this metric is important as a baseline for your efforts; if no one opens your eMails, you cannot expect to gain clicks, conversions, or actual revenue. At the same time, it’s a relatively limited metric that isn’t necessarily directly connected with your ROI. Still, it can be crucial to track a couple of elements within your eMail marketing strategy.
Use Open Rate to Track: Subject Line and Sender Credibility
Why do your recipients open your eMails? Two factors answer that question: your subject line and your sender information. The subject line has to communicate actual value and relevance to your audience, while your sender needs to be credible enough to encourage the read.
As a result, many advanced eMail marketers use their open rate to compare individual messages and subject lines against each other. As your first opportunity to communicate with your audience, this metric helps you get the relationship with your recipients started off on the right foot.
5. Deliverability Rate
None of the above metrics matters if the eMail never even makes it into your audience’s inbox. Your deliverability rate lets you know exactly how many contacts on your eMail list actually receive your messages instead of resulting in soft or hard bounces.
Any delivery rate below 99 percent becomes problematic because eMail clients like Gmail and Yahoo begin to trust you less. In other words, your delivery rate is not so much a success metric as it is a necessary baseline you need to achieve in order to continue marketing through this channel.
Use Delivery Rate to Track: eMail List Health
How accurate is the contact information you have about each member of your eMail list? Your delivery rate can provide a definite answer to that question. The more wrong eMails you have, the higher your bounces and the lower your delivery rate.
In fact, you can use your delivery rate to regularly ‘scrub’ your contact list in order to improve its health. To stay above the above-mentioned 99 percent threshold, take regular initiatives to keep your list intact and make sure that you only send eMails to contacts you know will receive them.
6. Abuse/Complaint Rate
Even among actual recipients with accurate eMail addresses, not everyone will appreciate getting your messages. Particularly if you reach out without securing prior consent, or your messages have nothing to do with your audience’s interests and pain points, your abuse and complaint rate will rise.
Recipients who no longer want to hear from you generally take one of two actions: they mark your eMail as spam or unsubscribe from your list. The latter is unfortunate but keeps your active list relevant. The former is problematic: once your reports reach critical mass, eMail clients will become less likely to actually deliver your messages.
Use Abuse/Complaint Rate to Track: Message Relevance and Quality
Actively tracking your abuse and complaint (or spam) rate helps you do one thing above all: track the quality and relevance of your messages, in the eyes of your audience. A key goal has to be keeping spam reports low. You can only achieve that if you make sure that every eMail you send is actually appreciated by your audience.
When the abuse report rate spikes on a message, it’s time to investigate why. Then, you need to make the adjustments necessary to make sure it doesn’t happen again. For the sake of lasting eMail marketing success, depressing this metric as much as possible is absolutely essential.
Building a Better eCommerce eMail Strategy
Each of these eCommerce eMail KPIs offers a crucial piece of information about your messaging, targeting, and strategic efforts. But they are most powerful when taken as a whole. Combined, they provide the framework you need for successful eCommerce eMail marketing.
Understanding your top eCommerce eMail KPIs is the first step. Next, you need to put a system in place that helps you actually track them in order to maximize your eMail marketing success. That’s where we come in.
InteractOne offers eMail marketing services that are specifically optimized for eCommerce merchants. We can help you gain more customers, retarget shoppers who have abandoned their carts, and re-engage past customers for future purchases. We can also help you track your ROI to ensure the success of your eMail marketing efforts. Contact us to learn more, and discuss the details of a potential partnership.