Measuring Email Success: Why Opens and Click Throughs Don’t Tell the Full Story

When I evaluate the success of an email marketing campaign, I use two of the same metrics that many organizations live and die by – opens and click throughs.

Those two numbers paint a succinct picture that tells you how many people saw your email, read its content, and were interested enough to check out more of what you had to say or offer. If your open rate is greater than 30 percent, you’re generally pretty happy. If your click rate is higher than 3 or 4 percent, you feel validated.

Then again, I don’t think you can necessarily say an email campaign has been successful based on those numbers alone.

After all, if your objective is to turn the contacts on your email list into appointments and closed sales, then what context do open rates and click throughs really provide? Yes, someone saw your email and maybe clicked through to a landing page. But what did they do from there? And what impact did those opens or clicks really have on your ability to have more conversations and schedule more appointments?

The True Measure of Email Campaign Success: Engagement

Ultimately, opens and clicks give you a sense that a prospect has read your emails, but they do very little to reveal contextual clues like how interested a prospect is in your products or services, or how likely your email campaigns are to stimulate further action.

That’s why it’s critical for sales and marketing teams to focus as much on engagement as they do metrics like opens and click throughs.

For me (someone who is constantly thinking from the perspective of revenue generation), engagement is all about creating and tracking emails that make the prospects in your microsegments more aware of who you are, what your company does, and what you’re all about.

Yes, engagement can be hard to measure, and the metrics that indicate it can be just as imperfect or precise, but those aren’t good excuses to ignore it altogether. The reality is that engagement is critical to email marketing success, and tracking it provides critical context when you’re evaluating the bottom line effectiveness of a specific campaign.

In fact, relative to open and click rates, engagement can be much more indicative of an email campaign’s success because it shows that your emails resonated with a prospect’s needs or pains, and encouraged them to take the next step in their buying process.

Tips for Stimulating (and Measuring) Email Engagement

So, what’s the one thing you can you do drive and measure email engagement?

It’s simple, really: Compose more targeted, relevant emails that foster a stronger connection between you and individual prospects, and keep track of what those conversations yield.

Ultimately, the content of your emails is the real key to engagement. If it’s written with engagement in mind (giving tips for better utilizing your product, answering common questions that keep prospects from moving forward, encouraging discussion or sharing, etc.), it will improve a prospect’s understanding of how your business solves their problems, while also giving you critical insight into how that prospect interacted with your email.

At the end of the day, that’s the real value of email marketing — beginning, cultivating, and progressing relationships with prospects in a way that encourages deeper conversation and further brand exploration.

So, when you think about how to drive and measure real email campaign success, make sure to go beyond opens and clicks, and also think about the replies, sales conversations, and closes that your email campaigns yielded. Those activities yield real revenue and, whether you’re in sales or marketing, that’s the end goal of any campaign.

Kendra Lee is a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer. She is a Prospect Attraction Expert, president of KLA Group, and author of the new book The Sales Magnet and the award-winning book Selling Against the Goal. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group helps mid-market companies break through tough prospecting barriers to exceed revenue goals. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and events. To find out more about the author and her “Get More Customers” strategies, visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303-741-6636.

Kendra Lee
Kendra Lee is a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer. She is a Prospect Attraction Expert, president of KLA Group, and author of the new book The Sales Magnet and the award-winning book Selling Against the Goal. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group helps mid-market companies break through tough prospecting barriers to exceed revenue goals. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and events. To find out more about the author and her “Get More Customers” strategies, visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303-741-6636.
Kendra Lee

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