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Nearly every company on the web today sends some kind of email newsletter, that’s the easy part. The hard part is sending an effective email newsletter. The importance of the effectiveness of email marketing cannot be overstated. The Direct Marketing Association discovered that the standard return on investment for email was $25.80 for every one dollar spent. Beyond that, around 8% of companies claim that greater than half of their revenue can be attributed to email newsletters.
So what are the keys to crafting an effective email newsletter? Content is obviously important, but there is so much more than that. Here are some straightforward metrics to track the successes and enhance the results of your next email newsletter.
1. Bounce Rate
The percentage of emails that are unable to be delivered successfully is known as bounce rate. There are two kinds of bounces: hard bounces occur when an email can’t be delivered because the address is invalid or closed, while soft bounces happen due to full inboxes or server issues. Most servers will attempt to push soft bounces for 72 hours, at which point they become a hard bounce if the delivery still fails.
Research has shown that email newsletter lists expire at a rate of around 25% a year, for various reasons. So keeping up to date and monitoring your list for hard and soft bounces is key to success.
A high success rate and low bounce rate can actually directly impact the success of your email newsletter by increasing a metric known as a sender score. This is especially important for keeping your email newsletter out of the spam folder and in the inbox where it belongs.
2. List Growth Rate
The list growth rate metric is the measure of new contacts who subscribe to your email newsletter over time. Due to the 25% expiration mentioned earlier the standard list must maintain a list growth rate of at least 25% to maintain its number of readers. Stellar content is one way to ensure list growth, but so much more can be done to increase the subscribers to your email newsletter. Marketing Sherpa discovered that effective list builders will advertise their email newsletter on a wide variety of fronts.
3. Delivery Rate
This important metric is based on the percentage of emails from a campaign that actually reach your contacts’ inboxes. Many email newsletter and marketing platforms will calculate the delivery rate metric for you.
95% is considered the ideal number for your delivery rate. Sudden drops in delivery rate can often be attributed to triggering spam filters. If your delivery rate drops suddenly consider using one of many available tools to see if you’ve been flagged for spam.
4. Open Rate
Arguably the most important metric available when discussing the standard email newsletter, the open rate measures how many of your emails are actually opened by contacts on the other end.
However, the open rate metric does have some flaws. Often a message is only defined as “opened” if the images in the email newsletter are loaded. Because many email services (namely Gmail) automatically block images this particular metric may skew much lower than reality.
The standard open rate can vary wildly depending on the industry, but studies have shown that an open rate around 15-20% can be considered average. You can strive to increase your open rate by employing creative subject lines in your email newsletter, claim some incentive or benefit, and use interesting and engaging alt text in instances when images might not automatically.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the metrics available to monitor and improve the effectiveness of your email newsletter. Click-through rate, conversion rate and sharing rate are also powerful metrics, just to name a few. By employing these metrics and learning from the information gathered your email newsletter will be reaching a greater number of contacts on a more consistent basis in no time at all.