A great reason to use emails for promotions and contact is the ability to track the emails. You will need to have extensive knowledge of HTML and database programming to track emails, but if you don’t then you will want to speak to your ESP.
Email tracking reports are a great way to determine how your email campaign is going. Here are a few examples of what you might expect in one of those reports:
- Emails bounced
- Why emails bounced
- Who opened the emails
- Links clicked
- Emails forwarded
There are a few calculations that you can make to determine these. Here are a few important figures you will need to know as they will explain your readers usage:
- Bounce rate: is the rate of emails that bounced or did not get delivered. If your emails sent is 100 and your bounce rate was 15 of them, then your bounce rate would be 0.15 or 15%.
Non-bounce rate total: this is the amount of emails that are sent to the reader and not bounced by the server. To calculate this rate, you take the amount of emails sent and subtract total bounced emails. So again if your total emails sent is 100 and 15 of them bounced, then your total non-bounced rate is 85.
- Note: it is important to remember that your non-bounced rate is not the exact amount of emails that is received by readers as some emails might be blocked or not received that is not due to the server.
Open rate: the open rate is when someone opens an email but also when one of two things happen:
- When the recipient enables the images in preview pane or full display or the recipient clicks the link within the email.
- The open rate is calculated by dividing the tracked opens by non-bounced total. For example, if 85 of your 100 emails are not bounced, and 35 are tracked as opened, then the amount of received emails is 0.41 or 41%.
- Note: for those that are sending out text-only emails, you will not get these emails tracked until the reader replies. You want to make sure that your ESP adds a blank image in every email, to ensure that open tracking is possible.
Click-through rate: this is the number that is from unique individuals clicking on the links within your email. To determine this figure, this requires a few additional steps listed below:
- To find out this number, the amount of clicks in your email are divided by the number of emails opened. If your email contains 4 links and received multiple clicks from 20 users user, you want to subtract 20 from the total amount of clicks.
Next you want to take the number of tracked opens and divide by total unique clicks. For example, if you have 50 tracked as open and 6 unique clicks, your email received 0.12 or 12% click-through rate per open.
- Note: your number of click-through rate will never exceed the number of tracked opens. Customers can’t click links if not opened. Also this only present your with unique clicks, but most email tracking reports do provide reports on how many clicks each user selected and which links were clicked.
Some information cannot be tracked through click rates but requires a different form of tracking. This might be used to determine sales, attendance or responses. Below we will take a look at a few examples that don’t require tracking of clicking.
In-store purchases: if you are looking at converting internet users into in-store purchasers then you will need to somehow track those individuals. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Have the email audience print the email and bring it along with them if they decide to come to your location. Try to do a monthly count as a daily count may be too minor.
- Ask your email recipients to mention your email when they visit your location. You can keep a booklet set aside to keep track of the mentions. You can also provide an incentive or gift to mention your email. This can be done even if they aren’t purchasing anything.
- When customers enter your store, you may ask about the email. This can be done by you or your employees and kept be kept track of in your booklet.
- Promoting products or services can also be used to track customers. If a customer enters your store in search of that particular offer then your know they have received your email.
Phone calls: if you are looking at increasing your telephone traffic, then here are some useful ways in keeping track of those callers.
- Just like those trying to generate in –store purchases have callers mention your email, and count each call related to a promotion or service.
- Setting up a special phone number for calls related directly to your emails.
- You may add a note within the email regarding who recipients should speak with. whenever a call comes in for say Mr. Smith, then you will know that is a call related to your email.
- You can also ask customers how they found your number. If they reply from the email, then you will want to make sure to note that information down.
Event attendance: if you are trying to determine how many email recipients you will have at your event, here are few ways to help you keep track of them:
- Ask subscribers to bring the email invitation to the event. You will want to count the emails after the event.
- If the invitees are not wanting to bring the email, then have them mention the email to you at the event.
- If you are looking at a way to count the number of people attending prior to the event, you can have guests preregister or reply to your email.
Email replies: the easiest way to track emails is well through your email. If you sent out an email regarding “Registration due today” and received an email back with “RE: Registration due today” in the subject line of the email, then you can clearly see what they are responding to. There are two components here that you want to keep track of here.
- Keep track of the reply. This will help you determine why they are replying and whether there were any concerns or questions they may have had.
- Keep track of your reply and any further replies thereafter. You may also want to keep track of the result or solution for the reply.
Once you have sent out information to the readers, you will begin to accumulate usage data through your link-tracking codes. There are different ways in which you can use this data to help determine what steps you will need to take next. The list below is an example of how you can use click-through data for email development.
Targeted email offers: if someone were to own a car parts store and from their email, received 150 link clicks for hot rod parts, they would be safe to assume those individuals are interested in hot rod parts. Using this form of data you may be able to:
- Create a database for those individuals. You will then send more targeted email information to those specifically interested in a particular segment in your business.
- You will be able to create interest targeted emails to groups of viewers. For example, if the car parts store knew that they had viewers interested in hot rods parts and other interested in import car parts, they would create a generic email and make minor adjustments for the two different categories.
- Once you have discovered the different categories of interests, you can change your offers specific to the group. Your offers may be different, while one group receives a coupon the other receives a discount, you want to make sure that your call to action remains the same.
Follow ups: following up with your clients is a great way to develop your understanding of how users interpret your email and provide you with more personal information. This will be a great opportunity to speak to the customer and collect information such as telephone numbers and home mailing addresses. Here are some pieces of information regarding follow ups with your customers.
- This will be a great way to make a second offer to customers that may have clicked your purchase link but didn’t continue with the transaction. You can also find out why they may have decided not to go through with the purchase.
- For those that did click your link, you can send a thank you card which makes a perfect transition to another offer for an alternative product.
- This can allow you an opportunity to call and speak to the customer. Find out more about your clients and provide any answers for questions they may have.
- Following up with customers can provide you with an opportunity to send a survey. This can help gather vital data in their experience with your email.
- You can thank your subscribers who may have helped gain you leads or new subscribers.
- Finally you can use the follow up to get in touch with your clients that may have unsubscribed. Determine what reasons they had for leaving your business.
Testing: this will be essential in providing you with insight to clients reaction of your email layout and content. Here are a few ways to run testing with your subscribers and you don’t even have to tell them that you’re doing anything.
- To run a successful test, you will want to randomly select a percent of your email subscribers (10 to 15%) and separate them into a new category in your database.
- Then you will want to create two editions of your email and send it out to your subscribers.
- You will want to wait approximately 48 hours or until you are sure your clients have receieved the email. Then you will want to record the amount of link clicks and usage.
- Once you have determined the email with the highest rate of return (clicks, purchases, etc.), send that email to the remainder of your email list.
- Final step is to wait for results. If you are doing this properly and often, you will begin to see a dramatic increase in activity and will provide you further information about your subscribers usage. After several tests, you will also become better at designing your links and proper wording to attract attention. (Remember practice does not make perfection but it does bring you closer to your clients needs).