Numbers mean stuff: Get real with your email reporting

email reporting

I am a what some people refer to as a “rabid” sports fan. I am also a lover of random statistics. Most dear to my heart on the sports front is my alma mater, Purdue University, and its basketball team.

AJ Hammons is one of the best centers in the country, but he is not a three-point shooter. AJ Hammons leads the country in most made three point attempts without a miss. Yes, you read that right. This year Hammons is a perfect 4-4 from three-point range and leads the country in most makes while also being perfect. I recently read a satirical article claiming Hammons to be the best three-point shooter in the nation.

Reality Check: there is an audible gasp/groan from Purdue fans if Hammons lets it fly from more than 5 feet from the basket.

Is there an “AJ Hammons three-point” statistic present in your company’s email marketing? Let’s walk through three of the top email marketing statistics and how to evaluate their indications of success.

Email Opens

This is the first step in promoting your marketing message to your targeted segment. If someone knows the brand, company, and/or sender being used for the message and the subject line is interesting enough, the message will often at least be opened. Unfortunately, certain browser and/or mailbox settings will report an “open” if the user simply scrolls over or highlights the message.

I spoke to a prospect several months ago regarding email reporting and statistics, and he shared with me that he thought his current marketing automation solution was inaccurate in its results reporting. I asked why he thought this, and he responded by sharing that over the past 6 months, his average email open rate was OVER 100%!

Reality Check: you may be the best email marketer in the world, but if your open rate is over 100%, you need to be researching a different email marketing/marketing automation vendor ASAP.

 Email Unsubscribes/Subscribes

The hard truth is that your “Opt in” list is either growing or dying every single day. Best practice dictates that companies only send email messages to contacts who have actively “opted in” to receiving communications. A second hard truth is that change happens, and someone who “opted in,” yesterday could just as easily “unsubscribe” tomorrow, meaning that companies must take steps to actively grow their subscriber lists.

Inbound marketing via content marketing is truly the only way to grow your marketing list organically with integrity. Buying email lists is a quick way to harm your deliverability and earn spam complaints along with boatloads of “unsubscribes.”

Reality Check: Contacts who unsubscribe are not “dead!” This list should be checked regularly as it can provide new prospects and chances to reengage old contacts.

Email Link Clicks

This figure should be considered the Holy Grail of email marketing. Whether you live in the world of B2B, B2C, or somewhere in-between, a strong CTA is critical for a successful email and campaign. Does your current email/marketing automation tool allow you to track which links are being clicked and by whom?

When I look through email and campaign performance, I always first check which links were most popular in the email before taking a deeper dive into understanding WHO actually clicked on the links. As a marketer, it is easy to get caught up in raw numbers, but quality is far superior to quantity in terms of email marketing.

Reality Check: Understand the purpose of every link in your email. Take a deeper dive to ensure that the right audience is taking actions with the right links and calls to action.

In conclusion, looking at raw totals of opens, link clicks, and/or subscription data will only get you so far. Strive to dig deeper in your statistics to judge the success of your email marketing in order to avoid a misunderstanding like crowning AJ Hammons (Boiler Up!) as the best NCAA three-point shooter in the country.