Satisfying customers is what successful marketing efforts are all about. But profit is your reason for being in business. How do you know if you're hitting your target? How do you connect the dots between customer demand, email marketing and your profits? Analysis is one piece of the puzzle.
Marketing intelligence tells you if you're hitting your target
Electronic marketing efforts offer the opportunity to gather intelligence and measure results. With that information you deliver what your customers want instead of wasting their time with stuff they don’t.
When your email campaigns deliver what’s useful, interesting or entertaining, it puts you in a favorable light. You probably won't get immediate results but it makes it more likely people will do business with you. The additional work is worth it. When you hit the bull's eye, you'll eventually be rewarded with more sales.
Get the bare-knuckle truth about your email efforts
Don't kid yourself by simply looking at open rates and call it a job well done. You don't want your accountant lying to you, so why would you want anything but the facts about your marketing efforts? Frankly, the truth about your email marketing campaigns can be a little humbling. But when you know the truth you can improve your efforts and make them pay off.
How do you measure their level of interest?
Your Email Service Provider (ESP) offers reports that show open rates. But that can be a little misleading. An "open" includes your mail being viewed in the preview pane of Outlook. So you know you showed up on someone's radar screen.But how do you find out if they actually read what you sent and their level of interest? Here are two steps to implement.
Start with dedicated web pages. If you are dealing with an article, first put it on a dedicated web page or blog post. Do the same if you're dealing with a product. Make sure the web pages have Google Analytics installed on the page.
I used to think I was giving my newsletter subscribers a bonus by giving them the first look at my articles. I then made them publicly available on my blog. It was a nice thought, but I've changed my method. I now post to my blog first and my newsletter only has a snippet of the article. To read the whole thing, people have to click on the link to the blog post.
Combine Google Analytics with ESP reports. Your Email Service Provider (ESP) will show how many people "clicked through" to your website, giving you a picture of where their interest is high. That, however, can also be deceiving.
Clicking the link indicates INITIAL interest, but looking at your Google Analytics report indicates if they liked what they saw when they arrived. You'll find out if they lingered or if they "bounced" out. That's valuable information helping you understand your audience better so you make strategic decisions about future content.
What do you do with the data?
Maintain a spreadsheet that shows the results of your email campaigns. Show the date, subject line and key elements of each email. Then show open rates, basic click-through rates and which elements were most popular.
As you create content plans for next year or next quarter, review that spreadsheet to get some clues about what people want and what people don't want. And if you tie your email results to buying behavior, you are well on your way to a successful email marketing effort.