If I asked you, “How do you measure the success of your email marketing?” you might feel a little uncertain.

Even if you have more than a creeping suspicion that email reports could help you measure success and improve results for your business, the thought of all that data may seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

You may also be a little unclear about how to make sense of all those numbers and gain insights that you can actually use.

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You don’t have to be a data enthusiast to use your email reports.

With a basic understanding of the terminology and a plan to put your data in action, you’ll be able to approach your reports with confidence and gain the insights you need to become a smarter marketer.

Best of all, you’ll be able to make simple improvements to get more people opening, reading, and acting on the emails you send out!

It starts with understanding the different information that’s available within your email reports.

If you’re sending email out through Constant Contact, you have access to helpful reports that show you how your emails are performing, what’s working for you, and where you can improve.

Here are the five most important areas you should focus on:

  • Opens: You can view the percentage of contacts that opened your email, as well as a specific list of everyone who opened each message.
  • Click-through rate: Your click-through rate shows you how people are actually engaging with the content in your email. You can view which contacts clicked your links, then target them with follow-up emails.
  • Bounce rate: Emails can bounce for a number of reasons, including invalid email addresses, a full inbox, or out of office statuses. Keeping an eye on your bounces will help you to remove any addresses with ongoing issues and maintain high deliverability rates.
  • Spam: If an individual on your email list reports your email as unwanted or unsolicited, it will be marked as spam. The best way to ensure a low spam rate is to practice permission-based email marketing.
  • Opt-out: An opt-out occurs when one of your contacts no longer wants to receive your emails and unsubscribes from your list. A few opt-outs are normal from time to time, but you should pay attention to this number to make sure your emails are not turning people away often.

Now, think about what these numbers are really telling you

Here are some common questions you might be tackling, and advice for how your reports can help.

1. Is my audience engaged?

Focus on: Opens

Your reports offer valuable insight into how engaged your contacts are with your emails. Check how your open rate compares to others in your industry to see how you’re doing.

A high open rate shows that you’re on the right track and providing useful information. If your open rate is lower than your goal, it might be time to make some tweaks to your strategy.

You can start by looking at your overall sending schedule. It’s important to find a balance so that you’re able to stay top-of-mind without crowding your reader’s inbox. You should also look at your initial sign-up process and make sure that you’re setting the right expectations when someone signs up.

There are also tweaks you can make when designing your emails. It’s important that people can easily recognize your name when you land in their inbox. Pay attention to details like “from name” and “from email address.”

You should also pay attention to your subject line, as that will be the first impression your emails have on your readers. Most importantly, you want to make sure that the content you’re sending your contacts each month is relevant to them, and is something they will find valuable.

Takeaway: In your email reports, take a look at the open rates for your past few emails. Are there any that stand out as being higher than average? Is there something unique about that email that you could apply to your next newsletter or announcement?

Spend some extra time on your next email and try adding something new. Then, check back with your open rates to see if more people opened this email than usual.

2. Are my emails inspiring people to take action?

Look at: Clicks

Getting people to open your emails is an important first step; inspiring them to take action is even more important for your business. High click-through rates often come from emails with strong, clear call to actions.

Ask yourself: What do I want someone to do after reading this email?  Once you have a goal, make it easy for readers to understand the action you want them to take by keeping the text concise, using relevant images, and including links or buttons to point them to the next step.

Takeaway: Create an email with a goal in mind and provide a way for readers to take the next step. After sending, look at your reports to see if people are clicking on links and engaging with your business beyond your email. You can even look at which contacts are clicking on your links and target them in future messages.

3. Are my emails reaching the right people?

Pay attention to: Bounces, Spam

Once you send an email, you want to check back to make sure your emails are reaching your contacts in their inbox. Part of having a healthy and responsive email list is paying attention to your bounce rate. Look in your reports, keep track of email addresses that consistently bounce, and remove any with ongoing issues.

Also, be sure to keep an eye on the number of spam reports your emails are receiving. You can use the Constant Contact Spam Checker while creating your email to avoid issues before you send. If you still notice a high number of spam reports, consider reducing your email frequency.

Takeaway: Don’t ignore high bounce rates or spam reports. Use your reports to remove contacts that continually bounce. Avoid issues with spam reports by using a spam checker and only sending to contacts that have opted-in to your emails.

4. Am I doing anything to turn people away?

Watch your: Opt-outs

An opt-out from time to time is nothing to be too concerned about. However, if your reports indicate a large number of unsubscribes, you’ll want to make some adjustments. Look to see if a certain email had a large number of opt-outs or if you’re consistently receiving a large number of unsubscribes.

If you’re consistently seeing a high number of opt-outs think about what might be turning your contacts away. Are you sending emails too frequently? Are you providing value in your messages? Opt-outs can give you a helpful hint that your approach needs to be adjusted.

Takeaway: Check in with your reports to make sure your opt-outs are down to a minimum. If your opt-outs are higher than you’d like, consider sending a survey to your contacts to get some feedback on how frequently they want to hear from you, and what kind of content is relevant to them.

Your email reports don’t have to get the best of you.

If email reports seem overwhelming at first, start using them a little at a time. Not only are email reports far from intimidating, they’re some of the most valuable marketing tools you have available.

Get started today! Open your email reports and find an email that performed better than most. Consider why this email was so effective, and think about how you can do something similar the next time you hit send.

Log in now to get started!

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