How to make data driven campaign decisions (and why it’s important)
When it comes to email marketing, we traditionally focus on what we consider to be the key metrics such as open rates, click through rates, and not forgetting that all-important ROI. While they all have an important role in shaping our email programs, as marketers we’re always looking at ways to develop and improve our scores.
Whether you’re a data hater or revel in crunching numbers and finding trends, here we take a look at the top five key questions to ask that uncover key data metrics and insights that are often overlooked to help inform your email strategy . So, data haters, do not fear, answering these questions will have you reaching higher email engagement in no time.
1. Unsubscribe Rate – When and why do your customers stop engaging with you?
You’ve sent out a campaign and the unsubscribe rate is higher than usual. Why? The first thought is to question what was wrong with that particular campaign. In reality, you need to take into account a much wider range of data to fully understand the real drivers behind unsubscribes. For example, how long has your customer been a subscriber, and how recently have you contacted them? Perhaps you aren’t contacting them often enough or with the right content based on their expectations. Is this a one-off case or common across multiple email campaigns? Your audience’s preferences will change over time; therefore, it may only be a single campaign that drives them to unsubscribe, whereas your broader content piqued their interest every time.
2. Fewer Opens – Are you reaching your audience?
If you’re seeing an increase in the number of emails ‘not attempted’ then it’s time for a spring clean of your contact list. If your list is not clean, a contact list of 50k emails may only reach 40k people because the rest have either previously unsubscribed or bounced. So, even if the campaign you’ve sent has a good level of engagement from those who DO receive it, the actual number of opens is lower than you had projected.
3. Personalization – Are you doing it right?
You might think that personalization inevitably means higher open rates and engagement, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, personalization that misses the mark can actually lower open rates and increase unsubscribes. It’s easy to get hooked into an email as the sender has been kind enough to mention your first name, only to find the opening sentence isn’t relevant at all. It’s therefore important to consider the type of campaign you are personalizing. Our research shows certain types of content perform better than others when it comes to personalization. For example, sales campaigns may underperform if it’s clear the content isn’t at all personalized.
4. Deliverability – How is this affecting your campaign success?
One often-overlooked metric is deliverability success – meaning how often your campaigns are successfully delivered to the inbox of your recipients. If you see an increased number of hard or soft bounces to a particular email domain, there could be an issue with your domain score and therefore your ability to deliver content to your intended recipients.
5. Campaign Success – Why do some campaigns do so well?
This is the ultimate question – find an answer to this and you’re well on your way to engaging with your customers at the highest levels. That’s also why it’s so important to look at the whole picture to get under the skin of your data and what it can tell you.
For example, you may see a spike in open rates on a particular day or at certain times. By looking at the type of campaign, you realize that the reason is because you send your booking confirmations at this same time and day every week – and naturally customers will open this content over say, an unsolicited sales campaign. Some things to consider when taking a holistic view of your campaign success, and how to better interpret, and utilize, the insights you uncover:
1. What type of campaign is it?
- From promotional content to personalised offers, news updates to insight reports, booking confirmations or tickets – each type of campaign will yield very different engagement rates.
2. What type of audience received the campaign?
- Have they been well engaged before?
- Are they multi or single campaign subscribers?
- How recently have they opened a previous campaign?
- How often have you been contacting them?
There is no silver bullet to creating successful email campaigns, but there are steps you can take to ensure you are improving and developing your email program to yield better results over time.