Email Benchmarking: 5 Metrics and How To Use Them To Improve Performance

Preface: A few months ago, the fine folks at Campaign Monitor reached out to Team TIS asking if we’d be interested in them writing a guest post for our blog. Seen as we’ve been huge fans of CMs for quite some time, we jumped at the chance to work with them! Thanks a bunch, Campaign Monitor! Now onto the post. ; )

With an ROI of $44 for every $1 you spend, email marketing is your best bet at bringing in the big bucks. As a modern marketer, the question you need to ask yourself is: “How do I make sure that my company profits from my email marketing strategies?”

The answer is actually quite simple: metrics. The success of your email marketing strategies largely depends on what specific metrics you measure and how you leverage them for your email campaigns. Monitoring the performance of your emails is never an option—it’s a must.

Does it seem like a daunting task? Well, there’s no need to worry yourself. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be launching successful campaign after successful campaign (and maybe turn into a data nerd along the way!) In this piece, you’ll get to know two important things: 1) the email marketing metrics and key performance indicators you need to keep a watchful eye on and 2) how to use the information you’ve gathered to maximize your email marketing campaigns.

Open Rate

Open rates vary from industry to industry, but the average can fall anywhere between 15% to 25%. If your open rates are below this range, then you definitely need to make some adjustments. Your subject lines have a lot to do with your open rates because they’re the first thing your subscribers see before opening your emails. If you’re suffering from low open rates, it means you need to improve your subject lines. What you should do is track open rates individually across all your campaigns. Then, you can start working on the subject lines of campaigns which have the lowest open rates when compared to your benchmarks.

To entice your subscribers into opening your emails (and increase your open rates in the process), here are some easy tweaks you can try right away.

  • Use incentivizing words or phrases like “% off selected” or “voucher” or “exclusive.”
  • Avoid using words that contribute to open rate decrease and trigger spam filters such as “free” or “download.”
  • Include numbers in your subject lines. YesWare analyzed 115 million emails (Woah!) and found that emails with numbers in the subject lines had an average open rate of more than 53%.

Click-Through Rate

Generally speaking, your click-through rates should be around 15%. Low click-through rates likely mean your subscribers did not find your content relevant and your CTAs engaging. Boo. : ( To amp up your click-through rate, first you need to understand your subscribers and the type of content that interests them. What links did my subscribers click on? Which customer segments clicked on which links? Which CTA placement performed better? These are the questions you need to answer so that you can make better and more strategic decisions regarding your content such as where to place your CTAs or what kind of content to include in your next campaign.

Delivery Rate

You can get your delivery rates by adding up all the emails sent across your campaigns and then subtracting the bounces. A high bounce rate might mean that either your emails are getting flagged as spam or you are still sending to unengaged subscribers. The best thing you can do is to look at delivery rates by geography. This way, it’s easier to notice if a particular region is affected more than others. This region might have unengaged subscribers.

Create a separate segment for a region with a low delivery rate and get to work on boosting it by going on a re-engagement campaign. Alternatively, you can purge your list of all unengaged subscribers. When it comes to email deliverability, it’s not just about quantity. It doesn’t matter if you have a huge list of subscribers if a majority of them are unengaged.

Bounce Rate

This is the piece of your email pie that did not get delivered to the intended subscribers. There are two kinds of bounces you need to familiarize yourself with: 1) hard bounces and 2) soft bounces. So, what exactly is the difference between them?

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce happens when there is an issue with a valid email address. It can be anything from the inbox being full at the time you sent your email to problems with the subscriber’s email client.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce—on the other hand—happens when you send emails to an invalid email address. The email could be nonexistent or it could have been deactivated by the owner. Whatever the reason, a hard bounce means your email will never be sent.

Between the two, hard bounces present a more serious problem. ISPs use hard bounces as a factor in determining a company’s reputation. If you have a high number of hard bounces, you are likely going to get flagged as a spammer by ISPs. This is why you need to remove all email addresses that result in a hard bounce from your email list.

Subscriber List Growth Rate

We previously mentioned that email marketing is not just about quantity, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Expanding your email list enables you to widen your reach and increase your authority in your industry, so constantly keep tabs on your list of subscribers. Find out which acquisition channels yield the highest number of subscribers and focus your strategies on those channels. It can be through your social media posts, content download offers, various subscription forms on your website, or CTAs on your blog.

Ready to Improve Your Email Performance?

By understanding these metrics, you can gain valuable insight into how your subscribers behave. This gives you a wealth of opportunities to make much better decisions that help you maximize your email campaigns and drive your revenue. Contact Team TIS today to learn more about how we can help you optimize your email marketing strategy!

About the Author

Jericho Gonzales - Campaign Monitor Author

Jericho Gonzales is a Content Marketing Specialist at Campaign Monitor. After seven years of being unhappy with his career in the financial industry, he decided to follow his dreams and become a writer. Besides writing, he is also passionate about all kinds of martial arts, and he practices whenever he can.