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Tracking and Measuring the Effectiveness of your Email Marketing Campaign

What good is an email marketing campaign if you cannot measure the effectiveness of it?  After sending your email marketing campaign, you will want to know how many people opened it, how many people clicked on specific links in the email, how many messages bounced, and perhaps how many people converted to a sale or lead.

Open Rates --  Open rates are a measure of how many people viewed your newsletter.  Open rates are typically measured using a 1X1 pixel tracking image embedded in the HTML.  We believe that open rates (measured using unique opens - meaning only one open per recipient is counted) most newsletters should be in the 30 to 45 percent range, with most companies that are doing a good job probably falling into the 35-40% range. Companies using the double opt-in process, with mostly newer subscribers, offering extremely compelling content and following best practices can achieve open rates in the 45 to 50+ percent range.

Open rates have been declining a bit for a couple of reasons. Blocked images and preview panes mean that some emails are "viewed" but not counted as "opens." Additionally, as people's inboxes have gotten overwhelmed combined with them subscribing to more and more newsletters, people are making choices about which newsletters are of value and are then opening fewer - even though they may not unsubscribe.

Click Rate -- The click rate is a measure of how many people clicked one or more links in your newsletter.  The click-through rate (CTR) is important because without it, you don't get conversions. However, there's no single benchmark click-through rate, because CTRs depend on many factors: whether you send to a business or consumer audience, the kind of mailing you send, how relevant it is to your audience, how often you send, your opt-in process, your use of personalization and segmentation and dozens of other factors. And most significantly, how many links you have in your email and if you are providing content such as articles, whether you include the entire article within the body of the email or you have a teaser or snippet that requires subscribers to click through to a Web site to read.

Bounces  -- Bounces are a measure of how many messages failed delivery.  A hard bounce is a message that never leaves the mail server such as is the case if the recipients email server is unreachable.  Soft bounces are messages returned from the recipients email server for various reasons.  After a message bounces several times the subscriber should be removed from the list to keep you list clean.

Conversions -- If you are selling a product or service, the ultimate measure of the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign is how many of those subscribers converted to a sale or lead.  This is often referred to as acquisitions or ROI (Return on Investment).


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