Last week in Email Campaign Terminology Explained I explained the various key phrases and words that are used when discussing email campaigns. This week I will look at email campaigns at a more personal level and as a result the way to measure the success of any campaign.
There are a variety of schools of thought as to what constitutes a successful campaign: some will measure it by the open rate (this will vary based on the nature of the eShot you sent), some will measure it based on click through rate (this will vary based on the time the recipient has at the moment of receiving your eShot – furthermore some users are savvy enough not to click on a link within an eShot as they assume they will be tracked), some will measure it based on the Return On Investment (ROI) that the eShot generates (this is harder to track but in effect does give you an absolute monetary value for how successful a campaign has been). Personally, whilst all these are good measures of an email campaign I prefer to treat eShots as a way of keeping your client/potential customer informed. In my opinion it should not be treated as a selling exercise, as in my experience few eShots, in the Business To Business (B2B) arena, have yielded immediate sales. Even when major players in the Business To Consumer (B2C) send out their emails notifying customers, it is with the aim of keeping people up-to-date: should their interest be aroused, then all the better.
We have one client that unbeknown to us, whilst we had been sending him eShot after eShot, had been storing them in a folder on his computer. After a period of time of watching the stats it soon became clear, as someone was accessing graphics and content for an eShot that was months old. Then came a phone call: the gentleman, who is now a good client, had been watching our email campaigns and had had his interest aroused by the content of the very first one he had ever received, however as he had received it during the peak season of his business, was unable to action anything. Half a year later he made the phone and as they say, the rest is history. Email campaigns should be treated as awareness campaigns.
Society is changing and so are the mediums that we use to keep in contact. People are running as fast as they can in an effort to keep still, therefore you need to employ a medium which is not too invasive*. People do not necessary have the time to talk on the phone and sometimes when you call a potential customer (stress on the word potential) the first thought that will go through that person’s mind is “how did they get hold of my details” causing them to adopt an antagonistic, oppositional stance before the conversation has even started.
So how do you measure the success of an email campaign: the answer is it is all very relative. You should aim for about a 20% open rate: some may be able to achieve as much as 30%, whilst some as little as 10%-15%. However, just because someone opens your email does not mean they will buy. So maybe measure it by the amount of traffic generated as a result of an eShot going out: the eShot I always advocate our clients sending is when they have their website redesigned. The cliché “curiosity killed the cat” is incredibly appropriate as people will visit the site just to see what has changed. However, just because they visited your site to see what is new does not mean they will buy. The one thing you can guarantee though, whether they have visited your site or just opened the eShot, as long as the message is clear, they will be aware.
*Email can be one of the most invasive mediums there is, as discussed in How To Write A Striking, Captivating, Enticing Email Campaign Subject Line. Be aware of this and be careful: people will quickly become turned off and irritated. If the frequency of your emails are too much people will start off by reading the content and deleting your email, they will then very quickly resort to just reading the subject line and deleting your email, and then finally they will read the senders name and delete it straight away without having read any of the message what so ever. The one worse step would be for them to add you to their ‘Blocklist’: I terms this as being worse than allowing the email to land in their inbox and then delete it straight after reading the senders name because at least if it does land in their inbox they have to acknowledge who the eShot is from before deciding what to do. Sometimes people will delete everything that is in the ‘Junk Mail’ folder without even checking. With it arriving in their inbox they are still aware of your existence.