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How Understanding Email Analytics Makes You a Better Marketer

Are you newer to email marketing?

Then you may have heard about analytics and desperately wanted to ask someone what they were talking about, but couldn’t bring yourself to raise your hand. I am not a numbers gal, so I felt the same way for a long time. 

But I learned that understanding email analytics helps bring you beyond “check the box” content production and into a space where you can make data-informed decisions about your audience, your offers, and your revenue.

In this blog post, I’m going to share everything you need to know about understanding email analytics but were afraid to ask, including exactly how they function to give you a clearer picture of your email campaign’s performance. 

What are Email Analytics

In simple terms, email analytics are the tools and metrics used to measure the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns. These analytics track various parameters such as open rates, click rates, engagement levels, and more.

Email analytics provide a detailed overview of how recipients interact with your emails. Understanding how to read and interpret them allows you to know which aspects of your email strategy are working and what needs to be refined. 

It also helps to guide you about what your audience wants and what products or offers they find most valuable. 

Want to know how to use email analytics to your best advantage? 

Why is Understanding Email Analytics Important 

You may come across people in your industry who simply rely on data from their website or social media platforms or they may ignore analytics altogether and just create the content they want to offer. 

However, understanding the performance of your email campaigns through analytics is not just about numbers – it’s about translating behaviors into actionable business insights. 

When you base your business decisions on data from email analytics,  you’ll be able to 

  • Optimize your communication by crafting content based on what resonates most with your audience.
  • Increase your ROI as you’ll identify the most effective strategies to improve your return on investment. 
  • Drive conversions by fine tuning calls-to-action and designing elements to maximize conversion rates.

On top of that, you’ll enhance your client relationships by adjusting your email frequency and content to suit the preferences of your different segments. This will increase reader satisfaction and loyalty. 

To illustrate this, a former client of mine had an organic, handmade skin care line and was aware her success depended not just on the quality of her products but also on how effectively she communicated with her audience.

When we first started working together, she was sending out weekly emails filled with product updates and promotional content, assuming that her subscribers shared her excitement for every new product release. However, she was starting to see a lot more unsubscribes and decreases in overall engagement. 

Together we discovered that her emails with educational content about sustainable living and tips on eco-friendly practices had far higher engagement rates and lower unsubscribe rates compared to her promotional emails. Her audience was more interested in learning about sustainability than receiving constant product promotions.

From there we were able to adjust her email strategy by reducing the frequency of her promotional emails and increasing her focus on educational content. She also began featuring customer stories about how they were incorporating sustainable practices into their lives, which added a personal touch that her subscribers loved.

Over the next few months, she saw a significant shift in her email campaign’s performance. Her unsubscribe rate dropped, her open and click-through rates increased, and she received numerous positive responses from subscribers who appreciated the informative and engaging content. The emails had transformed from a sales tool into a platform for building a community around shared values.

Most importantly, understanding email analytics allowed us to make changes that helped her build stronger, more meaningful relationships with her subscribers. They no longer just saw her as a vendor but as a valued source of knowledge in their journey toward sustainability.

How Email Analytics Work

So far, we’ve stayed pretty theoretical in our exploration of email analytics, and if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, I don’t blame you.

In fact, when I first started learning about understanding email analytics, I felt like it was something I’d rather just ignore. After all, I’m not especially math savvy, I figured I would just intuitively know what worked for my audience. When I started offering more strategy over simple done-for-you emails, forced me to get more friendly with analytics. 

Luckily, understanding email analytics and using them to make data-informed decisions is more complex in theory than in practice.

Email analytics operate by tracking and recording actions taken by recipients. Below are some of the key metrics tracked by email analytics tools and what they indicate about your email campaigns.

Engagement Rate 

Engagement rate is a broad metric that can include various indicators of how subscribers are interacting with your emails. High engagement rates generally indicate content relevancy and effective subscriber targeting. 

This can include metrics like:

  • Time spent on email: How long a subscriber spends reading an email can indicate the quality and relevance of the content.
  • Interaction with email content:Actions such as saving an email, forwarding it, or printing it are all strong engagement indicators.

Email Opens

The open rate measures how many people open an email compared to how many emails were delivered. Most marketers report an email open rate of 46-50% [R]

Number of people who open an email / number of people who receive an email = open rate

This metric helps marketers gauge the initial appeal of their email, often influenced by the subject line and the sender’s name. 

Improving open rates involves crafting compelling subject lines and sending emails at optimal times.

Click Rate

Click rate, or click-through rate (CTR), measures how many people clicked on one or more links contained in an email. It is a direct indicator of how effective your email was in motivating readers to take a desired action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase. 

The average click rate is 7-9% while the click through rate is slightly lower, between 2-3%  [R] High click rates often correlate with well-placed calls-to-action and relevant, engaging content.

Number of people who click a link / the number of emails delivered = click rate

Number of people who click a link / the number of emails opened = click through rate

Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients who opt-out of your mailing list after receiving an email. This metric is crucial for assessing how well your content aligns with subscriber expectations or if certain campaigns are causing disinterest or annoyance. 

A rising unsubscribe rate can be a critical signal to reassess the content strategy or email frequency.

I do want to point out that some unsubscribes from your list are normal and are not to be cause for concern or a reflection that you are doing something to cause it. People may unsubscribe from your list for a variety of reasons: they receive too many emails in general, they no longer have a need for your product or service, you’ve pivoted your business in some way that no longer resonates with them, or they only opted in for something temporary (a freebie, a discount code) and had no intention of staying on your list to begin with. 

While we all want to grow our lists and know that we are providing valuable content and offers, we aren’t for everyone all the time. When your readers self-select not to receive your emails, it will improve your list health and make more space for those who are more aligned with you. 

Number of unsubscribes / number of emails delivered = unsubscribe rate

A normal unsubscribe rate is around 2%. 

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate in the context of email analytics refers to the percentage of email recipients who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a webinar, or downloading a resource, as a result of clicking a link in an email. 

This metric is vital for understanding the ultimate effectiveness of email campaigns in driving measurable business outcomes.

Number of subscribers who took the desired action / number of emails delivered = conversion rate

The average conversion rate is around 15%. 

Conclusion

I hope understanding email analytics is a little simpler for you now. Email analytics are more than just a set of numbers. They are a reflection of how well your email marketing strategies align with your audience’s needs and expectations. 

By understanding and leveraging these insights, marketers can continuously refine their email campaigns, ensuring each email sent out is an opportunity to deepen customer relationships and drive meaningful business results.

I created Your Marketing Inspired because I wanted purpose-driven business owners to use their email lists to build relationships with their clients and drive growth, influence, and change. That can only happen when they are writing and delivering content that resonates with their audience. That process is improved by making data-informed decisions, and understanding email analytics is a key piece of that. 

Do you still have questions? You can contact me here or find me on Instagram, where I’m always happy to answer any questions.

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