November 13, 2018

How to measure your email results

Nerd alert warning: today’s post contains nerdy language, including the word ‘parameters’. You’ve been warned…

We were talking yesterday about the trade off between email length and email frequency. The next question is tracking. In other words, how do you know if a long email is better than a short one?

Most email platforms will report on open rates, click through rates, and sometimes conversion rate (you get a script to put on your website). For me, this is a little limited. I suggest you measure the overall effectiveness of your emails in Google Analytics.

Even if you’re a copywriter or creative person at heart, you need to make sure that tracking measures are in place. Some email providers (e.g. Drip, Mailchimp) will automatically append Google Analytics tracking to all links. This tracking code is called ‘UTM parameters’. Google originally bought Google Analytics from a company called Urchin, so UTM stands for ‘Urchin Tracking Metric’. Just by the by.

If your email platform doesn’t add UTM parameters automatically to your links (Infusionsoft does not), you have to add them yourself. Google has a free tool where you can do this.

When you click on links in my emails you might notice that the URL itself ends with:

?utm_source=infusionsoft&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily%20email

That code tells Google Analytics that the visitor came from my Infusionsoft data, the medium was email, and the campaign was ‘daily email’. If I wanted to compare the performance of my daily emails against my welcome sequence, I would need to have tagged links differently in the welcome sequence.

Most people are slapdash about tagging their links. I suggest you obsess over it.

The next step is to configure your Google Analytics goals so you can measure form submissions, phone calls, live chat conversations, and anything else that is valuable to you. Measuring form submissions is relatively easy – just send people to a ‘thank you’ page after completing the form.

Measuring phone calls and live chat interactions is more complex and requires third party software. But if you want to know what is working, I suggest you measure any actions that are of value to you. If you take orders on your website, either configure the Google Analytics ecommerce module, or send people to different order form thank you pages for different order forms, so you can associate a sale value with the goal.

Those two steps will get you the right data in Google Analytics, and the right data coming out. I then suggest you hire or train somebody who likes analysis (not me!) to tell you what is working.

I’m the creative person, not the analyst. Took me a few years to realise that. I can get this stuff setup, but I don’t like working in Analytics more than ten seconds a day. Quite frankly I’d rather spend my days writing instead.

If you have significant data (e.g. more than 10K contacts on your email list) then paying someone to analyse your data is a good idea.

It’s worth remembering too that all numbers are best taken as relative rather than absolute. Knowing that an email had a 25% open rate is about as useful as a bendy hammer. But if you sent two versions of an email, where subject line A got a 20% open rate, and subject line B a 40% open rate? Well that’s genuinely useful.

More on split testing tomorrow.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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