Which Email Marketing Metrics Really Matter?

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Photo compliments of: lrargerich

The other day, Rob (at Robs web tips) asked which is more important: 3,000 blog subscribers with a 10% open rate? Or 300 active subscribers who all click on your emails?  What email marketing metrics should you worry about and measure?

The total number of subscribers?  Is a bigger list always better than a smaller one? Or is it something else that really counts?

There’s so many different stats to watch: list size, open rate, bounces, clicks,..Which email marketing metrics and which numbers really matter?

A little marketing secret

Here’s a secret that many web marketers don’t know.  Internet marketing is really “old-fashioned” direct marketing. It’s just sped up really fast (and with less paper). When all we had was snail mail, we had a general sense of deliverability (how many letters reached their destination), based on whether any of them came back with wrong addresses.

There was no way to tell who looked at the envelope, who opened it, or who read the letter. All we had to go on to tell if the mailing was a success was the number of orders we got.

Now, we can not only get that information, we can measure and track it.

The marketing metrics that matter

What really matters is not the raw numbers of subscribers, but the percentage of people who are actively interested in what you’re saying: the opens, the click through rate, and if you’re selling something, the conversion rate (percentage of sales you get).

Monitor your open rates and clicks. If they’re low, find out why.

Are you covering topics of interest to your readers? Set up a quick poll (with surveymonkey) and find out.

Do your subject lines and headlines need work?

If you’re selling something, look at the copy. Is it focused on you, or what your readers will get?

Which numbers have you been tracking on your blog or newsletter? Which ones do you think are important? Not sure? Ask in the comments.

UPDATE:  For another take on this, check out Bob Poole’s post: Wrong