In email marketing, no matter what you’re doing, the most important first question to ask yourself is why you’re doing it. Having a goal, objective or refined sense of purpose means focusing your efforts in a way that yields results—instead of casting a net in any general direction.
Along with defining a purpose, it’s also important to qualify success. How do you know you’ve achieved what you set out to without a way of validating the outcome? This is where setting benchmarks becomes important. And, with a near-infinite number of variables to consider in the world of eCommerce email marketing, picking the right benchmarks is critical for identifying your goals and successes.
When it comes to email marketing, you’re always going to hear about the importance of the “big 3” benchmarks: open rate, click rate and conversion rate (purchase rate). Their importance is self-evident: they show the complete sales path from start to finish. At the end of a campaign, these 3 data points will always be in the conversation.
But what about other benchmarks that yield insight into the effectiveness of your eCommerce email marketing? It’s important to also look outside of the sales funnel, to observe additional interactions for insight into your campaign:
- Bounce rate: Did your email take your customers to where they needed/wanted to go? The bounce rate can tell you a lot about your ability to connect the dots within the sales pipeline.
- Correlative clicks: What types of keywords or prompts made customers click? A/B testing can yield insight here, to help you talk the talk your customers are speaking.
- Unsubscribes: Who opted out after this last email? Why did they leave? Knowing what’s driving people away is even more important than getting them to click!
These are just a few additional variables to observe and to consider when setting goals for the success of your campaign. Lowering the bounce rate, measuring correlative clicks and minimizing unsubscribes gives you multiple datasets to work with as you seek to drive success.
How do you set realistic benchmarks for success when it comes to eCommerce email marketing? This question can be easily answered by looking at your objective. Are you looking to generate revenue? If so, your conversion rate is the first place to set a goal. Announcing a new product? Open rates are going to be a good benchmark for exposure. The goal determines the benchmark(s).
Next, it’s important to look at industry averages. This data can be found across the web, compiled by email marketing platforms like Remarkety, and will provide you with a starting point for what to consider a success. For example, if the average open rate for emails concerning the apparel industry is 21%, this can be used as a data plot versus the open rate of your campaign, thus defining success.
Finally, defining the nature of your email is critical to bench-marking its success. Are you sending an abandoned cart follow up? Newsletter? Sale or promotion email? Understanding the interaction rates of these types of emails means being able to benchmark degrees of successes and failure. If sales and promotions emails average a 46% open rate and an 18% click rate, you can stack up your 52% open rate and 23% click rate to measure success, for example.
Benchmarks make for innovation
With every benchmark you set, the potential for improvement increases. Improving your open rate via the use of A/B testing data or lowering your bounce rate through better list segmentation means optimizing your email efforts beyond the competition. With each new benchmark for success met, the bar is raised, allowing you to better your business by bettering your email.