When it comes to reviewing your email marketing efforts, the "most important metric" really depends on what you set out to do with your campaign in the first place. What type of action were you trying to drive users to complete?
This will almost always be a click within the email body, such as a button, image or video player, or other form of interaction linking to your site or 3rd-party site (such as an event sign-up website or retailer with your product).
Email Metrics 101
Enter metrics. Certain metrics may be more telling for one campaign over another, ultimately depending on the goal of the campaign.
For instance, if your goal was to gain more subscribers for your blog or another channel integrated with your CRM, conversion rate should be your most important data point.
Alternatively, a low open rate is a classic sign of a poor subject line; disinterest or disengaged readers, which can mean you need to up your subject line game to provide greater value, or worse, you've been sending your marketing emails to a largely passive audience.
This is information that you can use to inform your future email campaigns.
Here's a quick breakdown of email marketing metrics and what they mean for your efforts:
This metric is pretty straightforward – it is the total number of email opens compared to the total of those sent.
High open rates mean your intended audience finds your content valuable and/or brand trustworthy. To find a sweet spot with your subject lines and improve your open rates, we suggest A/B testing with alternative subject lines.
Your bounce rate also affects the overall open rate and success of your overall campaign – it's how many emails were not delivered to their intended recipient, whether that's because the user input a fake email address or no longer uses the listed address.
A high bounce rate likely means that it's time to clean up your email list(s).
Your click-through rate (CTR) is the amount of people that clicked a given CTA (or any CTA in your email) compared to the total number of opens.
A high CTR means that readers are being successfully pushed to take action, while a low CTR may mean that your buttons or other clickable elements are not appropriately matched with the right content section, or perceived value isn't there.
At the end of the day, your bottom line is your top priority. In email marketing, ROI is not just one metric, but many – it all depends on how you define positive ROI.
Not all email campaigns are created to immediately increase customers (few B2B emails ever do). Sometimes, positive ROI is instead event signups or webinar downloads.
In these cases, getting readers to take further action (that is, fill out for that webinar or etc.) is positive ROI. It passes the torch off to the webinar or other campaign to further nurture that lead.