Are you measuring your Email marketing campaign wrong?

Are you measuring your Email marketing campaign wrong?

email marketing and email metrics

When my husband and I bought our first house, I took a tape measurer with me every time our realtor took me to look at houses. I have no concept of space without it. We had a relatively large television at the time and most of the homes we toured had very specific alcoves for televisions. We had to know if it would fit (priorities, right?). When we finally bought our house, I worried our new dining room table would be too large for the new dining room. In reality it look like it shrunk when it was placed in the large room.

Before we toured homes and I measured everything I could reach, I had to know what size our television was and how large we wanted each room to be. If I measured the wrong thing or brought back the wrong dimensions, we wouldn’t have the data we needed to make good decisions.

Your marketing measurements suffer from the same problems, especially email metrics and other online media rich with data. Over 700 people a month search for “best email subject lines” while only 10 search for “improving click through rate.” That leads me to believe more people are concerned with the open rate than the click through rate of their emails, but what’s really most important?

>>>Read Next: B2B Email Sugject Lines: Which Words Work and Which Words Don’t<<<


Before you start measuring your b2b email marketing campaign, you must understand the terminology.

Metrics–how you measure how well your marketing campaign is working

Emails sent–the number of addresses on your email marketing lists to which you sent a specific email

Deliverability–the number of emails delivered to inboxes

Open rate–what percentage of your email are opened

Click through rate–what percentage of people who opened your email clicked through to your website, social media or other links.

Spam reports–the number of email recipients who reported your email as spam to their email provider

Bounced emails/Invalid addresses–the number of email addresses that are invalid

Unsubscribes–the number of people who unsubscribe to your email marketing campaigns

Let’s start with the most common misconception: a high open rates means I’m succeeding. No, not always. How often have you opened an email on accident? How often have you opened the email, scanned it, decided it didn’t apply to you and then deleted it –within about 3 seconds? While open rates are good metrics to measure, they aren’t the best measurement of your emails. Open rates measure how well your subject line works and how much people value what you say. If your content doesn’t back up what people expect from you, you’ll soon see open rates decline.

How do you know if your small business email content is lining up with what people expect from you? You’ll see it in the click through rates. Here’s where you find out how really well your email marketing is performing. Are your readers clicking through to finish reading an article? Are they looking at your products in a specific category? Are they signing up for classes or requesting more information? All those interactions signal that you’ve provided quality information that interests your readers.

Open rates and click through rates of B2B emails are the positive things you want to read about, but if you’re not paying attention to the not-so-positive things you’ll soon find yourself in a heap of trouble. Do you know how your email provider like Google or Yahoo or Hotmail knows when to send certain emails about certain topics to your Spam folder? It’s because emails like these have been reported for spam so many times the email providers do not give them a second glance. You don’t want to land on that list.

Industry standards say a spam complaint rate higher than 0.1% is something to be concerned about. What happens when your emails get a lot of spam complaints? Both the domain name and your sending IP address get a black mark against it. If you thought being blackballed from your college fraternity was tough, you haven’t seen anything yet. Enough of these black marks and you’ll find yourself blacklisted, which means your emails will end up in the dreaded spam mailbox before they ever hit the inbox.

So how do you keep from racking up spam complaints on your B2B or small business email marketing campaigns?

Send regular emails to your contacts. If your contacts haven’t heard from you lately, they may forget your name and that confusion often lands your email in the spam box.

Make your content engaging. And we’re back to the click through rate again. If people like your content, they won’t be hitting the spam button, end of story.

Clean up your email list. On an annual or semi-annual basis it’s a good idea to go through your contact list and clean out the ones who haven’t opened an email in the last 12 months. You can send them a “Dear John” letter if you’d like, but then unsubscribe them yourself.

The final one on that list will also limit bounced or invalid email addresses from clogging up your contact lists. If people who once liked you no longer live at that email address, you’re not getting anywhere by keeping the address on your list. It’s like keeping your ex’s phone number in your phone even after they changed the number.

Schedule some time this week to review your email marketing campaign from the last 12 months. What topics increased your open rates but not your click through rates? What types of content increased your click through rates? Do you have some contacts who need to go? A clean list and fantastic content will help you cut through the inbox clutter and get some real attention.