Explore Opportunities to Improve Email Click-Thrus
During the life cycle of an email campaign, metrics — or rather, performance data — will (and should) indefinitely undergo scrutiny. Evaluation can range from simple pulsing to comprehensive analysis. As with Web pages and banner ads, click-thrus are often regarded as the nucleus of the results. If an email campaign is not generating the anticipated amount of engagement from clicks, it begs the question, "What now?"
There are several options for improving click-thrus. Some should be implemented prior to production while other steps can be taken after launch.
Define metrics that matter most
With the abundance of reporting output available for digital media, it is necessary to identify key metrics critical to an email campaign. Though every figure and rate carries distinct meaning, it is not ideal to assign equal significance to all values. For instance, if a program is geared for member retention, then open, hard bounce and unsubscribe statistics could be the areas of focus. By contrast, delivery and click counts might be more relevant to a campaign aimed at acquisition. Though click-thrus are a fundamental component of email marketing, their weight should be factored with consideration of behaviors by the intended recipients.
Beware the benchmark trap
Benchmarking can be effective when taking the temperature of an email campaign — with some provisions. Overarching studies may rely too heavily on data accumulated from programs not well-suited for comparison. Rates calculated with results from popular commercial emails can give the impression that more segmented campaigns with fewer grossing click-thrus are failing. A better alternative might be examining statistics by industry vertical. This level of reporting is not as readily available as overall email outcome but can offer perspective on click trends within a niche market. The best opportunity may be to determine where campaign clicks rank among others supporting the same brand or client. Published research tends to rely on average benchmarks rather than showcasing a full range of findings — particularly, top-tier clicks. More value could be derived from comparing campaigns with strong similarities, designating the most successful program as the gold standard and then striving to beat it.
Utilize data to drive improvement
When assessing the health of an email campaign, remember this variation of an old clich�: If it’s broke, do fix it. Correlations on the impact of site content can be drawn from tracking click-thrus and resulting page sessions. For example, reports could indicate some links within an email are functioning as passports with recipients gravitating to unexpected portions of the site navigation. A common knee-jerk reaction would be to immediately overhaul the contact strategy but this might not be plausible for every program. Instead, take advantage of the learnings to shape future email efforts. Cross initial input and assumptions about consumers against their performance data — perhaps what was once true is no longer the case. After recognizing what site elements are most popular, consider additional messaging that spurs clicks to those areas.
Email click-thrus are vital to programs they support. In the digital marketing era, resources are plentiful for demystifying, measuring and ultimately improving clicks. Knowing how to gauge the metric and the approaches for optimization are valuable tools in constructing successful email campaigns.