"It's high time email marketers assess campaign performance in terms of the business and marketing goals, objectives, and contribution expectations that matter," says Karen Talavera in an article at MarketingProfs. She recommends placing data into two broad categories to drill down to what really counts:

Process Metrics—which are diagnostic in nature. They track the short- and long-term success of your email campaigns using information like:

  • Delivery and bounce rates. These tell you about the hygiene of your list and the effectiveness of your opt-out process.
  • Unsubscribe rate. If it's low, you'll know you're engaging your customers with relevant campaigns that deliver on expectations.
  • Conversion rate. It's important to know whether your calls-to-action result in sales and other valuable responses.

Contribution Metrics—which are strategic in nature. They measure the performance of your campaigns against your company's marketing and business goals using information like:

  • The savings generated by email programs, which cost less than most other communication channels.
  • The number of leads generated by email programs.
  • The average value of transactions or completed calls-to-action from your email programs.

According to Talavera, getting the whole picture often requires a companywide effort. "Remember," she notes, "measuring what matters will involve collaboration with other departments—especially if you're a multichannel merchant."

The Po!nt: All data are not created equal. Follow tips like these to help ensure you're gathering the numbers that truly matter.

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