Measuring the success of email marketing

Email marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular marketing communications methods for businesses. Why? Because it’s not only cheaper than many other forms of marketing, in some cases it’s more effective.

Email marketing can be valuable for businesses for a variety of reasons. For starters, it drives direct sales and is relatively easy and quick to implement and maintain. But perhaps more importantly email marketing allows businesses to effectively target customers and easily build and maintain relationships.

But this doesn’t mean email marketing is easy. Not only do you have to develop the email content – whether it be a customer newsletter, tips or a sales campaign – you also have to deliver it to your customer.

For many businesses this delivery is through their chosen email platform, usually Microsoft Outlook. After all, it’s free and easy to use. However, there are issues with using your email program to deliver your email marketing campaigns. These include:

  • Greater chance of your email not appearing correctly when viewed in another email platform
  • Increased likelihood of your email being treated as spam or your business being considered a spammer
  • If you send emails with larger file sizes or have a significant distribution list you may have difficultly sending your emails
  • Particularly for larger emails and distribution lists, you can easily go over your hosting allowance

Another very important issue – the most important one in my opinion – is the inability to measure your success. By finding out basic details about your campaigns you’ll be able to judge whether your emails are being successful. This will give you the chance to modify your campaigns or drop them completely to concentrate your valuable time on another area of the business.

The good news is there are many commercial systems available that can not only help you overcome the issues listed above, they’ll also provide you with information that will help you decide whether your emails are hitting the mark.

While systems differ, the information you’re likely to receive by using an email management system will include:

  • How many emails were sent
  • How many emails were opened
  • Who opened your email
  • What links were opened
  • Who unsubscribed
  • Which recipients didn’t receive your email
  • How many emails were forwarded to others

Of course, if your email is a sales campaign the most important information to know is how many sales you received due to your emails. Email management systems are clever and efficient, but you’ll need to work this vital statistic out yourself!

By all means, if you are starting out in business or are giving email marketing a go for the first time – and on a small scale – use Microsoft Outlook or your chosen email platform. But be prepared to search for an email management provider if your email marketing becomes more long term. There are inexpensive options available and the small expense will be worth it in the end.

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