How do you determine whether your email marketing and website content is performing well? With the sheer volume of business data analytics and metrics available nowadays, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start, especially since key performance indicators can vary from channel to channel. Here are some of the key marketing analytics that your business should be tracking to determine successes and areas for improvement across your website and email marketing efforts.
Your website is one of your most important assets, so you’ll need a comprehensive platform to compile your online performance metrics. Google Analytics is the standard in this arena (plus, it’s free!), but there are other tools and platforms you can consider. Regardless of how you access your site marketing analytics, there are a few metrics you’ll want to monitor closely:
•Sessions and Unique Visitors – A session typically refers to an individual visit to your website made by a user in a given period. A single user can account for multiple sessions, so if your marketing analytics say you had 50 sessions in a day that could mean 50 people visited once or a few people visited several times. Unique visitors (or as Google Analytics refers to them, users) represent how many individual people visited your site in a given period, which means if a person visited your site 50 times in one day, then they would only register as a single unique visitor. It’s important to look at both of these numbers together to gain an accurate impression of the reach of your online content. If your sessions are growing faster than unique visitors, then that may indicate people are visiting your site multiple times. If the opposite is happening, you may be attracting the wrong people to your site (i.e. people unlikely to turn into customers).
•Referral Traffic – Referral traffic measures how people are accessing your website. Are they finding you through a search engine, social media or by accessing your domain directly? Monitoring business data like referral traffic sources can help you identify where you should hone your digital advertising efforts to attract more visitors.
•Time On Site – It’s tempting to think a longer average time on site is better for your website and your business, but this may not always be the case. Cross-referencing your average time on site with average page views per visit can help you determine whether visitors are spending more time on your site because your content is engaging or because they can’t find what they’re looking for.
•Bounce Rate – Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visits to your site where a person left from the page they entered on without visiting any other pages. The average bounce rate for websites is around 40 percent, and there are many things you can do to ensure your bounce rate remains optimal, such as providing relevant content for visitors and building a clear navigational menu.
Email Marketing Analytics
You’ve just wrapped up your latest email marketing campaign, and you’re certain that you’ve hit a homerun. You crafted a snappy headline, engaging copy and an eye-grabbing visual followed by an enticing call-to-action for your customers – who wouldn’t want to click on that? The only way to know for sure if your emails are engaging is to keep an eye on your marketing analytics reports, starting with these four metrics:
•Open and Click Rates – Open rates are the percentage of email recipients who clicked on your email to read it, while click rate refers to the percentage of recipients who not only opened your email, but also clicked on a link contained within it. HubSpot has a thorough breakdown of what open and click rates companies of various sizes can use as benchmarks. Don’t be discouraged if your click rates seem low; companies with 1-10 employees typically receive a median click rate of 6.9 percent, while companies with 26-200 employees receive a click rate of 6.3 percent.
•Conversion Rate – Conversion rates are business data that measure the percentage of recipients who completed a desired action, such as using a coupon, signing up for a newsletter or requesting a product demo. Like click rates, your conversion rate will seem low: on average, only about 1 in 10 people will perform whatever action you’re asking of them. That’s a narrow window of opportunity, so make sure to keep your call-to-action clear, compelling and easy to perform.
•Bounce Rate – Bounce rates represent how many of your emails were not delivered to their recipients. Your bounce rate is almost never going to reach zero, which means all your emails were successfully delivered, but you can take steps to keep it as low as possible. Email marketing campaigns that send messages more than once a month are more likely to keep their bounce rate below 1 percent.
•Subscriber List Growth – In addition to monitoring the performance of individual messages, you’ll want to keep an eye on whether your subscriber list is growing or shrinking. If left unattended, your list will progressively shrink over time for several reasons, such as customers changing their email address or uninterested subscribers opting out. Keep your content engaging and always look to expand your subscriber base to keep your recipient list from dwindling down to nothing.
Top It Off With Qualitative Research
These marketing analytics are all critical to establishing how your various marketing campaigns and digital assets are performing, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Once you have a thorough understanding of these key performance indicators, you can work with additional business data metrics that provide a more nuanced look at how specific aspects of your marketing campaigns are performing. If you’re really ambitious (and you have the budget) to expand beyond these analytics, you can conduct qualitative market research to determine WHY your content may or may not be performing as expected. Qualitative research can involve surveys, focus groups and other approaches that dig into what your target customers are looking for in online content. Even if you’re completely satisfied with the progress your marketing analytics are showing, you may uncover insight into your customers’ preferences that can take your content and marketing efforts to the next level.
Written by Melissa R. MacCaull
Director of Marketing, Union Savings Bank